Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Self: KU needs Tharpe to be irreplaceable

Blue team member Naadir Tharpe gets loose for an easy two during the men's basketball scrimmage during Late Night in the Phog Friday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Blue team member Naadir Tharpe gets loose for an easy two during the men's basketball scrimmage during Late Night in the Phog Friday at Allen Fieldhouse.


— Kansas University coach Bill Self expects more — much more — from point guard Naadir Tharpe in his junior season.

“I need Naadir to be our most valuable player,” Self said Tuesday before the Coaches vs. Cancer Season Tipoff Reception at Municipal Auditorium. “Now, I didn’t say best player, but he needs to be the guy that, regardless of the situation, it’s hard for us to play without him.”

Self hinted that Tharpe’s experience and leadership could be valuable on a team that brings in six freshmen and is otherwise inexperienced at the point.

“Frank Mason is going to be a good player. He’s going to come along and help us, but he’s young and has got a lot to figure out,” Self said. “Same with (Conner) Frankamp. So especially early in the season, Naadir probably needs to be as good as anybody on our team.”

Tharpe averaged 5.5 points and 19.4 minutes off the bench last year. He also ranked third in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2).

“He’s by far — by far — the best passer as far as creating shots for others of anybody we’ve had in recent memory,” Self said of the 5-11 native of Worcester, Mass., “and we’ve got to figure out a way where he can get to the paint.”

KU will practice Wednesday through Saturday, marking the first time this season that the Jayhawks have practiced four consecutive days.

“We need to figure out the nuts and bolts of who we are,” Self said. “‘OK, this is important. We don’t give up easy baskets. We make the extra pass. We drive to pass. We try to get angles on the block.’ Things that we know that’s been successful for us over time.

“Right now, we’re just out there, and we’re not playing with any purpose, which I think is pretty normal after one week. We need to get to the point where we can start playing with some purpose.”

Collins chimes in

Self wasn’t the only one unhappy with his team’s lack of defense in Friday night’s Late Night in the Phog scrimmage at Allen Fieldhouse.

Former KU guard Sherron Collins, who watched from the stands, was frustrated as well.

“Sherron walked in the locker room right after. I said, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘That’s embarrassing. We don’t play this way,’” Self said. “To me, that’s good for those guys to hear, because we don’t. One thing we’ve always taken pride in is, ‘Hey, we’re not going to let other people score.’”

Self put the Blue team’s 66-40 victory over Crimson in perspective.

“If you play a 12-minute running clock — if the clock runs during substitutions and dead balls and free throws — that’s probably the equivalent of about a 13-minute game. So to think that one team could give up 40 points in a 13-minute game? Think about that,” Self said. “That’s probably on pace for 55 a half. Well the other team gave up 66, which is on pace for 90 in a half. And that’s not how we play.

“I think the guys kind of thought, even though I encouraged them not to think this way, that, ‘Hey, we’re just out here to have some fun and put on a show.’ To me, that’s not what ball is all about, and they know that now.”

KU healthy

Self said the Jayhawks, who have had a two-on, one-off practice schedule recently, are “actually as healthy as we’ve been.”

“I haven’t pushed them to the point where I think I’m beating them up yet,” Self said with a smile. “But we’ve got to get to that. In two weeks, we need to be ready to have our practices to prepare us for the season. Right now, it’s too long of a year. We’re not quite there yet.”

On Late Night fixes

Self reiterated that KU would continue to look at ways to change how fans get into Late Night, as many people who waited for hours to get in were left outside the building after fans behind them cut in line and bum-rushed the doors.

“We’re going to have to do something as far as maybe passing out a voucher or a ticket as they wait in line to make sure they can get in,” Self said. “I don’t know exactly how it’ll work, but it’ll work. It’s not broken by any stretch, but it is something that needs to be addressed.”


Scott MacWilliams 8 years, 11 months ago

“He’s by far — by far — the best passer as far as creating shots for others of anybody we’ve had in recent memory,” Self said.

Music to my ears!!

With A-Wiggins, Wayne.S.World, Dead-on Designer, Cool Hand Lucas, and so many great options, this is going to be VERY fun team to watch. There will be some bloopers along the way, it's all good. Just go and grow, Jayhawks, and we'll all have a blast watching!!!

Rock Chalk, Jayhawks!!

Cameron Cederlind 8 years, 11 months ago

You were so pumped to bust out those nicknames

kshaw04 8 years, 11 months ago

Scroll down in the article and check out the great video app for all you lucky IPad owners. Nothing like a little Rock Chalk Jayhawk to play for all your friends!

Rob Bedford III 8 years, 11 months ago

I think Lucas will be at the end of the bench with Wesley and the walk-on's.

Benz Junque 8 years, 11 months ago

Everyone seems to forget that Tharpe had a far better A/TO ratio than the "great" Marcus Smart and an eFG% only a small percentage lower than Smart's. KU doesn't need Tharpe to be a three point shooter or even a scorer. He needs to be a great passer and he needs to be a great leader by keeping everyone moving where they are supposed to be going and playing hard nosed defense.

wrwlumpy 8 years, 11 months ago

Coach starts chewing on them after the fun of Late Night. He has to, with our offensive talent, I'd spend an enormous amount of time working on D.

It's great finally hearing about practice. Naadir always scared me until he started getting more and more minutes his Freshman year in the NCAA tournament. His unexpected 3 in the first round help us get out of a funk, after his shot, we went on to a blow out.

I love this time of year when 5 star's pick KU and the next article is about not having beat them up in practice (yet).

Guess what, Bill Self can coach.

wrwlumpy 8 years, 11 months ago

Does this mean we lose to Pittsburgh State?

Jack Wilson 8 years, 11 months ago

While the "best passer" comment is a big one, another comment (though subtle) is also interesting ... Self used Frankamp in the same discussion as Tharpe and Mason. It's really the first time Self has implied that Frankamp might be in the point guard mix. And it's just implied. But worth noting.

