Saturday, March 30, 2013


Opinion: KU’s stunning loss comes down to karma

With only a few second on the clock and down by two points Elijah Johnson passes out to Naadir Tharpe for a last three-point attempt that missed leaving the Jayhawks with a 87-85 loss to the University of Michigan, Friday, March 29, 2013, at Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington, TX.

With only a few second on the clock and down by two points Elijah Johnson passes out to Naadir Tharpe for a last three-point attempt that missed leaving the Jayhawks with a 87-85 loss to the University of Michigan, Friday, March 29, 2013, at Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington, TX.


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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after loss to Michigan

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 87-85 overtime loss to Michigan on March 29, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Travis Releford, Jeff Withey

Kansas seniors Travis Releford and Jeff Withey talk briefly on the podium following the Jayhawks' 87-85 overtime loss to Michigan on March 29, 2013.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Michigan coach John Beilein, Trey Burke, Mitch McGary and Tim Hardaway Jr.

Michigan coach John Beilein and playersTrey Burke, Mitch McGary and Tim Hardaway Jr. talk to reporters following the Wolverines' 87-85 overtime victory over Kansas on March 29, 2013.

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This was the 2008 national-title game all over again, only this time it’s Kansas licking wounds that will re-open every time somebody asks the obvious question: How did it happen?

How did Kansas lose a game it had locked up? How did it not secure a victory that would have had the Jayhawks playing Florida on Sunday with the winner advancing to the Final Four?

How did Kansas, which held a 10-point lead with 2:22 left in regulation when Elijah Johnson drove into a lane with four defenders and 30 seconds left on the shot clock, turned around and threw an errant pass toward the perimeter that was run down at the other end for an uncontested Glenn Robinson dunk, lose to Michigan, 87-85, in overtime?

“We’re right there where we wanted the game, and of course the last three minutes we didn’t do a lot of things right, which will be something we’ll look back on and regret for a long, long time,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “But props to Michigan for making all the plays late.”

Said Travis Releford: “We had a chance to seal the game, but we made some bone-headed plays late.”

It was nice of Releford to say, “we.” That’s the way teammates talk. They don’t point fingers and this was a tight-knit group that did none of that. Releford played well in his final game as a Jayhawk, totaling 16 points, five rebounds and six assists with just one turnover in 42 minutes. So did Perry Ellis, who made the most of 15 minutes and totaled eight points, five boards, three assists and a great hustle play that kept the ball from going out of bounds. Same for Kevin Young (12 points, seven boards, defensive lapses late) and Jeff Withey (12 points, eight boards, five blocks). Ben McLemore caught fire and was largely responsible for giving Kansas a double-digit lead, until he deferred late to the veterans, fell into foul trouble and lost his aggressiveness. He led Kansas with 20 points, but attempted one shot in the game’s final 16 minutes. Even fellow red-shirt freshman Jamari Traylor made the most of his five minutes with an energetic performance that yielded two points, two blocked shots and an assist. Naadir Tharpe steered Kansas to a six-point halftime lead as Johnson was limited to three first-half minutes.

As Self said, Michigan made all the plays late, and it was not unlike the way Kansas made all the plays late against Memphis in storming back from a nine-point deficit to win the national title five years ago. But Kansas helped Michigan more than Memphis helped Kansas.

The anatomy of the KU breakdown:

Robinson’s dunk, courtesy of Johnson, cut the lead to eight points with 2:18 left. Johnson failed to dribble the ball past the mid-court line in the allotted 10 seconds, giving the ball back to Michigan. It was Johnson’s third turnover in four possessions. Burke set up McGary for an easy bucket, trimming the lead to six points with 1:54 left. Releford’s two free throws pumped it back to eight with 1:22 remaining.

Burke — notice how frequently his and Johnson’s names surface in the re-living of a Michigan dream and KU nightmare — buried a three-pointer to cut it to a five with 1:15 left. Tim Hardaway Jr. missed a three with 35 seconds left the basketball squirted loose and was there to be had, the type play Self’s teams usually feast on.

“All we had to do was fall on the ball,” Self said. “The possession arrow was ours. We just didn’t do it. Seasons usually come down, if you’ve got a pretty good team, to one possession, at least it has with us, most every year. This wasn’t one possession. This was about five possessions.”

Robinson picked the ball up and scored. Now the lead was three. Johnson’s two free throws with 21 seconds left pumped the lead back to five. Burke’s layup with 14 seconds made it a three-point game again. Burke fouled Johnson with 12 seconds left and Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one.

Self generally believes in fouling with a three-point lead once the clock shrinks to six seconds. Nobody was close enough to foul Burke, freed by screens, when he launched a 27-footer as Young ran toward him but was late in doing so. Burke nailed it. Of course he did.

Kansas had 4.3 seconds to get off a good shot and did, but Tharpe’s three-pointer kissed off the front of the rim.

Technically, Michigan won the game in overtime, but in reality, Kansas and Michigan combined to decide it at the end of regulation.

A second overtime loomed as a possibility with the ball in the hands of Johnson, whose extra period was a mixed bag that featured a pass thrown right to Michigan and a clutch three-pointer. He looked to be on his way to a drive that would finish with a shot. Instead he fired to the perimeter, where Tharpe forced a running three-pointer.

“I thought he could get to the rim,” Self said. “ ... He got his shoulders past him. But for whatever reason, he veered behind the backboard and really didn’t give himself a shot.”

Maybe bad karma springing from Johnson’s flagrant foul, more than anything, undermined what looked like a sure ticket to an Elite Eight showdown with Florida.

“I didn’t see it,” Self said, “but obviously the official said he did it, so he did it. The film doesn’t lie. That’s not how we play. And that was not smart at all. And then he gets a bad second foul on a charge, when all he had to do was stop and shoot it. The third foul he plays for 15 seconds and gets that one.”

Johnson said the play was “unintentional” and the referees agreed.

Even with their senior point guard limited to three first-half minutes, Kansas had the game in the bag. So how did they lose it? Karma. Had to be karma.


Benjamin Piehler 9 years, 4 months ago

“I thought he could get to the rim,” Self said. “ ... He got his shoulders past him. But for whatever reason, he veered behind the backboard and really didn’t give himself a shot.”

I'll be wondering why he kicked that ball out for a long time...

"Karma" sounds a bit harsh though.

Steve Zimmerman 9 years, 4 months ago

Mich's PG knew which ball to play with, our PG obviously picked the wrong ball. Their PG knew how to make plays for others, while our PG tried so hard to make shots for himself. Failed PG. Naa would've made a difference.

brich 9 years, 4 months ago

All of you throwing the blame on EJ should watch the game again. We have always won as a team and we lose as a team. In REGULATION, start counting the number of free throws we missed, the number of defensive assigntments missed allowing snow birds for the Wolverine "simi bigs", how many open shots we missed..........there are a hundred different things that could have won the game in regulation. What you REMEMBER is EJ's drive and poor pass to Tharp but don't lay it all on him. They all left eveything they had on the court, but went that guy started hitting 3 pointers from Ft. Worth, I felt just maybe, it wasn't meant to be this year. So be proud of your Jayhawks and be happy to go back to the pre season where NO ONE even gave them a chance to win the Big 12!!! Probably HCBS's best coaching job of his career and you KNOW we will be back next year, same time, different place!!!! RCJH

Steve Zimmerman 9 years, 4 months ago

Have you ever thought EJ, a Vegas native, involved in NCAA gambling? Have you? I thought so.

