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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Manning could provide KU valuable minutes

Evan Manning

Evan Manning

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Conner Teahan, Christian Moody, Justin Wesley and Stephen Vinson have been four walk-ons to play meaningful minutes at Kansas University in the Bill Self era.

It’s not guaranteed, but definitely possible Evan Manning will be the next non-scholarship player in line to help the team during the meat of the game.

“Evan has had a good week of practice. I mean, our team looks better with Evan in the game,” KU coach Self said of the junior point guard out of Free State High and New Hampton Prep School who has been running with the second team all week in preparation for today’s 2 p.m. game against Lafayette (7-2) in Allen Fieldhouse.

No. 10-ranked KU (8-1) is thin at point guard, with Devonté Graham out a month because of a severely sprained toe and Conner Frankamp’s decision to transfer.

“More of an emergency spot-minute guy,” Self said of the role he envisions for the 6-foot-3 Manning. “I’m not being negative at all, but if Evan can give Frank (Mason III) a couple minutes a half, and he may not have to if Wayne (Selden, Jr., combo guard) is not in foul trouble.

“We’ll probably see fewer minutes with Wayne and Frank in there together, maybe two to five a half, which will allow maybe Wayne to be fresh when Frank is not in.

“I see Evan as being a guy we can go to depending on the situation probably determining if we do or not,” Self added. “It could be we could go with a Svi (Mykhailiuk) or go with somebody else if we are not playing with a point guard. If we can run our true ball-screen mode, I think it’d be a lot easier to play without a true point guard.”

Mykhailiuk, a 6-8 freshman wing, played some point for Ukraine’s junior national team.

“Yes, I can (play point),” said the sharpshooter, who revealed Friday he has spent hours in the gym on his own first semester firing between 500 to 1,000 shots an evening.

“Sometimes my coach (in Ukraine) needed a point guard, so I was playing point guard.”

Svi likes what he’s seen out of Manning.

“He can do easy plays. He’s not going to do something special that nobody can do. It’s easy to play with him,” Mykhailiuk said.

Sophomore forward Landen Lucas said Manning has stood out at practice this week.

“Evan has stepped up on that second-group team and done a great job moving the ball and running the team,” Lucas said. “It’s been nice to have him fill in. He’s a coach’s son. He understands what’s going on and knows all the plays. When he comes in and plays with us, he does a good job making sure we’re still getting better. I think he’s ready to come into a game if he’s called on.”

Lucas, who has started the past seven games, will come off the bench today, as freshman Cliff Alexander will make his first start, Self said.

It could be good timing, since Alexander and Lucas have spent the week watching film of past KU bigs like Markieff Morris and Cole Aldrich. Other starters today will be Brannen Greene, Mason, Selden and Perry Ellis.

“I fight a lot in the post to try to get angles. They (Morris, Aldrich) let the defense position themselves, and they’d take advantage of where they went,” Lucas said. “When they got the ball it was quick moves to a jump hook or whatever they were doing. It didn’t take much time to get to the shot. For most of the bigs who come through here, they’ve scored very easily. Watching that was eye-opening.”

Of showing the players tape of former bigs, Self said: “The guys they can probably relate to as well as anybody are Thomas (Robinson) and Markieff, probably Markieff more than anybody else.

“Markieff was really smart at how to utilize his body and basically score before he catches. We have to do a better job with that. Coach (Norm) Roberts has shown them tape. We’ve had a good week of practice.”

Know the foe: Lafayette, a school of 2,400 students located in Easton, Pennsylvania, enters on a four-game win streak.

The Leopards, who are led by 20th-year coach Fred O’Hanlon (276-297), were picked preseason No. 4 in the 10-team Patriot League behind American, Army and Holy Cross. The Leopards average 79 points a game off 50.6 percent shooting, including 42.4 percent from three-point range. Lafayette averages 8.1 three-pointers, 16.6 assists and 7.2 steals per game.

“Their record is good. They shoot a great percentage beyond the arc. They have four starters who can stretch it and play around a good post guy. They’ve got a nice team,” Self said.

Senior forward Dan Trist averages a team-leading 17.0 points and 6.0 boards. Senior guard Seth Hinrichs averages 12.6 ppg and 4.7 rpg. Senior guard Joey Ptasinski (12.0 ppg) has made a team-best 29 three-pointers and has 16 steals.

Lafayette has lost at West Virginia (83-66) and at Yale (82-60) while defeating Robert Morris, Princeton, Penn, Farleigh Dickinson, Wagner, Sacred Heart and Susquehanna. This is the first meeting between the two schools.