Regarding Tharpe, definitely reasonable to expect his minutes to be huge -- perhaps just a 3 minute rest each half. I go back to Tharpe during his freshman season when he had difficulty functioning on the court. Many expect Mason to be a guy who can immediately handle back up minutes. Some, like Keegan, babyphog, and Kingfisher, as I recall, have said Mason will displace Tharpe as the starter.

Self's comment makes perfect sense. He needs Tharpe to lead, distribute, and be invaluable. Tharpe has been groomed for this opportunity. Inexperience .. Self's great antagonist .. is the only other option.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 11 months ago

KU doesn't need great McDonald's All-Americans leading their team every year. History has shown that that the Blue Collar, unselfish "Pass First" type point guard has been the remedy succes in years past.

Cedric Hunter-1986 Final 4

Kevin Pritchard-1988 National Champion

Adonis Jordan-Hardly played his freshman year, waited his turn after Pritchard and went to the 1991 and 1993 Final 4's.

Jacque Vaughn-McDonald's All-American, NBA player, and IMO was all flash and flare and is the only Jayhawk PG of the last 28 years not to lead his team to a Final 4.

Jeff Boschee and Kirk Hinrich gave way to Aaron Miles, who was a pass first PG that went to two Final 4's in 2002 and 2003.

Mario Chalmers came in as point guard, but quickly moved to a 3 guard lineup with Robinson and Collins.

Tyshawn Taylor played more roles than anybody in a Self uniform over his 4 years, but his last two years as PG was his most successful going to the Championship game in 2012.

I am a big fan of Tharpe and all the ingredients surrounding him this year. I am not a fan of Tharpe by himself without all those toppings and ingredients. Mason and Frankamp will provide good compliments.

KU has been successful and made deep runs in the NCAA Tournament when guys sacrificed, understood their roles, and for the most part to a backseat as PG to the rest of the players on the team. Tharpe fits that role perfectly this year.

Tuskin 8 years, 11 months ago

And don't forget Ryan Robertson. When he stepped in for Jacque Vaughn, I think the team actually did better. He wasn't as flashy, but he had a phenomenal assist / TO ratio.

texashawk10 8 years, 11 months ago

Chalmers was not a PG at KU. Self tried him out there as a freshman and he failed pretty badly at it. I would say during the Bill Self years that Russell Robinson is the gold standard for point guard. I would also love to see another Aaron Miles tyoe come through town. As for Tharpe's 2.2/1 A/TO ratio, that's not All-American caliber, but no rational person will be screaming for him to be benched with that ratio either. If he can get it over 2.5/1, then you're getting into all conference type numbers and if he gets it to 3/1, then you're looking at all American type numbers.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 11 months ago

Chalmers was a PG his entire first year at Kansas. Russ Rob was the point guard in 2007 and 2008, but it was really a committee type guard lineup with Collins, Russ Rob, and Chalmers. That was when Self was killing it with "Combo Guards" mentality, but the game has changed back to where more traditional type point guards are becoming popular again.

Benz Junque 8 years, 11 months ago

And Russell Robinson had just a mediocre A/TO ratio of 1.95 in 2008. Chalmers (who led the 2008 team in assists) had an A/TO of 2.25.

Evan Bilyeu 8 years, 11 months ago

Just a tip: Jeff Goodman from ESPN watched them practice today and said Tharpe was the most impressive on the court, just a thought.

Michael Luby 8 years, 11 months ago

Chalmers was not a "pure" PG at KU. However, he did rotate around at the 1 with Russ and Collins. Hence Coach Self's label of "Combo" guard

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 11 months ago

“He’s by far — by far — the best passer as far as creating shots for others of anybody we’ve had in recent memory,”

Is that a confidence builder or for motivation? Or maybe just a short memory. It was only earlier this summer when the LGW ran this story:

Naadir Tharpe was near the bottom or not even mentioned when rating the best point guards during the Bill Self era. Obviously, other criteria were used when ranking the best point guards but anyway you look at it, Naadir Tharpe isn't near the passer Sherron Collins or Tyshawn Taylor were at Kansas.

I think the person that HCBS needs to be irreplaceable is more likely the weakest link in the starting lineup.

AsadZ 8 years, 11 months ago

I still recall how Tharpe just could not stay on the court in his 1st year due to all of the TOs. At the beginning of last year, he was still in HCBS dog house as he just could not guard his man. There was one interview I clearly remember in which Self was really mad at him and at that point I thought that sooner or later Tharpe will be gone.

I give lot of credit to Tharpe for sticking around and grinding it out. He learned the lesson, worked his butt off, paid his dues, listened to the coach and did not complain, as a rsult of which he is now the starting PG of KU.

Rock Chalk Naa.

clevelandjayhawker 8 years, 11 months ago

It happens every two years or so with Coach Self, someone is in the doghouse. They get yanked after one mistake, they get a verbal assault and there are comments on here about a transfer.....Then they come back stronger, and become the leaders (which a PG should be). The "short leash" and whipping boy is a classic break them down to build them up strategy, and it seems to work for those that can withstand the initial torture.

Rus Rob, Sheron, Tyshawn, Naa

Chris Shaw 8 years, 11 months ago

Adonis Jordan never played his Freshman year and he guided Kansas to two Final 4's in his Final 3 years.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 11 months ago

And from the KC Star today, quote from Oubre's dad:

"It's a win-win all the way around", Kelly Sr. said. "We don't talk about one-and-done possibilities in my house, because I'm more concerned about maturity, longevity, and development."

ParisHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the tip. Not the only great quote in that article.

Ian Emerson 8 years, 11 months ago

I was so excited about Tharpe when he committed but I always knew patience was needed. Anyways how can you deny his greatness after he hit that shot against OKST?

Hawk8086 8 years, 11 months ago

I noticed the comment about Frankamp also. I always thought he might be a candidate to play PG (as well as the 2), but Self's comments could be telling.

ParisHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Exciting comments by Self and by you posters.

Here's another quote I like: "we’ve got to figure out a way where he can get to the paint."

Naadir, I see monster screens from Black and Selden in your future.

Also, here's a question: you're guarding Wiggins and he sets a screen for Tharpe. What do you do? The slightest hesitation and AW is gone.

This could be fun after all...

Joe Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

Did you see Wigs take the ball left of the FT-line extended, cross into the lane, and drive down the lane for a dunk at Late Night?


Steve Gantz 8 years, 11 months ago

Did you read about the lack of defense played in that game? :)

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 11 months ago

I get the fact that with Coach Self, defense comes first but I've always looked at Midnight Madness/Late-Night as being a glorified scrimmage with the same level of defensive intensity as the NBA All-Star game.

jaybate 8 years, 11 months ago

As I wrote awhile back, the offensive future of the team could well be a variation off the hi-lo, which is a 1-triangle-1 set, basically a 3 corner offense with Naa driving into the center of the triangle, instead of Dean's old 4 corner. Black stays low block, except to set high picks and clear out for guys to drive. It won't be spread quite as wide as as the old four corners, but they are going to move the ball and make them stretch and slide for 4-5 passes, maybe 6-8.

Perry will be almost as mobile as Selden and Wigs. The triangle will rotate, too. All three will wind up on a block from time to time.

jaybate 8 years, 11 months ago

Frankamp has entered the mix for two reasons:

1) Mason can't make the reads or treys;

2) Frankamp can; and

3) Wigs trey is not credible.

But Conner can't have any more 0-6 stretches, or he might as well buy a seat cushion.

Joe Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

I oh so slightly disagree with you on Frankamp. IF he wants to fulfill our wishes and expectations, Frankamp has got to work on his speed, lateral moves, and footwork. His release is a bit too slow for D1 level right now. He needs to work 1-2 seconds faster on the launch of his trey. This is going to take work. He is a rhythm shooter and he looked a bit hurried at Late Night. If he can make these adjustments, he might be able to step up. Mason is trying way too hard and may be missing some fundamentals right now to compensate for his disadvantages. If you could take Mason's speed and add to Frankamp's overall abilities, you'd have a solid backup pg.

To Mason's credit, he did drain a few treys. Frankamp may be the better shooter, but if Mason's shot is as consistent, he could get the nod to back Naa.

Joe Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

I have nothing against Frankamp, but if he wants to compete at this level, he will tell you there is some fundamental work on his part. Here a few comments from a Late Night piece. I'm only remembering his own words during an interview and he admitted to his speed, lateral moves, and footwork which translates to his defense. He's got great vision and bball IQ. I want that to translate well for him.

I posted that "Frankamp was a bit exposed..."

Lulufulu85 responded- "Seriously, anyone trying to guard Wigs in the full court or half court one on one will be exposed."

texashawk 10 responded- "If you're judging someone's defensive abilities based on a Late Night scrimmage, then nobody on KU is a good defender. Connor likely won't be ready this year anyway, but he doesn't have to be ready to contribute majorly this year anyway."

You both reinforced my statement. Maybe my point is that Frankamp is going to have difficulty guarding elite talent in D1. If he has problems with Wigs, projected #1 NBA draft pick, he may have issues with other not quite so touted talent.

I wasn't even referring to his TO against Wigs who took it to the house against Frankamp. Most of these guys were holding their own and they all displayed some opps, but most of those opps are fixable. For example, Embiid putting the ball on the floor 2-3 feet from the goal. However, he has the natural ability to compete with other elite or slightly lesser elite talent. Heck, Mason looked more promising than Frankamp. But this is not bashing Frankamp. I want him to succeed and be successful. I'm just concerned this may be a small sign of things to come for him.

Again, this was just one night and I posted that too. We have a long season. Let's just watch the development of the team as a whole. The parts will come together and the right pieces will rise to the top. I'm not that worried with Frankamp, he just needs some time and he will be one of the best players in D1 play.

Mick Allen 8 years, 11 months ago

Mason can make the reads. He had 2 of the slickest assists of the night. Three point shooting is allegedly something he needs to work on, although he hit one more 3 than Frankamp. Tharpe shot it well, but as has been stated repeatedly, the defense was as nonexistent as a conference win for our football team. Mason will get a number of assists because of his speed and pushing the ball up court. The point guard job is Naadir's to lose, either because of unsatisfactory play, or because Mason comes on strong the second semester.Hopefully Mason pushing Naadir will make them both better.

Walter Bridges 8 years, 11 months ago

Agree Adam..Mason might have a long season sitting with the coach's son although Mason did manage to climb from the #131 to the #76-ranked player due to his outstanding AAU performance but he will never be the threat that Connor will be. Connor was consistently over 40% on his three-point shooting so taking a one-game performance might not be the basis on which I would take too much from.

Good article:

A little dated but still a good read.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 11 months ago


1] In Baseball, great pitching always beats great hitting, and in Basketball, great defense always beats great offense...especially when the great defense keys a great offense...The Kansas Way!!

2] Because of the superior talent of this team, Conner, Landon, AWIII, Frank and Brannen are going to see a lot of PT courtesy of Andrew, Wayne, Perry, Jo Jo, Tarik, Jamari and Naa,

3] The "over" for this upcoming season's "Coach's Sons Games" has been upped to 14.

4] Come on, the answer is simple for Late Night..set up a court on the 50 yard line at Memorial Stadium, turn on the lights and let everyone in. Heck, you might outdraw a KU football game!!!

5] Bill got exactly what he wanted, a display of "playground ball", that now he can use to hammer into the guys the defense he wants for real!! It happens every year...and it works.
Bill Self = Genius. :).

6] Conner, the carrot has been dangled in front of you...but be ready for the whip!!

7] Why do I get the feeling that, right about now, maybe ten or so elite recruits are looking at Kelly's committment to Kansas and are now wondering when the music is going to suddenly stop and how many chairs are left!!!