I didn't say he was, it's only a question.

brich 9 years, 4 months ago

All of you throwing the blame on EJ should watch the game again. We have always won as a team and we lose as a team. In REGULATION, start counting the number of free throws we missed, the number of defensive assigntments missed allowing snow birds for the Wolverine "simi bigs", how many open shots we missed..........there are a hundred different things that could have won the game in regulation. What you REMEMBER is EJ's drive and poor pass to Tharp but don't lay it all on him. They all left eveything they had on the court, but went that guy started hitting 3 pointers from Ft. Worth, I felt just maybe, it wasn't meant to be this year. So be proud of your Jayhawks and be happy to go back to the pre season where NO ONE even gave them a chance to win the Big 12!!! Probably HCBS's best coaching job of his career and you KNOW we will be back next year, same time, different place!!!! RCJH

KEITHMILES05 9 years, 4 months ago

This loss falls squarely on the shoulders of the coach and senior guard. Why the hell Self put EJ back in with his horrendous play and KEPT him in is beyond comprehension. Not only that but having our best ball handler on the bench (Tharpe) is ludicrous. SMDH........thanks for going brain dead Coach.

diegohawk 9 years, 4 months ago


This year when Elijah was at his best and determined to take the ball to the basket and finish he was mostly incredible. 6'4" bouncy guard with a solid frame and ball skills is tough to stop when motivated and focused. I am of the opinion he was better served as a two guard who would either shoot the ball or take it to the basket and finish. Ben and Travis were also at this position. Travis was the best finisher of the three. Ben the best shooter of the three. Elijah the best ball handler of the three. When he was driving with uncertainty he was below average and his ball security suffered. He was not a true point guard and it seemed like he struggled finding the right time or rhythm for a distribution of the ball most of this year. Most of the time it seemed like he struggled with his decision making when not in direct attack mode. As did Travis and Ben.

Elijah had a knack for making some of the most incredible plays while he also made some of the most boneheaded plays a point guard can make. Fans and experts alike observed this much. Unfortunately at the end of his last game he made more of the boneheaded variety versus the incredible variety. All we really needed during this stretch was solid point guard play. Not incredible but solid.

Point guard play was a glaring need much of this year. It rears its ugly head in the tightest of games with the smallest margin of error typically found in the NCAA tourney.

It is the job of the coach to put players in a position to succeed. In my opinion Bill failed to do this for Elijah this year by putting him in a position to make decisions at the point.

Naadir was more of a true point and in my opinion he should have had Elijah's minutes at this position. Elijah should have been coming off the bench and utilized as a change of pace two guard who can get the the rim on smaller defenders instead of a decision making point.

I will miss Elijah's athleticism, his personality, his contributions to games in which he was in attack mode and focused. I will not miss his decision making at the point. This was a bad fit from the beginning of the season til the end. Fans, coach Self and experts alike all realized this. Bill failed to do anything about it. Bill seemed to have believed that Elijah would make better decisions when it truly mattered. This just never materialized.

Elijah you will be missed and I know you tried your best. It is not your natural position for what this team needed and I don't fault you for this. Bill is the coach not you. This one is mostly on Bill for keeping you in this position.

Steve Zimmerman 9 years, 4 months ago

Couldn't agree more with you on this one. I don't know what it is about seniority in CS system. We got beat by 4 freshers. Anyway..everytime I think about us going this far, while UK sucking their toes, this loss is not that painful anymore.

741hawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Karma? Really? They collapsed, and I know the primary collapser . . . and the coach who not only kept him in the game but continued to rely on him.

Bill had control of this game and gave it away. I think he's a great coach, but, let's be honest, this one is on him.

CPAHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Would you give it a rest already? You've been whining all night and, guess what, we still lost the game. "Let's be honest" you don't have the foggiest clue what you're talking about.

Mike Skiles 9 years, 4 months ago

Wow, chief whiner! Grow up, it was a great game, dissappointing result for jayhawk fans, but we were in the mix and had a shot at another NC. What more can we fans really ask for? This team over performed for much of the year. Keep your whining to yourself please, or take your meltdown elsewhere.

Scott Smetana 9 years, 4 months ago

I'll be honest... Great season, but terrible ending solely on the shoulders of EJ and his coach. Tharpe should have had the ball the last 4 minutes but was on the bench.

FLJHK 9 years, 4 months ago

To his credit, a friend e-mailed me immediately after EJ;s flagrant foul and said Self should eject EJ himself, that honor is more important than winning. I had a sour taste in my mouth the rest of the game as I realized he was right.

I don't blame Self. I don't know his actual view of the foul. I don't even completely blame EJ. I refuse to think that this was indicative of who he is as a person. But I do believe in Karma. Bad things were destined after that incident and it was no shock that EJ was directly and negatively involved in each of the game's critical plays.

Had Self benched EJ for the rest of the game and we managed to lose I'm sure Self would be blasted by many. But I like to think I wouldn't feel as rotten as I do right now.

As a person, EJ needs to confront this matter. As a human being he needs to show he is better than this. I pray he will do so.

It is an immense joy to be a Kansas basketball fan. But it is simultaneously as agonizing as anything can be. This one is going to hurt forever.

SaltLakeHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Remember when EJ sunk two clutch free throws right before that? Remember when EJ sank a clutch 3 at the end? Remember the bad team defense down the stretch?

KUHawkhead, you conveniently "unremembered" those plays to present a more compelling argument ("Kansas is better without EJ"). Keegan did the same thing in this article. Both of you are cherry-picking facts. That means both of your arguments are bullsh*t.

Sometimes it's easy to label things black and white, but it's not that simple in this case.

Allin Herring 9 years, 4 months ago

I have supported Bill in everything but he has some part in this loss. When you have a player as classless as Johnson hitting someone in the nuts on purpose he should have never been allowed to be back in the game. If that would have happened we would have never seen Johnson's bull crap plays the rest of the game. The only good thing is we will NEVER have to see Johnson play again. Too bad he ended his career being a real slime bag. Karma as a reson for the loss....No! Johnson's Play as a reason....Yes!

Deb Engstrom 9 years, 4 months ago

Good grief! He's a 21 year old kid. And this is just a basketball game. In the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter, does it?? I pray nothing worse ever happens to you than your beloved Jayhawks losing a basketball game.

JacquesMerde 9 years, 4 months ago

Why don't you stick to knitting. This is a sport that interior designers don't understand.

Joe Joseph 9 years, 4 months ago

He hit him in the nuts. On purpose. It's a violation of man code and a bit embarrassing, but its not like he tried to clip his legs or viciously elbow him in the head.

It was a play I'm sure he regrets. Is he a horrible person because of it? Just maybe a little immature.

goliac492 9 years, 4 months ago

Loss is on Self!! Period! Tough to swallow. Put coach Izzo in this position and you can chalk up a victory baby! Coach Self- "You guys are rocking, now slow up running the offense. To hell with rythmn, I'm the coach".... Waste of a year really!!

Steve Zimmerman 9 years, 4 months ago

I feel the same way. Everytime we lead, we seem to 'enjoy & savior the moments', just run the clock type of offense. That's really not a way to win the NCAA game. Look at the Cards, put them in the same position, they're still focus, and still in full-attack mode. That's how we should play. But, again, our team has exceeded my expectation since the season started. We have some good wins, some bad loses. This one stinks. We could've been dancing with the other 7s. I guess Michigan wanted this win more than us. They didn't play better. We had it. Nevertheless, hats off to KU men's team & coaching staff for reaching sweet-16 once again. I can't wait for the '13-'14 season to start - can't wait to watch a new lineup dominating Big12. Let's hope coach Self & the team learn his lesson well!

Rock Chalk.

Chris1955 9 years, 4 months ago

I have to agree. Sometimes Self's convictions get in the way of his intelligence. This was certainly the case last night. Bullheaded, stubborn, etc. I think most other coaches would have pulled EJ late in the game for the mistakes and lack of being plugged into the game. We do this and we win. End of story.

SaltLakeHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

blah blah blah, I know how to win in hindsight, "end of story"

Feel better?

Mike Skiles 9 years, 4 months ago

Waste of a year????? Really???? If thats how you feel, perhaps you'd be happier cheering for a Duke or other program? My sympathy for your lack of reality check and 'big picture'!

kckuguy 9 years, 4 months ago

This game was just like the 2nd game of the year against Izzo, we controlled the game and the last 2 minutes EJ gave it away. The only difference, the 1st game EJ took responsibility.

DCLawHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

I thought the exact same thing. Just like MSU game.

TexiCaliHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Other than the @ISU game where E.J. came 'back to life' and indeed played awesome in getting us that win, he just had an incredibly disappointing Senior year -- tonight's game was a microcosm of his year, which turned even further South when he whacked McGary right in the 'nads' (I literally could not believe this was a KU player -- much less a very well-spoken 'class act' like E.J.).

I really do love and admire E.J. for the total body of work he put in for 4 years at KU, but sometimes we all have to face reality and realize that others (e.g., Travis Releford, you waited 5 years and could have played an even bigger role) need to take over the leadership reins when necessary. For a 'Lottery Pick', Ben should have been more aggressive in picking up the slack. All you have to do is look at Trey Burke and see the difference in confidence level as he has NBA-ready skills whereas Ben had 'potential'.

