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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Self seeks offensive boost

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) gets to the bucket against Utah forward Jakob Poeltl (42) during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 at Sprint Center.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) gets to the bucket against Utah forward Jakob Poeltl (42) during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 at Sprint Center.

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Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self’s Christmas wish list for his players includes ...

“Our guys having confidence and understanding where our shots are coming from and that they are confident we can get good shots,” Self, KU’s 12th-year coach, said Tuesday, choosing improvement on the offensive end during a morning spot on KC-610 radio.

The Jayhawks have hit 41.4 percent of their shots while averaging 69.3 points in storming to an 8-1 record.

“Sometimes you run offense to run offense as opposed to running offense to score. The other thing,” Self added, “is I’d like to see us be more aggressive. I think we are passive in some ways as far as going after the ball. We’re not getting enough 50/50 balls, not creating extra possessions with our aggressiveness.”

He said the defense was definitely ahead of the offense heading into Saturday’s 2 p.m. home game against Lafayette.

“Gosh I hope so. We had nine points in 15 minutes (second half) the other day,” Self cracked. “I don’t consider us great on either end.”

KU has allowed 63.2 points a game off 40 percent shooting.

“I think coaching defense is much easier,” Self said, asked specifically about instructing players on both ends of the court. “Defense ... getting guys to buy in, playing a certain way, understanding how teams score and taking that away ... to me that’s a little bit easier than getting guys to put the ball in the basket, because regardless of what you run offensively, there’s still a skill involved to finishing the possession.

“Good coaches get teams to play on both ends. A lot of times good offensive teams lack the other or lose because they score so easy they don’t put as much emphasis on the defensive end. So if I had to pick one to be great at, I would say the defensive end gives you a better chance night in and out,” Self added.

As far as individual improvement ... one player on the upswing appears to be freshman wing Kelly Oubre, who scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds while playing 17 minutes in a 63-60 win over Utah on Saturday in Sprint Center. He had seven points and five boards in 16 minutes in last Wednesday’s 75-70 win at Georgetown.

“He’s doing well. He was one of the better performers in the last two games,” Self said of the 6-7, 200-pounder from New Orleans who averages 3.4 points and 2.2 boards. “He seems to be gaining confidence. He’s one of those guys who probably was laboring the most of our young kids. It’s hard to put a guy in games you’ve got to win, that are tight ballgames a lot of times when you are not real confident.

“I’m seeing the lid come off the basket for him. I’m seeing renewed energy. I’m seeing a different look in his face from a confidence standpoint. I think he’s becoming more and more comfortable. I think there’s some things going on with him real positive that will definitely enhance our team.”

Freshman wing Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has had two points in 15 minutes the last two contests.

“He’s going to be great. He’s so young,” Self said of the 17-year old from Ukraine who has averaged 4.8 points and 2.2 boards. “He’s not really had a coming-out party yet. That’s going to happen, kind of like Brannen (Greene, five threes) had against Georgetown. Svi’s going to have a game like that. It’ll be much easier moving forward when he sees some good things happen like that.

“He plays well in practice, wants to fit in too much, wants to please too much rather than just go do it sometimes. What a great kid and what a future he’s got.”

More on Graham: Self commented on how the loss of freshman point guard Devonté Graham for at least a month will affect the team. Graham suffered a severely sprained right big toe last Wednesday at Georgetown.

“Obviously we have to monitor Frank’s minutes,” he said of Frank Mason III. “We have to develop a backup point. It changes our team quite a bit. That was probably the deepest position we had, that and big wing. Now it’s the thinnest position we have basically in a span of a month. Creating more havoc defensively, pressing, picking up full court, that will not be done quite as much with certain situations because Frank will have to play 33, 35 minutes a game,” he added.

Comments

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 9 months ago

Of the over 350 D1 Men's BB Teams, ESPN statistics provides a baseline for us to watch a young inexperienced team develop into a Big 12 and National Championship contender.

POINTS PER GAME: 69.3 - 150th OVERALL

REBOUNDS PER GAME: 38.6 - 63rd OVERALL

ASSISTS PER GAME: 11.8 - 223rd OVERALL

FIELD GOAL PCT: .414 - 254th OVERALL

Oubre, Alexander and Mykailiuk are the men to give this team an offensive boost. These three guys along with the balance of the whole team are far too good/talented to continue playing so spotty on offense. The sky is the limit for this team.

Cameron Cederlind 7 years, 9 months ago

You forgot Turnovers per game: 13.2 - 257th overall

Joe Ross 7 years, 9 months ago

A lot of those turnovers come off of bad passes. We are atrocious in moving the ball. This is a problem TWICE. Not only because of turnovers off passes, but bad passing means our offense isnt running smoothly.

Dale Rogers 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't see points per game being all that relevant unless you include opponents' points per game.

Micky Baker 7 years, 9 months ago

Given that we're 8-1 and have the 5th strongest schedule in the country(compared to 40th for Kentucky) and have played poorly on offense at times says a lot about how high the ceiling is for this team. Kansas is currently 2nd in the RPI. If our offense get's going consistently, particularly with our bigs where we can get two guys in double digits every night and another 20 to 25 points off the bench (Traylor/Lucas/Oubre combination).