8] I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be a St.Louis Cardinal Jayhawk!!

Steve Gantz 8 years, 11 months ago

four- The best idea on these pages in a long time, of course the courts across the street from my apartiment on Mass near downtown would work too!

eight- With a lot of Pittsburghers in my family I've got to go with the Pirates, but I've always admired the St. Louis way. A small market team in a sport that very much favors the big markets could very well win their 3rd WS since 2006. Impressive indeed.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 11 months ago

Best of luck to your Pirates [next year :) ]..They are for real and will be a worthy opponent for my Cards for years to come. One thing we can agree on....hatred of the Reds!! Thanks so very much for busting Cincy and getting Baker fired. We owe you!!!

ParisHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

7] The chairs are by position. SF Oubre knows SF Wiggins will be gone. A PG recruit knows Naadir will be back. A PF recruit should count on Perry being back. A Center recruit doesn't know yet about Embiid. A SG doesn't know yet about Selden.

What's good is the perceived momentum. The Wiggins class cannot be considered a flash in the pan. Self the reKrUiter is back big time.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 11 months ago

Tharpe was the only player who could consistently get in the crease and attack the paint last year.

Mick Allen 8 years, 11 months ago

If you are saying he did this better than EJ then I agree, but the comparison is to a guy who never developed point guard skills and was much more suited for his former position, the 2 guard.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 11 months ago

The comparison is to the 2012-2013 Kansas Jayhawk squad that featured B-MAC, Releford, and EJ in the backcourt. Tharpe was better at getting in the paint and creating for himself than anyone.

With that said, I may be wrong, but I fully expect Wiggins and Selden to be better slashers and also decent outside shooters which is an upgrade from last year's squad.

I think as the article describes and as Self states....Tharpe's duties are going to be more important, but less stressful than last year because Tharpe's job ultimately becomes a little easier with all the better talent surrounding him.

Joe Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

I loved the kick to Naa and the drain. I love how they can push inside and then opt back outside and drain an open trey for a finish. This is going to be huge. Naa responded well.

Alex Peekeaton 8 years, 11 months ago

Julius Randle – Fr, 6’9, 250lbs., Rivals #2, ESPN #3

Scouting Report - Randle has the NBA body already. In high school, it looks like a man playing amongst boys. He stands at 6″9 and 250 pounds of pure muscle and he knows how to use his body to his advantage which is a good thing as he will be expected to play a lot of power forward in college. On the offensive end, Randle is highly skilled and extremely versatile. He is comfortable creating his own shot with the ball in his hands. For his size and length, his hand-eye coordination is extremely impressive and definitely above average. Using his dribble, he is able to get to the rim where he finishes at an elite level or take a shot off the dribble which he can also do really well. Not only is he dangerous with his dribbling, he has shown great range from beyond the arc which really forces his defenders to guard him everywhere once the ball crosses the half court. The ability to step out and hit the college three opens up his entire game because he is able to give himself some room to use his dribble. It will also be really important in college because it will allow his teammates a lot more room to run sets on the court.

Not only is Randle highly skilled, he has a great work ethic and a really high motor. He is a gym rat that is always willing to learn and has shown to be extremely coachable. He also has a built in basketball advantage in the fact that he is left handed and that messes with defender’s minds. The defensive instinct is always to guard someone as if they were right handed and that is something players will have to adjust to with Randle.

Kenny “Sky” Walker - Randle is UK's most gifted freshman in terms of skill and jaw-dropping athleticism since Shawn Kemp (1988).

Jay Bilas - “Julius can be one of the top players in the country this year. He’s going to be one of the top draft picks when he comes out. He has a maturity level in his body and how he plays; I think he’s got a little Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in him with how hard he goes after it and how hard he competes. When he puts on the floor with one dribble, nobody could stop him. He’s so powerful.”

Demarcus Cousins (a tweet after playing pickup with JR this summer) – “A lotta talent on this year's team. Julius Randle is a beast!!”

Alex Peekeaton 8 years, 11 months ago


Paul Biancardi – “Randle is the most physically imposing player in the class. He makes play rebounding and scoring based on his physical nature, incredible strength and size and power. He is just so, so powerful. He can score inside. He demands double teams when he catches the ball inside 15 feet. He can be relentless on the glass because he is so strong and athletic. He lives at the foul line, but he can also handle the ball away from the basket. Sometimes he tries to do too much, but he is a flat-out finisher and great player.”

Seth Greenberg – “"JR is as physical a specimen he has seen since Lebron James" with his size (250 and cut) speed, athletic ability and handles. He is going to be unstoppable on the offense glass and he has a good midrange game. His motor is unbelievable and can get to the rim in two or three dribbles regardless who's guarding him.”

Backup: Marcus Lee, FR, 6’9, 215lbs, ESPN #25, Rivals #19, McDonalds AA

Received a number of Division 1 volleyball scholarships. Marcus is known for his high flying dunks and his monster blocks. Lee is also a great volleyball player which showcases his skill as a leaper. He can get off of the floor quickly and erase any shots around the rim. His athleticism and length made him one of the most coveted big men in the country. Lee's strengths lie in his defensive prowess and his ability to run the court. His height and his wing-span cover a lot of ground and will force smaller, driving offensive players to dish it off or face a possible blocked shot.

John Calipari - “"Marcus Lee is a long, agile, quick-bounce, quick-twitch, (6-10) forward. He gets to the basket, he's a terrific shot-blocker and he can rebound above the rim. Marcus has unlimited upside because he's going to get stronger and he's going to improve his skill around the basket. His speed, quickness, jumping ability and length set him apart."

Mick Allen 8 years, 11 months ago

Unsure what you meant when you stated Black will be backing up Perry this year. He won't be his back up because he will start at the 5. I was pleasantly surprised by his back to the basket moves, i.e. the jump hook with either hand.