The 'bottom line' is that this group of Seniors (other than E.J.) played very well tonight and deserved to advance to the Elite Eight -- I'm just sad I will not get to see them ever again in a KANSAS uniform and wish them (including E.J.) all the BEST in their future endeavors.

Scott Smetana 9 years, 4 months ago

good post, except I thought BMac was great last night. everyone was except EJ.

Mike Skiles 9 years, 4 months ago

Can't give it up, can you? -1

The post by TexiCaliHawk was spot on. Don't detract with your whining about a specific player.

Allin Herring 9 years, 4 months ago

I agree with everything you said except the part that Johnson was a class act. I think you must have ment a Classless Act. I also feel bad for the rest of the players who played very well tonight only to have Johnson ruin their hope for the Final Four. Please note in Keegan's article when he was talking about all the good things that happened in the game there was NO mention of Johnson. NONE! Was it Karma or just plainJOHNSON!

nostradavid 9 years, 4 months ago

or to take a non-Hindu view:

" good and evil fortunes fall to the lot of pious and impious alike " - Spinoza

"My karma ran over your dogma"

"My karma ran over your dogma" by nostradavid

Ray Winger 9 years, 4 months ago

Enjoyed your take. Sometimes when I have a virus, my brain seems to be operating in 1/2 when just waking up....this is what EJ looked like in this game...just not thinking at full speed.

dumbarton 9 years, 4 months ago

If Self truly believed EJ's nut job was unintentional then you have to go with that. Self didn't see the tape so he had to go by EJ's word. If Bill had seen the tape, he very well may have ejected him. Impossible to say for sure but I would like to think he would have. One thing, amongst many, that really hurts regarding this loss is Jeff leaves us with two frickin' blocks away from breaking David Robinson's NCAA tourney record. He deserved a chance to break that record against Florida. One question. Why is it at that this team never went for the jugular when we had teams beat? We usually let teams back in and played to their level.

eastcoasthawk 9 years, 4 months ago

To answer your question: because this team was not mentally tough. They never had the mentality to step on an opponents throat when they were down. They would keep teams in games and almost always found a way out of it. Withey disappears towards the end and lets McGary get the best of him. EJ is then relied on and is a TO machine. He has karma (yep) bite him in the ass for his stupidity earlier in the game. When it first happened I was worried he would get thrown out. Now I wish he was thrown out.

Laura Hobbs 9 years, 4 months ago

Eastcoasthawk, you said exactly what I was thinking.

Scott Smetana 9 years, 4 months ago

Respectfully disagree. Of course this wasn't one of our best teams, but was good indeed with a more than decent chance to win it all. They played VERY smart mentally against Michigan, a legitimate 1-2 seed and had them down by 10 with nearly 2 minutes to go. Then it happened... EJ drove the lane against 4 defenders with 30 seconds on the shot clock. Him alone and Self putting him at point are solely to blame, not the mental weakness of the team.

eastcoasthawk 9 years, 4 months ago

You have to be able to focus for all 40 minutes if you are mentally tough. Didn't happen. Or you can have a player step up and will the team to the win. Also didn't happen. During the season we saw many teams we were beating close large points gaps at the end of the first half and end of the game. There was a reason for that.

jhox 9 years, 4 months ago

I don't think there is any doubt the crotch shot was intentional. The guy was sitting a moving screen (something Michigan did and got away with all night) and I'm sure EJ was frustrated by it. I'm not excusing it. It was definitely bush league.

But people need to quit throwing EJ under the bus. Our defense wasn't up to our normal standards last night. That was the biggest factor. It looked like Jeff was gassed down the stretch and wasn't defending as well as normal. Put some of that on Coach. Perry gave them good minutes and should have gotten more of them, spelling Jeff and Kevin more. Had that happened Withey probably has more defensive and rebounding energy down the stretch. We also missed a bunch of chip shots in the second half. If one of those fall we're not having this discussion. I also question why we didn't move Travis to guard Burk when he got so hot. Travis gets through ball screens better than anyone we have and his length might have bothered him more. If we intentionally foul with 8 seconds to go we're not having this discussion. Travis used the word "we" because it's a fact. The team lost the game not the individual.

Sure, EJ made some poor decisions down the stretch, but if the group had played better, especially defensively, the spotlight wouldn't be on those individual mistakes.

JD Roth 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure if you checked you could find a block they missed. He was credited with 5 in the UNC game, but he actually had 6. Three in the first half and three in the second half. His first two blocks in the UNC game were back to back and he was only credited with one.

dumbarton 9 years, 4 months ago

Correction: Tim Duncan's record. It's late and too much consumed....

fansincewilt 9 years, 4 months ago

The word used by Keegan is "nightmare." That defines this loss pretty well. How do you sleep after that? I have never seen anything like it. That was the craziest last three minutes. "Nightmare" is a great description.

Lance Hobson 9 years, 4 months ago

Waking up this morning was the worst part.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 4 months ago

Don't kid yourselves. That jab to the nuts was intentional.

Unfortunately, It also initiated the reversal of good fortune to bad fortune for the rest of the team.

SaltLakeHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. How have people reached such a definitive, confident conclusion??? I've watched the play numerous times, and it's STILL impossible to tell if it was intentional.

It's annoying me that NOBODY is acknowledging doubt (including the game commentators). They're seeing something 50/50 and screaming "oh that's obvious!"

I'm not saying it was "clearly" intentional or "clearly" unintentional, I'm just ADMITTING I have no freaking clue.

Therefore, I'm giving EJ the benefit of the doubt. He never played dirty in 4 years.

Alex Staley 9 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for being a voice of reason SaltLake. Those are always rare after the season ending loss. I saw the replay just as much as anyone and wasn't convinced that it was absolutely, unequivocally intentional. It looks like it could have been, but I believe there is enough room for debate.

jaybate 9 years, 4 months ago


The refs watched the video replay repeatedly.

They called EJ's action as they saw it.

The disturbing question is why didn't they call the illegal screening that triggered EJ's action in the first place. There was no way the refs could have watched the replay and looked for EJ's actions without observing the apparently obviously illegal screening being done by McGrary. McGrary's hands appeared to be out and grasping and perhaps even heel chopping EJ in the chest and abdominal areas. I can see how the refs might have missed it in the moment, as they apparently missed what McGrary claimed they missed in EJ's actions, but from the minute they turned to the replay, they were obliged to call what they saw in the replay. The appearance was: illegal screen by McGrary. Extensive attempted grasping and chopping. EJ trying to fight through. EJ fending off McGrary's hand movements away from McGrary's own body and toward EJ. Then EJ appearing to strike at or through the waving hand motions of McGrary. McGrary is 6 inches taller than EJ. It was only logical that EJ's defensive blow would have come at or below the belt. Then McGrary going down, which could be either McGrary having been fisted in the groin area, or flopping and faking about same.

What EJ did is IMHO largely an intepretation based on the replays. And referees have to make the best interpretation that the can on such things.

But the illegal screening was vastly more apparent than whatever EJ did, or is wrongly accused of doing.

The illegal screening seems undeniably obvious in the replays. And it becomes even more apparent in slow motion. Where as repeated showings of the replays never actually reveal EJ's action making contact in the groin area in my opinion.

So: since the referees refused to call the apparent illegal screening in the moment of play, and then refused to do same after repeated viewing of the same even more obvious act than EJ's act, the inescapable question of why arises into ugly view?

Were the referees incompetent, which seems very, very unlikely, or were the referees not impartial.

They went to the replay and appeared to ignore the illegal screening in the replay that obviously triggered the apparent action of EJ.

They refs and the supervisors of refs need to be asked the tough questions and then held accountable.

Impartial refereeing would have, at the bare minimum, resulted in either a violation on both players part, or a decision that the referees needed to take responsibility for the event and declare it a no call on both sides, or off setting fouls, warned both players, and then resumed the game.

But instead, the referees awarded a two shot technical to UM and ball possession; then seemed to compound their errors by then whistling EJ for what was for other players on both teams treated as incidental contact.

jaybate 9 years, 4 months ago


Again, was this incompetence on the referees parts, or was it lack of impartiality? There seems no credible third option in this case, unless it were both.