However, the starting five situation is probably going to remain somewhat fluid for a couple of more weeks. If Oubre keeps on improving, he could slide into the starting five in place of Green which would allow Green to focus more on what is best role for the team is right now, shooting the jump shot and improving on defense.

I think the mindset for this upcoming game is that KU should come out with intensity and blow them out of the building for a full 40 minutes. Win the game by scoring in triple digits and holding the opponent to under 60 points. Keep the pressure on and understand that it's not to show up the opponent, but to make a statement about our own team.

Get Hunter Mickelson some time in there to relieve some of the pressure off the bigs and get him ready to be a set of fresh legs heading into the conference schedule. We have enough talent to give Kentucky a scare later on. They've been given a scare by much lesser talented teams than us. We need to learn how to pass the ball around and punish teams who try to cheat a big in to try to get blocks. Get them out of position and just take it to the rim with authority. Our guys are often too soft near the rim. We've also demonstrated that we have some guys that can knock down the outside shots. Kick it out if there isn't anything there. We've got Selden, Green, Mason, Svi, and even Perry who can knock down the outside shots. Oubre can do that too. We need Traylor to use his width to play some physical type of ball on the inside and he can be very explosive when he get's the ball at the top of the lane in the high/low game. We can do a lot better than we are, but we have played the 5th toughest schedule in the country and are 8-1 playing as poorly as we have. We have no immediate ceiling.

Keith Gellar 7 years, 9 months ago

all I read in your comment was "5th toughest schedule"..we get it. lets not blow it out of proportion. all this SOS/RPI talk means jack in the tournament. the jayhawks priority should be getting a #1 or #2 seed. shelf all this SOS/RPI. this only comes into play when you want to rub it in the face of UK/Duke/Az fans or make your self feel good.

Marc Frey 7 years, 9 months ago

The SOS still is a good gage at where your team is now, and what competition it has faced going into the grueling Big 12 Conference schedule. You think TT or TCU with their patsy schedule is ready to come to the Phog?

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 9 months ago

If your concern is getting a top 2 seed, then KU having a high RPI is of interest to you because that's one of the biggest factors in how the selection committee seeds teams. SOS plays a big part in the RPI formula so you should care about that as well.

Last year's team should never have been a two seed because their resume wasn't that of a two seed. Because KU's SOS was so strong last year, it boosted KU's RPI high enough to get them on the two line.

Micky Baker 7 years, 9 months ago

If that's all you read in that comment, then try again and try harder to comprehend next time.

Glen Miller 7 years, 9 months ago

We had a top 5 SOS last year and got bounced in the 2nd round....... SOS is nice, but it does not insure success. Also, why even throw that jab at Kentucky in there? They thoroughly kicked our tails in, they proved they were far superior to our boys right now. I don't see the need to insert them in that sentence. Lets worry about Kansas University and let UK worry about UK.

Micky Baker 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure why anyone would assume that it means success. The only context that I stated it in is that we have the fifth toughest schedule and we're 8-1. Our RPI is number 2 as a result of that. I said nothing even remotely close to the NCAA tourney. I said that our ceiling is really high given that we've played so poorly on offense with the 5th toughest schedule in the country and are 8-1. I wish people wouldn't try to read things into it that aren't there.

Harlan Hobbs 7 years, 9 months ago

You are absolutely right, Aaron. KU was fortunate to get the #2 seed last year, and no doubt the SOS and RPI played a decisive role in that seeding. The fact that we lost in the 2nd (or 3rd round for the purists) is meaningless. We lost to a #10 seed in Stanford because we didn't have Joel Embiid, and Andrew Wiggins basically disappeared.

Had we been the #3 seed in the same region for example, we would have played Western Michigan in the first game, and assuming we had won that game, we would have played Dayton in the next game, who defeated Ohio State in their first game. Dayton went on to beat Syracuse in their 2nd game and then beat Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen. In short, if Syracuse couldn't beat Dayton in the 2nd game, I think it is doubtful that we would have beaten them given the way we played against Stanford.

Certainly, Dayton and Stanford were two totally different teams. Dayton ran more while Stanford was primarily a half court offense that had relatively long possessions on offense. Perhaps we would have matched up better with Dayton, but that is a stretch at best.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 9 months ago

KU didn't even deserve a 3 seed last year. They should've been a 4 seed and I'm not going to try and figure out what match ups KU would've had as a 4 seed.

Tom Jones 7 years, 9 months ago

Just stop, Aaron. KU without Embiid wasn't a two seed-strength team, but they factor things like that into the seeding process somewhere between very little and not at all (not to mention it wasn't clear how much time Joel was going to have to miss). Their resume, given the strength of their schedule (which DOES in fact, factor in....quite a bit, actually) and winning one of the nation's toughest conferences, made their seed entirely justified. They were not anywhere close to a four (ranked 7th overall by the committee). Sorry.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 9 months ago

There is no way today or in March do we ever beat KY or Duke. We might make it the final four if Bill's gets most everything on his wish list and the players improve like they could, should.