Joe Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

Wow- You really believe Perry is that unable to defend Randle? Wow, wow, wow...I think Perry can hold his own. Will he stop Randle? Ask Embiid, because Embiid took Randle to school during the McDs AA game. But, it was much like Late Night. Those games don't mean much, do they? I think if Embiid can hold his own against Randle, Perry will be fine.

Alex Peekeaton 8 years, 11 months ago

Truehawk93...first of all, Embiid didn't play in the McDs AA game. Embiid played in the Jordan Brand Classic and he was matched up against Randle. Embiid fouled out of the game trying to guard Randle - he didn't have much of a chance. Julius Randle was the MVP of the game!!! I have no idea what game you were watching - you might want to watch the replay on youtube.

Alex Peekeaton 8 years, 11 months ago

I completely agree with your analysis. Can you believe Randle never lifted weights until he arrived in Lexington? His only workout in the past consisted of pushups (aka Herschel Walker without the situps). I know Ellis has improved physically over the off season, but is he big enough now to play PF against the elite teams? I think he is listed at 225 lbs (Both teams starting SGs are around that weight; Harrison - 219lbs. & Seldon weighs more at 230lbs.) An interesting poll for the fans of both teams would be (before Randle & Wiggins committed): Would you rather have Randle at your PF and Ellis/Poythress at your SF, or Ellis/Poythress at your PF and Wiggins at your SF?

AsadZ 8 years, 11 months ago

can you re-post your analysis on the 3 spot.

jayhawk_007 8 years, 11 months ago

Nadir will be excellent as an offensive PG and playmaker. He will be challenged on the D end and will need help from Mason and Seldon at the point. Frankcamp will redshirt and be the point guard in a couple of years.

jayhawk_007 8 years, 11 months ago

Concerning KU BB, here’s why another Big 12 title, 30 + wins and a final four are going to happen this year: • Depth – fouls and injuries will not slow them down • Talent – pure athleticism is better than any KU team, maybe ever • Chemistry – no divas or egos, they like each other already • Defense – they will get better defensively quicker than offensively • Swagger – they now are expected to win and the players believe it

Joe Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

They need to develop an early "kill" mentality and put teams away. I hated past teams that would get a lead only to lose it. I hope they can get a lead and finish strong without giving other teams a chance or hope.

Ryan Houston 8 years, 11 months ago

I think you wont have to worry about that as much this year. Since we can play so many players. With this depth, if you get tried, or sloppy. BS will sub you out. No hesitation. Which will really motivate the players to play balls to the wall. If they want to keep decent PT that is.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 11 months ago

I disagree with this thinking, but I respect the post. EJ, Tharpe, and B-MAC had almost zero ability to take people off the dribble and get to the rim. Because of this and KU's actually better than normal shooting percentage from 3 point land last year.....

defenses started not helping when KU guards tried to get in the paint. Defenses stayed more on the perimeter out by the 3 point arc preparing for kick out passes all day long.

I think if Selden and Wiggins can establish a perimeter and slashing game....It's going to make things easier for Tharpe over the long run. Just my .02 but good post. :)

jaybate 8 years, 11 months ago

"Late Night Defenselessness or Not Knowing What You Don't Know"

Part 1

OADs or not, there is more to basketball than athleticism and "talent."

And not all young teams are created equal in the intangibles and fundamentals of the game.

Some young teams are composed of players with high seriousness and ferocious competitiveness. Some young teams have a few seasoned veterans with enough force of personality and level of talent to impress upon the newbies that young, or not, this is how things have to be done. You load up your lunch pale, or your iPod, you roll up your warm-ups and you go to work with an eye to being a craftsman, or a professional, even though you are not at that level of polish yet. You get it.

Other young teams are composed of players that lack the above.

I tried to tell board rats after the scrimmage that the defense just wasn't there; that its absence was not just "normal" for this time of year; that it signaled a basic lack of comprehension on the part of the players about what Self Defense--about the ethic of Self Defense--about the manly part of it. That was AAU ball out there, not even UK's version of AAU ball, and certainly no where close to even rudimentary Self Defense.

In a scrimmage like that you are not looking for green wood to show maximum aggression and polished help and hedge defense, but you must see the fundamentals of defense being applied. Guys have to slide. They have to stay in front of their men, when opponent 's got the ball. They have to maintain proper pressure defense position off the ball. They have to turn and burn when blown by. They have to get after their man. They have to run to get back to play defense. They have to at least get that they are supposed to take some pride in their defense, even if they don't know much about the fine points of how to play good defense.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 11 months ago

'I tried to tell board rats after the scrimmage that the defense just wasn't there; that its absence was not just "normal" for this time of year;'

Neither was Late Night, about two weeks earlier than normal and only a one-week boot camp. Everything you said is correct but there is still enough time before for us to start playing defense like past HCBS teams.

jaybate 8 years, 11 months ago

Part 2

The fundies just were not being applied by any of the freshman. Among the upper classmen, Black played some. The returning guys played some, but not consistently. Black and the returnees finally just seemed to join in the "fun" and go AAU, too.

What this means is that the returning players and Black are not influential enough to set a standard of play and make it stick among the freshmen. The freshman are for now, anyway, the gravitational center of the team. And the freshmen don't apparently know diddledy spit about defense, and apparently don't know they don't know.

I dont' care what anybody else says about Late Night just being a scrimmage for show, guys that don't even get down and stay with their man, and then enjoy themselves abundantly, lack insight. Lacking insight means you don't know what you don't know. When you are told what you are not doing and what you need to do to do it right, if you lack insight you really don't know how to give the coach what he wants.

And, unfortunately, insight is a hard thing to teach. Learning insight is a long, slow process. It can take years of quick hooks. But this team does not have "years." It has "year."