Self said he did not see the play, so he was exhibiting good sportsmanship and trusting the referees to make an impartial call.

If I were calling based on what I could see in the replays on TV, I would have called the illegal screening, and called a foul, or a technical foul on EJ depending on what I saw at a closer look. It might or might not have changed the two shot foul and change of possession.



jaybate 9 years, 4 months ago

Part 3
















(NOTE: all of the three parts of this post are opining by a layman watching the game remotely on TV and are not meant to communicate anything other than appearances of what may have happened, not what actually occurred. The reference to Jay Bilas refers to comments he reputedly made on an 810 WHB pod cast interview Bilas reputedly gave during the Big 12 Conference season.)

JD Roth 9 years, 4 months ago

I must be kidding myself because I'm not sensing that it was intentional. It must just be me. I'm not buying that intentional avenue.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 4 months ago

Seriously, how can you not when it's clear that EJ's fist cocks (no pun intended) back and then there's the follow through.

tical523 9 years, 4 months ago

I know that you know more than anybody but giving an opinion on a subject you follow very closely is not "hating", it is giving your opinion. "Hating" is when you don't really know but just hate. And I don't know how our season would have worked out without EJ but to say we won the BIG XII this year "because" of EJ is a complete guess and simple talk. I'm not "hating" but you just don't know, maybe Naadir would have been better if he got the minutes. What was EJ's assist to turnover ratio?

PakaRocks 9 years, 4 months ago

Tough loss and no doubt... Elijah's turnovers late in the game were critical. His choices with the ball were definitely a big reason, if not "the" reason, we lost the game. You can tell his teammates are definitely frustrated with how he played. However, I still can't look past Elijah's contribution as a Jayhawk. I followed his recruitment while he was at Cheyenne and was glad he picked KU. He's been a tremendous asset to our program. I'm sure that no person is as dejected over this game as Elijah. Thanks for being a Jayhawk Elijah! Best of luck to you!

Andy Godwin 9 years, 4 months ago

Elijah. Didn't you learn anything from playing with Taylor? If you are going to turn the ball over throw it out of bounds!! I can't remember a KU team that gave away so many easy points off of stupid turnovers. The entire team was guilty, but EJ was the ring leader. Karma, I think not. Bad coaching.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 4 months ago

Anybody got a timeout in their backpocket that they want to use? Kansas has plenty of timeouts to use. Sure would have been nice if Bill Self would have bailed out his point guard when a 10 second count was getting dangerously close.

I mean, Bill Self talks about every possession being important. Well, people will point to EJ for being "Stupid" for that 10 second call. Well, we've known that since early in this season. As a coach that gets paid 3.5 million dollars plus incentives...why aren't you bailing out your point guard and calling a timeout for him? Unacceptable Bill Self. Instead of the old saying, "Got Milk?" I think Bill Self's new saying should be, "Got Timeouts?".

You would think after coaches keep getting burned by not fouling that they would learn. It only takes "Once". Of all people Bill Self should know about that situation. Hell, Kansas has won twice (Memphis 2008 and Iowa State 2012) on other coaches being stupid and playing the odds and percentages so to speak by not fouling. Baffling! Mindboggling!

Got Timeouts?

kadub6 9 years, 4 months ago

Sure hope the UCLA AD is reading this thread. Obviously a lot of coaching candidates commenting here!

Or, maybe I should hope he is not because he might just show some of these idiotic observations to Bill to lure the best coach in college BB away due to a lack of appreciation by his own "fans".

Lawkan 9 years, 4 months ago

If Self had lost to Bucknell, Bradley, and Northern Iowa at UCLA he would have been fired.

JD Roth 9 years, 4 months ago

Really? When was the last time UCLA won 30 or more games four straight years? NEVER, no team has except KANSAS. Trey Burke made a clutch three to get it to overtime. I am aware of all the turnovers and everything but it was still a great play by Trey Burke which would have been moot if Elijah had hit the front end of the one and one. Wow Elijah is present in every scenario!! A game not soon forgotten in KU history, wow...

tical523 9 years, 4 months ago

Hit a guy in the nuts on purpose you deserve to lose. Karma. I hated the way that made our team look, I feel absolutely terrible, even sick, for Travis, Kevin and Jeff. What a terrible ending to their awesome careers.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Johnson should have been removed from the game for that shot to the groin.....

Coach Self could have made that call....... on the other hand why didn't the the officials?

That type of behavior might cost EJ a basketball contract. There are plenty of good players to choose from.

Ray Winger 9 years, 4 months ago

On EJ hitting the other player. I saw the replay on TV, a few times, but I couldn't convince myself that it was intentional...he ran into a screening player, and moved his arms and body to get thru this body/block.....but the replay did not show his head and face.....where was he looking at? They are trained to give and get a lot of physical contact. I played sports, and can remember a seeming minor just the right place...can be to the Michigan player.

theend 9 years, 4 months ago

You guys never want to hear this.......but Kansas is not a program that wins National Championships. Nope. We do a really good job of beating up the Big 12 and winning easy games early in the season. But KU is not a National Championship program. Duke,UNC,Kentucky,UConn, Florida.....absolutely. They are gamers. They know how to win. They are tough.

Kansas? No. They are not. They are very good.......but they will continue to win one every 20 years if lucky. I don't have the answer......I wish I did.

I'm not a troll. I'm trying to be honest. You don't want to hear it....That's fine. Enjoy the next 15 years of waiting. I will too. I'm not going anywhere. I'm a fan.....I wish it was different. But for whatever reason.....this team cannot compete in the tournement.

FLJHK 9 years, 4 months ago

I thought you disappeared after your embarrassing statement of certainty that KU was done at halftime of the UNC game. I also seem to recollect thay your first loyalties are with the purple and white.

theend 9 years, 4 months ago

You're right. That was a stupid call I made. I was wrong.....didn't see that KU would be amped up in 2nd half. That was a nice win. ..........Anyway......I'm just the guy that tells the truth.....and fans don't want that. They want Rah-Rah, KU!!!!! That's fine. But this team is not capable of being competitive on a ntional level for championships. How do I know? Hmmmmmm? How about 75 years and a lousy 3 championships? Terrible. And forget those Helms...they dont count. I wish it was different,FLJHK.....and I'm sorry if it angers you. But I'm just telling you what you DON'T want to hear.

kckuguy 9 years, 4 months ago

Is this Kevin ? Mr. I'm just the guy that tells the truth ? When the NCAA goes to a playoff in football, by your reasoning, then no one can ever say they won a championship before ? Hmmmm, that is just stupid and that sir is the truth.

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

Agree some.....disagree some. But yes prepare for a lot of hate coming your way. Some of what you say is true......and nothing hits and stings more than the truth. We have had decent success in tournement .....1 Nat title and 1 runner up. But I get what you're saying. Kansas is a great program.....but I don't think many consider Kansas a National Championship type team. For whatever reason.....we are destined to get it every 20-25 years. That's way too seldom. Duke? UK? UNC? They will win 3- 4 every 12 years or so. It is what it is.

Allen Shepard 9 years, 4 months ago

lol Duke has one more tourney win than us.... back from the ledge, foo

JD Roth 9 years, 4 months ago

Kansas does not have to apologize for anything in regards to being an Elite Program. They are right there with the Kentucky's, North Carolina's, and so on.

theend 9 years, 4 months ago

Come on Ralster. Just look at history.....3 nat champ in about 75 years. That's bad. Sadly.....they don't remember you for anything else. Just trying to make a point. It's an opinion. If you don't like it that's your choice. Enjoy the off-season. Sorry I didn't mean to anger you.

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

I could barely s;leep last night. Nightmares to go along with a nightmare game.

Sick today.....feeling even worse. It will go away. But this will sting.

tical523 9 years, 4 months ago

This is pure hell, we had the game won is what makes it so hard.

Shane Garrett 9 years, 4 months ago

That loose ball when all KU had to do was" fall on it". That play was one where I turned to the young man in the room and we both agreed that KU just did not want it bad enough. Perhaps because they thought they had alread won.