We have a chance on winning the conference title if Texas plays like Texas has in the past. If they play up to their talent in spite of their coaching, the best we can hope for is to tie for the Big 12 title.

The Fools' Gold is thinking that just because we are Kansas that means we will do anything more.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 9 months ago

I totally disagree. We have the talent to compete and beat UK. Mason and Selden are better than the Harrisons. Ellis should be able to match up well against any of their 4s. Alexander, once he gets it going, will be a load for Towns or W-C. Any of our 3s can dominate anyone UK puts on the floor.

If we play UK in April, we will win that game.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 9 months ago

Want to bet? Please! Lets talk, I would like to pay off my house. We won't lose by 32, but there is no way we win against KY or Duke. Absolutely no way. We just do not have the horses this season. You were doing so good too, no homer goggles in your posts, rationale, it was making sense too. Dang I thought you had turned a corner there.

We have no length, and no depth. They have 9 top flight talented players. We have 3. I am 17 months from having my house paid off... When I win I can start looking at boats for the summer.

Tom Jones 7 years, 9 months ago

We have no length? That may be the funniest thing I've read on this site.

No, wait...Chris Shaw saying Greene was our best ballhandling wing is still funnier.

Darwin Dandy 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree with Suzi. If we play to our potential then there isnt a team we cant compete with or beat but this team has to get better everyday from here on out. But lets start with the Big 12 first. I still feel like we are talking about arguably the best conference in the nation. RCJH KUCMB

Rodney Crain 7 years, 9 months ago

You know when anyone ends their post with RCJH it does not make your wishful post mean its true?

If we play to our potential all that means is we do not lose by 32, we lose by like 12. RCJH -- see it does not make my negative post believable to you.

Kit Duncan 7 years, 9 months ago

I also agree with Suzi. Two things: First, No question Kansas wasn't ready for Kentucky in their meeting. Second, Kentucky played six games over a week's time in Nassau back in August. So, UK had a three month jump in practice over KU. Did they practice that entire three months? No. But they did get to practice as a team before heading to the Bahamas and got to know and run, some of their playbook during that trip. They also got toughened up, though nearly running out of gas in the last game, before winning 63-62 over the Dominican Republic National Team on Aug 17.

Along with the prior playing time together, the UK players and coaches would also have been able to study film of their games against those previous opponents and work on improving their sets going into non-conference play. Also, in addition to the Bahamas trip, UK had a scrimmage, two exhibition games and two non-conference games leading up to the Kansas game. KU had two exhibition games and one non-conference game before playing Kentucky.

Like I said, KU wasn't ready.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 9 months ago

It was not just a question of being ready, we are not going to all grow 4 inches in 4 months, we are not going to improve enough to overcome 9 talented players. We will have 3, maybe 4 and they will be taller at every spot and twice as deep. Let me know when your rationale gene kicks in. There is no way at all we beat KY or Duke.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 9 months ago

Im not disagreeing with Suzi...nor am I as pessimistic as Rodney seems to be. This squad is hard to judge because of the youth, the height-challenged post guys making each game a study and experiment in matchups, and the knowledge that less than half of our offense is installed & reliable at this point. I do see a grittier, tougher team than last year's team.

What is worrisome is that with Embiid, we got man-handled by Texas last year. We managed to use a little Phog on them in the rematch along with a lot of BigTarik. But I think we have a tougher mindset this year, and this is a more team-oriented group. They learned (painfully) that you cannot go it 1-on-1 against a good team like KY. And I'm sure they're still smarting over such an epic beatdown--motivation for the entire season came from that game.

Sure, they'd like another crack at KY in April...but its obvious we got a lot of work to do before such a matchup.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 9 months ago

Suzi, while I really like Mason...and I think Selden is a steadier defender and more focused individual than the Harrison Twins, I've also seen the Harrisons' A-game (recall in the Madness, their absolute domination of WSU's guards, where they each dropped 20pts). They were very spotty and laccadaisical most of last season, as I saw several of KY's games. But they dedicated themselves to getting better ('improving their draft stock'), which is why they came back. So you could call them 'focused', too. They looked like future NBA players in last year's Final Four run by KY. I'd be wary of their A-game, and very likely you'll see less and less of their B game...

And speaking of Wayne Selden...love his attitude and work ethic, as does Self. I think Wayne with his court vision, has a bit higher potential maybe? A better, more level-headed version of Marcus Smart. And we can bet our jayhawk butts that NBA scouts took note of Selden's DWade impersonation with the NBA-style take-over-the-game against Florida. After I put my eyes back in my head and picked my jaw up, I realized Selden just showed his NBA potential for real for the first time this season. He had maybe 1 game like that last year.

On a sadder note: I watched the Thunder beat the Kings last night, and McLemore played alot, and looked very lackluster. No defense. Missed his 3pt attempts. Got stripped. He better get his skillset up, or it will be trade time...

Harlan Hobbs 7 years, 9 months ago

Sorry to give you a compliment, Aaron. My mistake.

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