Self's experienced teams ooze insight. Though his experienced teams have often eventually been outmatched by talent, or XTReme conditioning, or by some decisive match-up, tey almost never crack, because they almost always get what is going on, get how you have to play to win, how most other teams can be cracked with enough pressure, enough relentlessness, enough searching for the weakness on defense, and on offense, until the defense triggers offense.

jaybate 8 years, 11 months ago

Part 3

Right now, the biggest crisis this team faces is its green wood discovering what it doesn't know it doesn't know. It doesn't know it doesn't know about Self Defense. Playing AAU ball and loving each other may have landed Kelly Oubre. It may land some other OADs. And maybe that is exactly why Self sent them out there that way. They were infectiously fun to watch, because they were all having SO MUCH FUN!

Perry was the only one that seemed to understand the gravity of the situation; that seasons are sensitively dependent on initial conditions; that taking things in at least a business like way from the start gets the emergent complexity cascading in one's favor, rather than pushing one up shizz crick with a tooth pick for a paddle.

Self players are always supposed to be able to do both. They are always supposed to have swagger and fun, while also taking care of business. They are supposed to be in skits and then go out and guard. They are supposed to be articulate in interviews and coldly calculating assassins on the floor. None of the freshman, save maybe Selden, were capable of both. Warning. Warning. Danger. Danger. We truly and most definitely are NOT looking at one of Self's typical team; this team is different...totally different in its make-up.

All of the above is IMHO terrible news for this incredibly talentened young team. It suggests Perry, Tharpe, Traylor, Lucas and Black, who all at least grasped the importance of things, are already unable to set standards and make them stick.

It means the freshman have no clue about how the game has to be played in terms of Self Defense, and in a broader sense, in Self Ball. They do not yet grasp the tenacity of commitment to sustained, serious focus Self teams have relied on to do their often seemingly impossible accomplishments.

Are we to expect some fall off in this regard due to youth and the number of guys that will only be around one year? Yes. We have seen some of this with UK's young teams early. But until last season, UK's young teams made up for what they lacked in know how and and insight about standards with XTReme Intensity. Anthony Davis set the tone for their great team. He may not always have known exactly what he was doing, but he was from the beginning of the season an absolute fanatic about intensity. He was doing it as hard as he possibly could. In that respect, though I hate giving any credit to UK for anything until they start doing it the right way, Anthony Davis was almost a contemporary Bill Russell. HE PLAYED HARD FROM THE BEGINING. When he jumped he jumped as high as he could. When he ran, he ran as fast as he could. When he played to his strengths he played to them as strongly as he could.

jaybate 8 years, 11 months ago

I will second that emotion. I forecasted a 6-8 loss season late last summer and again recently. Given how far they have to go defensively, they could lose 10 even without injuries. But once they get it they could run the table and take everyone down in March. The prospect is there. It is a great bunch of players, and if everyone will resist the panic button and resist the temptation to say they are failing, then this team has the kind of players with the kind of character needed. B

That said, Self has an interesting challenge, how do you build a team around the least talented guy on the floor, but who probably has exactly the kind of character and skills needed to glue the team together. And how does he fit Mr. Silent, Perry, into being the guy that is the foreman that makes three guys--Wiggins, Selden, and Embiid--that he may not be able to score on in practice, fall in and follow his lead on toughness and intensity.

Just between you and me, Slayr, after ruminating a bit more, I think Self may be pulling yet another of his masterful indirection moves regarding chemistry.

I believe Self has probably recognized the same problem I have just described probably from the minute he finished signing the freshman and Tarik.

I believe Self is lining up everyone around Perry without saying that is what he is doing. I believe all the emphasis on Naa's role, which is really just mastering the obvious about what Naa will be expected to do, is making everything indirectly be about creating a vacuum at the center of the team that Perry has to decide to fill by force of will.

Right now, already, Tarik can play his role, Naa can play his, Selden and Wigs can play their roles as impact wings, but that leaves a great big hole in the middle of the donut. Someone has to be the bulwark of the team, the guy who makes everyone better, the guy who goes and fixes things. The team needs a Brandon Rush--a quiet man who simply goes and does whatever Self needs--a man who becomes the guy all the scoring and all the defense revolves around. Selden and Wiggins can be spectacular scorers, just as Mario Chalmers was. Selden and Wiggins can become exceptionally gifted in all aspects of the game, as the guys became around Rush. But at the center of the legendary '08 KC Kool Jazz Quintet was Brandon Rush, the man that held MUA most games.

Recall that Rushes last season Self crafted a donut with a hole to be filled by Rush once he rehabbed his knee sufficiently to play. Yes, they spread the scoring around, yes, Mario sometimes made bigger impact players, but at the center of that team was the quiet, sleepy Brandon Rush. Can't control someone on the perimeter. Send Brandon. Need some scoring outside. Send Brandon. Need some scoring at the rim. Lob to Brandon. Need help on troublesome big. Send Brandon. Some guard is heating up? Send Brandon. Brandon was as dependable as the sun coming up. He was the Swiss Army knife of Shooting Forwards.

jaybate 8 years, 11 months ago

I think Self knows he needs a Swiss Army knife on this team. I think Self knows Selden and Wiggins can create highlights till the cows come home. I think he knows that Tarick can control the lower blocks by himself. I think Self knows Naa can get it done both ends now. I think he is lining up all these guys in a circle and he is letting it slowly creep into Perry's mind that Perry is the daddy even though he doesn't feel like one. I think after a couple of losses, or close games, when the team seems to lack a bulwark type, a hub for all the spokes, Perry is going to look around matter of factly and say, I guess I gotta do it. I guess there is no other choice. I guess if I don't do it, you know nobody else will.

There is likely a high noon moment in Perry's future. There is likely to be some team no one thinks KU can beat. Some team where all the super talents suddenly come up against opponents that athleticism won't overcome, because of the referees, or something. Its probably going to come up when some other guys are slumping, and the bad guys are due in at the train straiten any minute. And everyone looks around and says, "I hope someone else takes care of this for us." It will come after the towns people have thrown their fickle love onto Selden and Wiggins and have been kind of saying Perry is a third wheel. It will come when Perry has probably been in a slump himself. A Will Cain kind of moment. A moment when no one is sure that Perry can handle it and no one is really feeling froggy about jumping either. A time when Perry's girl friend is not sure she likes him as much as she did and is tired of him having to put her second after basketball. A time when I, jaybate, begin singing, "Do not forsake me oh, my darlin'..."