AirCapJay 9 years, 4 months ago

Self is a great coach. He makes over $3.5 million a year because of it. Someone that makes that kind of money should have a plan when he sees his center so tired that he can not jump anymore. Someone that makes that kind of money should have a plan when he sees his best player he has ever coached fail to make a difference in the last 5 minutes. He should have a plan when he sees his defense start to unravel because his guys are running on fumes. He should have a plan when his "point guard" commits 4 turn overs in the span of 2 minutes. He should have a plan when his team is leading by 3 points with less than 10 sec left in the game.

This was an epic fail on the part of coach Self. Self needs to do some introspection and figure out how to handle this in the future. Maybe he should have turned to one of his assistants and asked for help. Maybe his assistants were shell shocked too and could not offer help. Whatever the problem, $3.5 million should not buy this kind of result.

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

Self is not perfect. He did fail in this game. It happens. He can't think of everything. There is so much pressure.

741hawk 9 years, 4 months ago

It's just that there was a lot he didn't think about.

Laura Hobbs 9 years, 4 months ago

AirCapJay - I too noticed that Withey seemed to be struggling physically last night, and much earlier in the game than you would think. My "momdar" lit up and made me wonder if he was well or maybe fighting a virus or something.

Ray Winger 9 years, 4 months ago

Maybe someone put CO in the locker air system? Or a virus was going around....with all the extra timeouts of advertising for TV...all the players should have been rested.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm not on the "Karma" bandwagon, but like I said a few days ago - the only team that can beat us is us.

We kicked our own butts hard last night.

jay381 9 years, 4 months ago

There is one person and one person alone that is responsible for this debacle. Elijah Johnson. End of conversation. There are a few scattered missed opportunities but overall the rest of the team played to potential.

The thug behavior and stupid play began early in the game by hitting someone in the nuts hard enough the blow brought the player to his knees. Has anyone watched a basketball game observed anything like that being "accidental" in the middle of the court with only two players involved? I got a text late in the game that was right on point. If the ref' had just thrown a flagrant 2 and ejected the fool we might not lose this game. 3 turnovers in 4 possessions, missing the front end of a 1 and 1 that would put us up two possessions, plus the nut case play at the end does not produce a win in sand lot ball.

I do feel bad for the rest of the team that really played hard and deserved to be in the elite 8 rather than at home watching. This d____ fool took that opportunity from them.

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

I agree. I thoiught the rest of the team played really well. EJ was a collosal failure. But he had a decent career at KU and I think he's a good kid. I'm not in with all the hate. Anger? sure.....but not hate.

hotrodm 9 years, 4 months ago

EJ's fist was open when contact to McGary was made. Look at the replay. It clearly looked like momentum with EJ''s arm swinging after contact with McGary's arm, and EJ's open hand striking McGary in the groin. Was it flagrant? Only EJ knows for sure.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 4 months ago

I wish I could agree with you, but that was intentional.

SaltLakeHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

1990, since you obviously have powers of omniscience, could you please tell me which stocks to buy/sell in my portfolio? I want to use your god-like powers to eliminate uncertainty from my life.

texashawk10 9 years, 4 months ago

How about you do the same since your power of omniscience knows that nut shot wasn't intentional.

SaltLakeHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

read my above post about "doubt." I've been saying the opposite of what you're accusing me of, and I don't feel like repeating myself

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 4 months ago

For about 10 minutes, I felt about EJ the way I feel about Tom Brady, and that's not good! But I'm moving on. While it's easy today to think about how bad he was last night when it mattered most, I spent a couple minutes remembering how great he was when it mattered most last year. So I'll just try to forget the punch to the cans, the incredibly bad decisions when it mattered most, and that strange Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment at the end of the game, and remember EJ as a dude who brought it for my beloved alma mater for four years. He's still a Jayhawk and that counts for something in my world! Now, on to football season where at least I won't take a 14 point lead for granted!!!

theend 9 years, 4 months ago

Very well said. I agree. And point in hating on EJ anyway.......he's gone now. Never to return. I wish him well.....I really do

90sHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

EJ always gave effort. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. Still glad the guy was a Jayhawk, despite what I believe was a bad lapse in judgement last night.

Ryan Shelton 9 years, 4 months ago

How about the karma of Glen Robinson beating us in '94?

90sHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Tharpe should probably have been running point early on, but Bill wasn't going to have EJ come off the bench. Coach could have easily started Tharpe at PG, and rotated him, EJ, Bmac, and Releford throughout as needed. Coach said throughout the year we had no PG, well Coach, whose fault is that? Tharpe was sitting right there, willing to take the reins.

theend 9 years, 4 months ago

In the end.....all that matters are National Championships. That's all anyone except us remembers. That's it. KU has 3 in 75 years. Awful.

UConn has the same number......and nowhere near the history KU. Explain that one. Duke is even better......Explain that one away. you can't.

Me? I'm that voice in your head that tells the truth. The one you hate. The one you try to ignore. The one that gets under your skin and itches.

Well......think how I feel. I hate it too. It makes me sick that KU has 3 (3!!!!!!!!) national championships in 75 years. 3!!!!!!!!! It should be 10.

90sHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Been in the NC game many more times. Can't seem to finish. Ring a bell?

theend 9 years, 4 months ago

And many Final 4's......which is great and an accomplishment itself. But we can't win the big one. I know it's not going to happen every year.....but come on. I would happy with one a decade. we're not even close to that......not even close.

rockchalkchalkin23 9 years, 4 months ago

This has nothing to do with karma and everything to with mismanaging a game. Even my cousin finally admitted self did something wrong, which had shock value unlike self blowing another coaching job. Last night was the first time without doubt Tharpe should have been in and ej didn't belong or deserve to be on the court.

Hey Zenger, you okay with just conference titles? Danny and the Miracles were far less of a miracle than self's title. Take away Mario's 3 and insert Kendall Marshall last year, and self has one final four and no title. Be honest Zenger, self is more fluky than great. He's just good. Good coach, great system. Other than how he doesn't inspire confidence, exact opposite, his players are always worried about making a mistake, which creates the nervous 'upset aura' self teams ALWAYS have, with the exception on the 2007-2008 Jayhawks. They didn't worry, they just played.

If numbers never lie, then people never lie.

LOLeah3 9 years, 4 months ago

It was a heartbreaker, for sure. I can't say it would've been preferable to get totally blown out or play like dog crap for the entire game instead of the last 10 minutes though. EJ being shouldered with most of the blame does indeed seem a little like a karmic punch to the sack. lol

It still stings a little bit this morning but at the end of the day a 30+ win season, Big 12 season AND tournament championships and a trip to the Sweet 16 (with a loss to a team that's actually GOOD) isn't really anything to cry about.

gongs4ku 9 years, 4 months ago

I remember having the exact same thought when I saw the punch--it would be karma for us to lose if we're going to play that dirty. Oh well.

Lance Hobson 9 years, 4 months ago

Johnson had a nightmare stretch, it happens. He also hit the big shots that got us to the title game last year. I woke up with an epiphany: "This is how Memphis must have felt." All equals out over time in this tourney for the great programs. Everyone will be crushed from time to time and once in a while you'll have a joyous run. This one is definitely crushing.

JacquesMerde 9 years, 4 months ago

We need to recruit point guards from the east coast. They have the swag, balls, confidence, arrogance a point guard needs.

I agree with some of LOLeah3's views, but we lost, Michigan didn't win. We gave the game to them. Really Merde.

LOLeah3 9 years, 4 months ago

Michigan deserves some credit. I have never seen that deep of a clutch 3 in my entire life.

tical523 9 years, 4 months ago

Yea like Naadir Tharpe from Mass. Can't wait for him to play big minutes next year.

prf 9 years, 4 months ago

Karma? Let's try a more mundane account. Traylor played a total of 5 minutes. With Johnson basically out of the first half, KU was relying on a 6-man rotation. In the second half, Whitey was exhausted, trying to cover the entire key. His timing was off, he didn't have his normal spring, and he missed several close-in shots. When McLemore committed his fourth foul, Traylor continued to sit, Tharpe came in and played at the 2. At the end of the game, it was Johnson's point guard play that wrecked the outcome, but why wasn't Tharpe playing the point, as he had done so well in the first half? We saw no lob plays at the end. With Young out of the game, there was little inside passing. When McLemore came back, he stayed in the woodwork. In short, the KU offense went on the rails, its 3-point defense failed, and Michigan played inspired basketball. These are the very problems that plagued KU throughout the season. Maybe karma is the underlying reason why people do the same thing again and again, only to get the same result.

easyfive 9 years, 4 months ago

Self needs to go!!! Get Danny back here ASAP Get the players better housing, Five star not Jayhawk motel. Cut a deal with UCLA to get Self out... fast...

prf 9 years, 4 months ago

Reportedly, UCLA has signed Steve Alford. Self, to his credit, took KU to the finals last year. This year, he took a flawed KU team to the second week of the NCAA tournament. That's quite an accomplishment, given the hand he was dealt. Self is a system coach, for better and for worse. Perhaps the best coaches adapt their style to the personnel, but coaches don't execute plays.

gongs4ku 9 years, 4 months ago

The people who actually think Self should be fired for losing in the sweet sixteen to a team led by the player of the year greatly amuse me. I can understand being ticked off and disappointed, but let's not suspend our ability to reason entirely. Self is one of the top three coaches in the game.