The Jayhawks are 8-2 all-time against current membership of the Patriot League and have played eight of the 10 members. The two schools the Jayhawks have not faced are Army and Navy. The last KU contest versus a Patriot League member was on Dec. 29, 2012, an 89-57 KU win versus American in Allen Fieldhouse.

This that: Self said Hunter Mickelson and Kelly Oubre Jr., have had a great week of practice. Self said 6-10 Arkansas transfer Mickelson has been shooting well. Of freshman wing Oubre, Self said: “The light is starting to come on for him. When it comes on it’s going to stay on. He’s going to do great. The last two games have given him some confidence.” ... Of KU’s style of play with Graham out, Self said: “It won’t change what we do. It’ll certainly maybe keep us from doing some things as well as what we could potentially be doing. Then again, you could say if we’ve got Svi and Brannen in at the same time, we have a lot of shooting, too. We have enough options. I think we can tinker around and find something that’s working that night, at least most nights. It is probably a bit different than what I had envisioned (before season), but that doesn’t mean it’s worse, it’s just different. We’ll probably be more a shoot-off-the-catch team than a penetrate-and-pitch-type team.”

Comments

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 9 months ago

I think we could see Evan get 8-10 minutes against Lafayette because KU should have a comfortable enough lead to do so. Evan should also be able to see some decent minutes against Kent St. Temple and UNLV are a couple of games he may not get to play at all or very limited minutes. His minutes will probably be pretty limited (less than 5 minutes) once conference play starts.

Mike Riches 7 years, 9 months ago

"We’ll probably see fewer minutes with Wayne and Frank in there together, maybe two to five a half, which will allow maybe Wayne to be fresh when Frank is not in."

What? So assuming Frank gets 17 minutes a half (which is what he averaged in the five games before Graham went out), and Selden plays the 3 he is out, and 2-5 together...you're telling me Wayne's only getting 5-8 minutes a half??

John Strayer 7 years, 9 months ago

Agreed...that paragraph doesn't read very well...so because KU is down in point guard options, then a wing player plays less?? Weird.

Michael Gentemann 7 years, 9 months ago

I read it as Self saying they are going to play together 2-5 minutes less per half, not total per half

Greg Lux 7 years, 9 months ago

Teams like Lafayette "Can" be danger games. Never assume we will have a comfortable lead against a team that shoots almost 50% from the 3. I wouldn't be surprised if we have a good lead at the half but I also have been around long enough to have seen so called "easy games" turn into bad losses. I expect us to win but I never assume we will before the end.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 9 months ago

Selden plays point when Mason is out, and Selden gets his sit time when Mason is in, which if Selden is playing point when Mason is out, would happen anyway. I don't think Self is saying anything we don't already know.

It also follows with what Self said about Manning -- "emergency" only. Heck, Self couldn't put Manning in last week -- remember his statement: “But when we’re playing well, don’t sub; playing badly you can’t put him in that situation." So he talked himself out of playing Manning just that easily.

"Emergency" is really foul trouble or injury. The good news is that Mason has the lowest foul rate per minute of the 10 players that have played substantial minutes.

I'm glad to see Svi's name now mentioned. He's a better passer than Selden, is a better at penetrating as a point guard might (Svi's a little slipperier/Selden more point A to point B), and Svi seems to see the floor better. Self had said last week "We’ve got to have a ball-mover back there” -- Svi might be our best ball mover.

For my money, I'd rather give Svi the minutes that might otherwise go to Evan Manning just to see.

The issue is always ball handling -- that's where we're deficient w/o Mason or Graham. I have no idea how Manning would stack up in a high pressure game, or if he could deliver the ball under pressure. Last season, Selden struggled with both. Don't know how Svi stacks up in that situation yet, either.

I'd suspect that another team's game plan might include an attempt to get Mason in foul trouble, and then some high pressure. Remember how we struggled in Atlantis, and against Ok. St. last season? I can't imagine why an opposing team wouldn't try to get Mason out and then ratchet up the pressure.

Steve Kubler 7 years, 9 months ago

Once more the game is blacked out all over Kansas on espn3 the only option I have for watching (legally). I am getting so sick of this! I have gotten to watch 2 games all year and have tickets for a 3rd. I believe that is the last tickets I will ever buy as KU's money grubbing ways have basically made it impossible to watch them anymore unless you live in an area that televises JayhawkTV.

Why they choose to punish those of us that live in small towns across the state is hard to fathom. I paid out the rear for the best cable package I could get for the ability to watch espn3 and now find that not adequate. IF this is not fixed by next year to hell with them!

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