And the clock in Allen Field House is ticking down. And the season hangs in the balance in late February. And Perry has to go it all alone. Wiggins is fouled up. Selden is having an off night. Tarick is being kind of hand cuffed.

"Do not foresake me oh my darlin'..."

And the whistle blows and Selden gets a fifth foul.

"Do not foresake me oh my darlin'...."

And Perry's got to walk down the middle of the court alone after a huddle when Self pulls him aside and says, "Its all on you, Perry, believe."

jaybate 8 years, 11 months ago

And Perry has to basically put the team and all of Jayhawk nation on his back, even though they have been loving on Selden and Wiggins.

"Do not foresake me oh my darlin..."

And Perry's gal comes to the game after saying she wouldn't come, saying she didn't ever want to speak to him agains, and she comes walking into the arena and stands down near the baseline where he has to do his duty.

"Do not foresake me oh my darlin'..."

Do not forsake me, oh my darling

On this our wedding day

Do not forsake me, oh my darling

Wait, wait along

I do not know what fate awaits me

I only know I must be brave

For I must face a man who hates me

Or die a coward, a craven coward

Or die a coward in my grave

Oh, to be torn twixt love and duty

Supposin' I love my fair haired beauty

Look at that big hand movin' round

Nearin' high noon

He made a vow while in state prison

Said it would be my life or hisn'

I'm not afraid to die but oh

What will I do if you leave me?

Do not forsake me, oh my darling

You make that promise as a bride

Do not forsake me, oh my darling

Although you're grievin', don't think of leavin'

Not while I need you by my side

Wait along, wait along

Wait along, wait along"

It could be a game against Kentucky--against Randle. The game you have been foreshadowing, slayr.

And Perry straps on his guns and starts blazing and dunking away and steals victory from the jaws of defeat and when the buzzer sounds, and the crowd goes wild, Perry finds his Grace Kelly, wraps an arm around her, and looks at the crowd knowing that sometimes the crowd is fickle, sometimes a man just has to do what a man has got to do, sometimes a hero is not appreciated, or recognized, until...

High Noon.

Go Perry, Go!!!

jaybate 8 years, 11 months ago

Part 4

Last year's UK team in contrast, never really played with enough intensity to offset their lack of experienced toughness.

So: last year's UK team proves that lack of seriousness of purpose and lack of intensity are cancers that can easily metastasize on very young teams loaded with vast athleticism and talent.

Self and his players have to view and respond to this issue with earnest commitment. Sherron is a good MO-FO to have around this team. Sherron might lack insight about Big Macs, but Sherron seemed to come down the birth canal with his sleeves rolled up and ready to take care of business. Sherron actually seemed older in this regard as a freshman than did some of the seniors on the great teams he played on his freshman and sophomore years. And that was saying something because that team was by then loaded with some insightful, tough, upper class MO-FOs.

To try to see the glass at least a third full for a moment, I suppose much of the above simply means that Self has worked incredibly hard at teaching offense and at building a sense of team and mixing up good chemistry in terms of loving and sharing. Good. My heart is all moist about that. Those things are important in a long season for any team, but especially for this young of a team.

But I am inclined to infer that these virtues have come at the expense of the older guys setting standards that have to be met to be admitted into the core of pride and self respect that Self teams must have in order to do more with less, in order to be mentally tougher than the opponents, and in order to muddle through on the 1/3 awful games that Self teams traditionally find a way to grind it out a win in.

Grinding it out involves taking pride in what you can control--defensive effort and tenacity--when the shots aren't falling, and you don't have any rhythm, when injuries are hampering your best players, and when people are sick, or depressed, or suffering losses of loved ones.

jaybate 8 years, 11 months ago

Part 5

Grinding it out sooner or later involves finding a way to beat teams with more talent at certain positions, maybe even all positions, when other teams would just give up and take their beatings.

There is, I believe, one key driver to Self's incredible winning percentage. His guys win more of the time on the bad nights. His teams find ways to win, when they shoot less than 20% from trey, or 40% from the FT line, or when the point guard has only one working knee and looks like your grandmother's beadspread below the waist, or a fireplug point guard loses his explosiveness the last two years of his starting career, or when a future draft choice has to play on a rehabbing knee till mid January, or the team slips into a deep funk that might break most teams, but Self's teams find a way out after only a 3-4 games.

Self, Naadir and Perry are really going to have to start cracking the whip. They are going to have to have a fateful conversation with the freshmen very shortly. Its going to have to go something like this:

"You young guys may be OADs, and you may be gone after this season, and you definitely have more talent than we have, but from here on out, you ain't shizz to us until you man-up and take care of business. We will play without you if we have to. We have set OADs before that didn't get it. Self is going to start sitting you more and more if you don't wake up. We're here to win. We are here to win any way we can. We think we can win more with you, IF YOU EVER GET IT, than without you. We have already been where we are going. You haven't been there yet. And we're going there with, or without you. So: get serious--get ready for prime time. Self is a player's coach. The best performers play. You gotta earn his trust. You gotta earn our trust. Now start earning it, or we're not passing you the goddamned ball."

But the scariest part of the scrimmage for me was that Self has apparently been concentrating on the offense and in the scrimmage it appeared there was none, unless Self has hatched up a new AAU offense.

Ah, but I will stop pinching my own hemorrhoids.

Self is a genius. He will find a way inside their brain cases. He always does.