I would have left EJ in at the end too, fwiw. He was our best at getting to the rim; his having the ball presented our best chance to win.

prf 9 years, 4 months ago

Who are the other two? Self will stay at KU until he decides to leave, unless the sky falls in. The problem I see is that the college game is changing. It is speeding up, NBA offenses are taking hold, and talent is becoming more diversified. Self's challenge is to adapt his system and make the program more attractive to quick, athletic, players.

texashawk10 9 years, 4 months ago

Izzo and Coach K are both better all around coaches than Self at this point in time.

prf 9 years, 4 months ago

Texashawk would exclude Boeheim, Donovan, Calipari, and Pitino. Then there are the up-and-coming stars, Stevens, Smart, Alford, Altman, Ammaker, Hoiberg, and... I could go on. This tournament has displayed a lot of talent, both on the court and on the sidelines, and has shown that every phase of the game is becoming more competitive. Top 3, top 10 -- it's arbitrary. Is it wins, championships, appearances, number of NBA players, number of 5-star recruits? Is it this year, past 5, career? How do you gauge who's best, and more to the point, why bother?

texashawk10 9 years, 4 months ago

I'll go through each of your coaches and tell you why I don't have them ahead of Self.

Boeheim- Doesn't have the NCAA tournament success. Fewer Elite 8 appearances and only 1 more Final Four appearance than Self despite being a head coach for almost 20 years longer than Self.

Billy Donovan- Lack of consistency. After those two titles, he missed the next two NCAA tournaments despite coaching in a weak conference.

John Calipari- Two vacated Final Fours says it all about Cal

Pitino- I won't argue too hard against Pitino being better than Self because there is plenty of evidence to support that argument.

Alford, Altman, and Ammaker are not in Bill Self's league and their careers make that abundantly clear. If those guys are such great coaches, why aren't they at better jobs than they currently are? Steve Alford is 48 (older than Donovan) and is a good coach, but not a great one. Dana Altman is 54 (older than Self) and was at a mid-major for 16 years, why? Could it be that he just isn't good enough to coach an elite program. Tommy Ammaker couldn't get it done at Michigan and is a good mid-major coach at best.

Fred Hoiberg- How long will he be at Iowa St.? With his NBA background, they will be calling as soon as this year and if he only stays at ISU for 5 or so years, how can someone be considered a great college coach if they only coach for a short time? Also, Hoiberg is going to have to show that he is more than a refuge for other teams castoffs to keep ISU a good program. Hoiberg is young enough at 40 to become a great college coach, but he needs time to see if he can sustain his early successes.

Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart could one day be better coaches than Self, but it takes time to build up a resume to say that you are an elite coach all time. They may get there one day, but not at their present jobs and not if they don't adapt with the times 15-20 years from now like Coach K, like Izzo, like Self, and like Pitino have, they won't get there.

My top 5 right now, Coach K, Izzo, Pitino (the more I see his accomplishments, I'll give him the nod over Self right now), Self, and Donovan.

prf 9 years, 4 months ago

It looks like the rankings came first, then the criteria that fit the rankings, and then the rationalizations.

JacquesMerde 9 years, 4 months ago

BS. Coach K is one of the best of all time, but Izzo isn't any better, if as good, as Self. Surely no one really wants Self to leave. With the exception of Larry Brown he is the best we've had in my time as a fan and that dates back to Phog Allen in the 1940s. Sure he made a mistake with Johnson but he still won a lot of games with him. He has some great recruiting years and some rather piss poor ones. He did a great job overall with the people he had this year. He is responsible for what the material is, but he can't play for them. With the exception of McLemore, Ellis, and Releford he made players like Young and Withey great, and they were great. Ostertag had a good pro career, but I think Withey as a college player his last two years was just as good at the college level. Young kept getting better as the year progressed. He was a real college front court player by years end no matter how much he weighed. I know people must be bull sh*tting about Self. We'd really be up the creek without him.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 years, 4 months ago

Words, words words, "karma", what is that??

The other team was simply more focused on the game. Our team of NBA wannabes simply lacked the maturity and desire to win.

Players should agree to play the college careers to graduation, that is the main purpose of a college education.

Those who do not agree to complete their ecucation should be barred from the NBA and removed from the college that has invested time and money in them.

But it will never happen, money is the root af all evil.

jaybate 9 years, 4 months ago

basketball karma--what goes around comes around (westernized interpretation in jaybate's Concordance of Eastern Mysticism)

basketball dharma--the Law that upholds, supports or maintains the regulatory order of the universe", as quoted from the ancient iScripture called Wikipedia

Me thinks Master Keegs is not fully up to speed on basketball karma.

What happened in this game has much more to do with the sorry state of basketball dharma as prescribed by television and its broadcast windows and the NCAA and its managers of officials willingness to embrace nonlinear rule enforcement for the sake of controlling game length.

KU's karma has alway been decent, at least as good as most other schools trying to do it the right.

What we have here is a problem with a perversion of the basketball dharma.

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

Jaybate.....Thanks so much for your posts! You got me through. Sorry about the way it ended.....but that's life. Have a great spring/summer! Hope to hear more stories .....especially love the ones about WWII and your Dad. Take care, my friend!

jaybate 9 years, 4 months ago

Same to you, kenneth. And enjoy the heck out of that little girl.

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

Thanks! I will. She's amazing. Being seeing you here.

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

Well, that's it. I'm done compalining and being sad. My little 3 year old just ran in here and asked when the easter Bunny would be here. That was enough to bring me back.

It was a sad game.....but then again .....just a game. There are so many other important things in our lives.....and I for one need to be more thankful for them......and I will. KU had a good year.....and will have another next year. Every year!

"The Easter Bunny will be hear before you know it, ange!" I I pick her up and hug her.......and she laughs and laughs..........Yep.....the important things.....for sure.

Thanks to everyone on here. It's great to talk to you guys. See you in a few short months!

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, Jaydogger.....didn't mean just with kids.....I just mean the REALLY important things in our family,friends,etc. You know what I'm saying. I don't know, Jay.....From your posts I can tell you're a good guy. Probably be an awesome Dad.....I can guarantee it will change your life forever......Food for thought.....see you next year!

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

I check in quite a bit in the off hopefully will see you on here. Yes...what could have been. Still amazes me how everything that could go wrong did....and opposite for Michigan. But what can you do? to go hide Easter eggs now that the little angel went to bed(finally!) Take care!

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

HA! I wish.....but I don't think I could part with my little angel even for a day.

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for your kind words. Appreciate it. Glad your son is a Jayhawk!! Yes....last night was rough. It happens......not often like that......but it does. All in all.....we're very lucky! Hope to see you on here this spring and summer!!

PS-Was just outside with my little girl doing "Recon" on where Easter Bunny might find some hiding places. As were were coming in she said "Bunny might see Jayhawk tonight". I said "absolutely"!Yes......This kid will be a Jayhawk!

hawkshot 9 years, 4 months ago

I will not miss #15 at all. He was the reason that I normally just recorded the games and watched them later. Still couldn't watch the games that I already knew the outcome, without him getting on my nerves. Don't know at all about Bill's love affair with him. Would love to have seen some development of the younger kids. Don't know why a younger player is yanked, but 15 can constantly throw the ball away and stay in the game. I hope that they stay, but I would'nt blame Rio and White for leaving.

SaltLakeHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

wow, this guy really dislikes Mario Chalmers

prf 9 years, 4 months ago

He likes Mario, it's Jo Jo White that he can't stand.

hawkshot 9 years, 4 months ago

OK. If I must I'll change 15 to EJ. I would think that with the reference to Rio and White that you would be smart enough to figure out what time period I was talking about, but I gues not. Next time I will try and spell it out a little better so you can understand.

prf 9 years, 4 months ago

So what's more important -- your own happiness or the success of a basketball team in a one-and-done tournament? Careful, your answer has karmic implications.

Steve Brown 9 years, 4 months ago

What week of the season did Sherron come to Lawrence for a visit, was it right before the 3 game stretch, if not, then forgive my thoughts.

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

Is EJ to blame? Sure....for some. But he gave his heart.....I have no doubt of that.

But we must remember he is not a point guard.....but he was asked to be one. So he was always out of place. They tried tyo make it work.....but in the end failed.

Hopefully......we learned something. We certainly saw what a real point guard can do.

PS-I will NEVER consider a lead of less than 20 points to be safe inside of 5 minutes......GEEZ!!!! Amazing that happenned. KU did everything wrong.....Michigan everything right.

Kye Clark 9 years, 4 months ago

That excuse/rationalization doesn't fly. He was a point guard coming out of high school. Pretty highly rated one too. He ran the point 2 years ago when Tyshawn was suspended. Did a fine job. He ran the point last year whenever Tyshawn caught a breather. Did a fine job. He has been quoted as saying "I've always viewed myself as a point guard. That's what I was in high school and that's how I see the game." Anyone that keeps going to that well is avoiding the real issue.

The real issue is that he is not a great leader. And maybe, in that respect, he isn't a true point guard, because leadership is an implied characteristic of the position. But that was what was lacking. EJ would have been well suited to be the point guard on the Morris Hawk team. On that team, he would have been able to just play without the burden of leading the team. People want to say that he thrived last year because he was playing the 2. That wasn't it at all. It's because it was Tyshawn's team, and TRob's team. EJ was able to do his work in the background. When we'd lose a game, no one would say it was because of him, even if he had an off game. There was no added pressure on him. This year was different. It was as much his team as it was anyone's. And really, I think that extra weight buried him.

And I say all this not to trash EJ. I'm sincerely thankful for his service to the program. No one could ever accuse him of not giving his all. He'll always be a Jayhawk, and despite the horrible game yesterday I'm still going to miss him. But many fans don't understand that it was really just a matter of unfortunate timing. Had he been the point guard this year while having another player(s) in that leadership role I'm certain he would have been fine.

Next year, Self will have 4 options - Tharpe, Adams, Frankamp, & Mason. Tharpe seems ready to take the next step; we'll see who Self appoints as the understudy.

prf 9 years, 4 months ago

I think there's a lot more to it than that. Johnson wrecked the game by his mental errors. But in Self's system, leadership comes from 4 and 5, not from the 1. This year's team was uncharacteristically weak on the inside. After Withey, the skill level dropped way off. Ellis wasn't really a factor until March. Even with his contribution, all they could muster was Traylor and Young. You compared this team to 2010, so let's compare this paltry group with two Morris', Robinson, Mario Little, and Withey.

Strength at 4 and 5 is what has made Bill Self successful over the years. It's what makes his high-low work. With strength in the middle, the point guard initiates the offense and then becomes another motion player on the 3-out. With weakness in the middle, the point guard' has to become more of a playmaker. Rarely during the year did Johnson show the playmaking and decision making skills of a true 1, and at times his play was embarrassing. Tharp did a nice job at the 1, especially in the first half of the Michigan game. With Tharp at the point the play flowed, as it should in Self's hybrid offense.

In short, KU didn't have the personnel to run Self's system, but the best choice at the 1 was Tharpe or Releford, with Johnson at the 2. I don't recall Releford ever running the point. Johnson stunk up the gym, but it wasn't his call to play the point. Overall, KU did very well despite the lack of talent and depth at 4 and 5. But eventually, the weaknesses become too great to overcome, especially against extremely athletic teams or well-drilled teams. Michigan is both.

Kye Clark 9 years, 4 months ago

On some of the more recent teams, you are right. TRob last year (although I would argue leadership came 50% from the 1 last year with Tyshawn), the Morris Hawks the year before. But Sherron Collins? He was the team leader for two years at the 1. Before that it was pretty much done by committee on the '07 & '08 teams, and I'd say RussRob was as much of a leader as anyone in the post on those teams. So to say leadership comes from the 4 & 5 isn't necessarily true. Generally it comes from your best, most experienced players, regardless of position. I will also add that it is easier for a PG to take on a leadership position because he has the ball in his hands the most. It is more difficult for post players because they are generally dependent on the guards to get the ball. If a guard is defended well, he can still rise up and make difficult shots. If a post player is guarded well, he might not get the ball at all.

I won't disagree with your assessment that this year's team was deficient in regards to post scoring prowess, which definitely hampered the offense as a whole.

prf 9 years, 4 months ago

It's a treat having a conversation with someone who knows the game and cares about KU, but isn't blind to the deficiencies. I always thought that Collins believed he was the leader, even though leadership was shared in '08-'09 with the Morris twins. In any case, Sharron, bless him, wasn't a great point guard, but with a strong 4 and 5 in Aldrich and the Morris's, Collins was more than adequate, especially when he got hot from behind the arc. In any case, Self's ability to recruit athletic big men is critical to the success of Kansas. Considering what he had to work with, I'd say that KU had a fine season. Whereas UNC and Kentucky are way out of the running in their rebuilding years, KU finished as about the 9th or 10th best team in the country. Not bad.

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

You make good points. I will rethink my thoughts. I have absolutely no anger toward EJ. What good is it? He made mistakes.....but so did everyone. He 's a good kid and some great moments for KU.

shotgun 9 years, 4 months ago

What a bunch of cry babies, MU did not quit.

Kirkwood 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm really disappointed for this team. I place full accountability for this loss squarely where it belongs... on Bill Self and his Coaching Staff.

EJ wasn't in his right mind from the start which was quite obvious by the cheap-shot he delivered early in the game. As a team we performed very strong with EJ cheering from the bench in the first half. I totally support injecting him back into the game in the second half to see if he could right himself and contribute to the winning efforts of the rest of the guys.

However, EJ wasn't able to right himself and the Coaching Staff had a responsibility to the team and to EJ to do the right thing by taking him off the court. Why Naa wasn't made to bring the ball up with 9sec left in overtime and then dish to Releford who has been sure money going to the basket for a layup??? I will never know.

EJ gave us his heart, as did the rest of the guys. They looked dysfunctional towards the end of the game, which should have never gone into overtime. I blame this on the Coaches. These players, especially EJ, will have a VERY TOUGH TIME dealing with this loss. Thanks guys for another exciting season. Never forget "Once a Jayhawk, Always a Jayhawk".

Keep this in mind; As a Jayhawk, EJ has won more games for us as a result of his talent and heart than games lost due to mistakes that are part of the game. Rock Chalk Jayhawks, Forever KU!!

If you're still having a hard time putting this GAME into perspective... Read this...

skijamin 9 years, 4 months ago

When this team came out of the media timeout at the 7:30ish mark, they stopped playing to win and started playing not to lose (BMac disappeared again). They lost the "attack" mentality that produced the 14 point lead. Once that happened, we lost the game. While it would be easy to blame EJ, the whole team turned on the cruise control at that point. That being said, the only game where EJ looked like the senior leader was the second Iowa State game. He was never cut out to lead this team, which was our greatest flaw throughout the entire season. I will miss his heart and appreciate his efforts, but I think that the team will be better of with Tharpe at the helm. He has progressed nicely over the year and just needs a more consistant shot. He has also shown the ability to run the point and be the team better than EJ. Good luck to all the seniors and BMac (if he leaves). I look forward to next season with Tharpe and Ellis taking the lead. Both have proven their worth towards the end of this season and will only get better from here on out. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

woodscolt 9 years, 4 months ago

Way to much testosterone on this link. Lots of adults acting like babies. We lost the game. It happens. This is a single elimination tournament. Anybody can get beat on a given night. Thats why the NBA plays best of seven. Even the eventual winner has a bad night or even more.

johninkc1 9 years, 4 months ago

I agree. Never seen so many "fans" throw a player under the bus the way EJ has been. He played out of position due to a lack of a true point guard. That is on Bill. Tharpe has improved but was not ready at the beginning of the year for full time duty. Hope Michigan gets exposed for their flops in the next round.

JacquesMerde 9 years, 4 months ago

Honestly analyzing a game isn't throwing a player under the bus. Personally, I hope Michigan is national champion. It would make KU's loss look better. BTW, E.J. did mess up KU's chance to win.

Sam Constance 9 years, 4 months ago

Anyone who read this column and sees it as "honestly analyzing a game" is either ignorant, or is too blinded by their EJ dislike to see what it really was.

I've never read an "honest analysis" of a game that specifically went out of it's way to sh** all over a single player, and to make a point to note all the good things his teammates did.

An "honest analysis" of the game might've mentioned the fact that Mitch McGary went crazy for 25 and 14. No, Withey not only avoided the hangman's noose, but he got specific mention for how good he played.

Because hey, 12 points and 8 rebounds in 39 minutes of play is really good. /sarcasm

Kevin Jenkins 9 years, 4 months ago

Oh come on.He played the position before. He said it was his team and he drives this team. I don't believe in keep commenting on the game. And our team next year will drive us crazy also. I have been a KU basketball fan most of my life. I have always been proud to show it even when we lost to teams that we should have blown away.Now most KU fans are just shell shocked after a loss that seemed sealed. If you check with most of those couch-coach experts they just single out the one who should have been that player running the team. The coach deserves most of the blame. But most don't see that now. But another year will come and we will stand by our team. We will be checking our facts sheets and decide whats best for our team. By watching them in front of the wide screen. I did like the ride they gave us this year. I was wondering what was going to happen when T-Rob and Tyshawn were gone. But we made the tournament and Outright champs in the big 12.

okiedave 9 years, 4 months ago

A team who starts playing not to lose...often loses to a team playing to win. Almost always a coaching error. However, great year - Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

Sam Constance 9 years, 4 months ago

It's articles like this, and the sh**storm of a thread that was clearly going to follow, that kept me away from yesterday.

I expect it from a bunch of selfish, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately pseudo-fans. You don't get to this level of success without attracting a bunch of people who's only interest in KU is the fact that they win, and consistently. The thing about those types of "fans" is that they will turn on the very thing they root for at the drop of a hat. We saw it earlier in the year, when everyone was ready to sell this team--and especially EJ--up the river for doing something for the second time in a decade that most programs experience once every year or two (losing three in a row). And I knew as soon as this game was over that the same fickle fans would be foaming at the mouth to turn on EJ.

To pin this loss solely on Johnson and some moron's notion of "karma" is ignorance. And you would think someone who is such a target of ire from his readers would understand a thing or two about ridiculous over-the-top criticism or being the focal point for displeasure, whether deserved or not. Bottom line, this is a gutless, piece of trash column by Keegan. He knew the readers on this site would want blood. He knew that EJ would be the easiest target of their ire. So what does he do? Whips out his sacrificial knife and goes to town, more than happy to dump all over a 21-year old kid. The worst part is how he singles out EJ for criticism, while specifically singing the praises of every other player, in some cases completely ignoring the fact that those other players were integral to KU's collapse as well.

(to be continued)

Sam Constance 9 years, 4 months ago


For starters, I don't see how Withey's game deserves any kind of high praise. Yes, he got 5 blocks, but he also only managed 12 points and 8 rebounds in 39 minutes of play, and his man--the freshman McGary that we all expected to come back to Earth when faced with a real defensive post presence--went nuts for 25 points and 14 rebounds. In a game where we lost in overtime, that cannot be overlooked. Withey just finished dominating against UNC, and in this game, he at times looked slow and unable to keep up. Obviously, I'm not blaming Withey for the loss, but I have a hard time using his "amazing" play to point out how EJ was the only reason we lost this game.

Or what about Bill Self's role in this--and no, I don't mean because he played his senior PG for 24 minutes. I mean for failing to ask for an intentional foul on the final possession in regulation when only a three could tie it (HELLO, ISU at AFH anyone?). I mean for failing to help his team out by calling a timeout before the 10 second call. I mean by taking a timeout before the last possession on the many discombobulated offensive possessions and getting us a sure-fire basket that would have put the game just out of reach for Michigan. At least Self is paid to do these things. Johnson is just a kid who gave 4 years of his life to KU basketball, and now he is repayed by some jerkoff writing a "generate clicks" column and half the KU fanbase wishing him good riddance.

Or let's look at McLemore, who's hot shooting helped get us to the large lead, only to disappear for the final 16 minutes. Where the heck does Keegan get off glossing over McLemore's disappearance for almost half of the game, while piling onto EJ for a handful of admittedly problematic plays? Don't you think McLemore taking more than one shot in the final 16 minutes may have helped KU put the game just out of reach?

(to be concluded)

Sam Constance 9 years, 4 months ago


I'm not going to debate the EJ/McGary play, because while it sure looked intentional to my eyes on replay, I think people are forgetting how much slow-mo can change the way a play appears to the naked eye. Given that Johnson has showed us 4 years of great, sportsmanlike play, I think it's a bit naive to assume that he has either been hiding his true, dirty-player nature for 4 years or to think that he finally snapped and turned into a dirty player. It's more evidence of how vitriolic and delusional Johnson's haters are than anything else. The first hint of anything they think might validate the disgusting way in which so many fans have talked about EJ is seen as gospel truth. Pathetic.

As embarrassed as I was after seeing the replay of the nut tap, I'm equally embarrassed to hear/read the comments of far too many members of Jayhawk Nation today, even though I'm not surprised in the slightest. We should be better than this, Jayhawks. For me FOE isn't just a pithy phrase to show how much we love KU basketball. It means that these guys are family in that I will support them through tough times because I love how they make me feel in smooth times. It's about giving EJ the benefit of the doubt on the play in the first half. It's about knowing that as much as this loss may hurt for you or me, it hurts WAY worse for every single one of the guys on that team, and then about 10x worse again for the seniors on that team.

Jim Roth 9 years, 4 months ago

Regarding his sportsmanlike play, the nut shot was not the first time Elijah's sportsmanship has been questioned. See dunk at end of ISU game.

Note that I'm not passing judgement (I cringed before but cheered after that dunk), but just pointing out it's not the first controversial behavior exhibited.

Sam Constance 9 years, 4 months ago

I understand your point, but I don't think that dunk was in any way controversial, and certainly not an example of poor sportsmanship.

Sorry, but no normal basketball play that is done in the course of the game's live action should be considered unsportsmanlike.

Heck, I don't really think Marcus Smart's backflip was controversial or unsportsmanlike either. I think that things like that--which 10 years ago wouldn't have even registered--are blown out of proportion due to the 24-hr sports/news cycle. The fact that EJ's "controversial" dunk received more media attention than the fact that ISU fans were throwing things on the floor is ample evidence.

Joseph Bullock 9 years, 4 months ago

I had a really long post, but I just deleted it before I posted it. I am too angry right now. jaybate, I got much respect for you, but you can't put this loss on the refs. The game was ours to lose, and we did. Also, there are a lot of ways to stop guys from illegal screening (as a former player, I know this), that will get that screeners attention, and won't have the refs looking at the monitor. Run through it hard, or other stuff, but not do what E.J. did. That was obvious, and if he doesn't know they can look at it, he really does have issues (but I do think the kid flopped, absolutely, because he seemed to think about it for a few seconds, then kind of fell softly to the floor, like a pansy). This game was lost by a lack of a smart substitution, by a coaching staff, who I believe is the best over all staff in America. Are there no assistants that said, coach, we need to get Tharpe in the game for E.J. But they dropped the ball. By the way, also, did anyone else notice how many times our bigs headed back down court, when we put a shot up, especially late, when we needed an offensive rebound, to steal even "One" possession?

Kent Noble 9 years, 4 months ago

When you sock someone intentionally in the nads bad karma will come back to bite and it did. Bill Self probably learned a lesson as well, don't let the other team have an opportunity to shoot a 3 and tie the game. Should have fouled when Burke crossed the half court line. We would have beaten Florida and been heading to Atlanta.

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