But IMHO this most talented team is far, far and away his greatest challenge just to get it to play decently.

jaybate 8 years, 11 months ago

Part 6

Post Scripted Memo to Self about Tharpe: When Self said "“I need Naadir to be our most valuable player,” Self focused board rats' attentions on his offensive performance. But I would like to add that Naa has to be an excellent defender to be that MVP. Naa has got to guard hard and effectively. If he cracks on defense, this team absolutely lacks a pret a porter Jeff Withey to swat away mistakes for 30 minutes a game. Naa's defense is really the only thing that matters with Naa. We already know he can dribble decently and pass it around. We already know that even if he can't get in the paint regularly, we have guys on both wings that can. And though Wigs would be vastly harder to guard if Naa became a credible trey shooter, what we need most from him is to be able to make 80-90 % of his FTs to keep the defense off him down the stretches of both halves. But even if he slumps some at the line, and throws bricks from 3, we can get buy if he can guard. Guard, guard, guard, has to be Naa's mantra. If Naa can guard, the crazy length of the rest of the team can be taught to guard by seasons end and a tenacious team defense--maybe Self's best yet if defensive insight can be gleaned in a single season--will trigger all the offense KU needs. It will be a recipe very near UK's great team two years ago. If Naa can just defend the point even up, the crazy length everywhere else can strangle an offense...if the newbies get the insight thing cooking.

wrwlumpy 8 years, 11 months ago

Best free throw shooter on the team last year.

hawkmoon2020 8 years, 11 months ago

Oubre (SG/SF) is undoubtedly a great get, and adding Alexander (PF) would be even greater. However, while I would be estatic with just those two committing, I struggle with our quest for a C and PG out of this '14 class. With NT, FM and CF returning, I think pursuing a '15 PG is more important. If Embiid returns, we will have JE, HM and LL at Center, and thus a '15 C pursuit would be more important. Especially if Zimmerman (C) is available and interested. As always though, I trust Coach Self to be the "Head Chef" when gathering the right ingredients for a NC caliber team, and know we will be fine no matter what.

Joe Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

I think we get Alexander. I'd like to get Okafor or Turner. Both would be nice, but it will depend on Embiid. Oubre is replacing Wigs, Okafor could replace Black, and Turner could replace Embiid. I'm not sure what Selden will do at this point. He seems to be a consistent candidate for OAD.

Ryan Houston 8 years, 11 months ago

Far over the NCAA Mountains cold To threes deep and players old We must away ere break of day, To find our long-forgotten gold

texashawk10 8 years, 11 months ago

Some of those Kentucky fans are beyond delusional.

Alex Peekeaton 8 years, 11 months ago

The article you are referring to has nothing to do with what Kentucky fans think of Bill Self - the entire article is about the comments from Oubre's father that Calipari "kicks you out if you are not ready" which is plain stupid. Have you heard of Terrance Jones, Doron Lamb, Alex Poythress, and Willie Cauley-Stein? These are all players who returned to Kentucky for a 2nd season. Calipari has publicly discussed what he does for each of his players who are potential OADs - calls his contacts/scouts in NBA for draft position and goes through the players game (in particular his weaknesses) and how his game will be at the next level. Based upon that information, it's the players decision and Cal supports that decision. If Oubre's father knows of one instance where Cal pushed someone to the NBA, then he should name him. Maybe he should ask Self what happened to Zach Peters?

Alex Peekeaton 8 years, 11 months ago

If you read his quote and considering the two teams left were UK and KU, then he is referring to UK when he makes this baseless comment...“That’s one of the reasons behind choosing Kansas. Coach Self doesn’t kick you out if you are not ready." Here is what Mike DeCourcy from The Sporting News had to say about his comments:

"Kentucky players themselves are the ones who make the decisions on whether or not they’re ready to enter the NBA Draft. If Calipari booted everyone after a year, would Alex Poythress have returned this season? Or what about Terrence Jones, who himself came back for a second season before becoming the No. 18 pick in the 2012 draft? And what about 2014 Wildcats recruit Tyler Ulis, a point guard who may stay four seasons in Kentucky (at least if he’s not recruited over)?

On top of that, Calipari himself has said he’s not a fan of the one-and-done rule, and is hoping to use his position as a new NABC board member to change it.

Oubre Sr. said it’s possible that his son plays more than one year of college basketball, and that’s great for Kansas. But it’s hard to see where he wouldn’t have had that opportunity at Kentucky if he wanted it."

Karen Holmes 8 years, 11 months ago

Can't believe that the LJWord is changing its commenting to Facebook. Don't do Facebook so this will be my last post. I will still read but am really disappointed that even with a real name I won't be able to do it without a Facebook account.

REHawk 8 years, 11 months ago

A very disturbing announcement by LJW. If I understand the new policy correctly, this is a peremptory change, to be in place after midnight. Sadly, this is probably my last post on the site. Has been a dandy run for my compulsive postings the past couple of years. I will still read articles and posts on the site, but will miss dialogues with jaybate, HEM, ralster, slayr, konky dong, nuleaf, lumpy and a host of other fine posters. Am hoping to locate another posting site whose format is similar to the way LJW has been. Hoping to locate some of you on such a site, somewhere/sometime down the pike. Thanks lots, jb, for the avatar. Your stuff reigns supreme. Sayonara....

DanR 8 years, 11 months ago

Well, this was a good farewell thread: a six-parter by Jaybate, a little fun jousting with a decent kentucky fan, and great points by all the regulars--on a fluff article no less... and discourse more civil than anything on the internet.

I don't think the LJW bean counters/lawyers/management have a clue what the commenting ability meant to KU sports fans--especially those outside the local area who crave a little friendly KU fix.

Good luck all and Rock Chalk

DanR 8 years, 11 months ago

JB, I'll be chuckling about green wood all season. Didn't always agree with everything you posted, but thanks!

Woody Cragg 8 years, 11 months ago

Hopefully we do have a quality backup when Naa needs a blow, has foul trouble, or heaven forbid, has an injury. Having no experienced back up at the point could potentially become a very significant issue.

Michael Luby 8 years, 11 months ago

Even though I have a Facebook account, Im solidly against linking this site to it. Its tragic.

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