Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Jayhawks’ Greene looking to regain shooting touch

Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) gets stopped by Iowa State's Matt Thomas (21) on Saturday March 14, 2015.

Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) gets stopped by Iowa State's Matt Thomas (21) on Saturday March 14, 2015.


It’s been more than three weeks since Kansas University sophomore Brannen Greene made more than one shot in a KU basketball game. And even in that game — a Feb. 23 loss at Kansas State — Greene knocked down a pair of two-pointers.

You have to go back another two weeks to find the last time Greene made more than one three-pointer — his signature shot — in a single game, and all of the talk about this many weeks and so few shots is the sure-fire sign that Greene has been in a slump.

He’s not hiding from it. Last weekend, after the KU sophomore knocked down his first three-pointer in five games in a victory over Baylor in the Big 12 Conference semifinals in Kansas City, Missouri, Greene expressed how good it felt to finally see the lid come off the basket.

He made another from three-point range the very next night and left Kansas City hoping that the mini-slump would be a thing of the past.

So what does a guy like Greene do when mired in such a frustrating stretch?

“It’s different,” he said. “When I’m shooting around by myself in the gym then I do pay attention to how I shot it, where my elbow was, did I get enough lift, things like that. Pregame, I just go out there and shoot the ball.

“The biggest thing is to not let your mind wonder, ‘How am I shooting it, is my elbow in, blah, blah, blah.’ The main thing is just to have confidence and let the ball go. Shoot the ball. Shoot the ball.”

Ah, yes. Keep shooting. That’s the unofficial slogan of shooters everywhere and one that guys like Greene might as well have tattooed on their bodies somewhere. The reason is simple. But it goes beyond just having the mental fortitude to keep firing away.

“It’s all about muscle memory,” Greene said. “And if you just keep shooting and stick to your shot, eventually good things are gonna happen if you’re a good shooter.”

Greene knows. His 41 percent three-point season clip (38-of-93) — even with the recent slump — is proof that he can shoot the ball. And his potential to put up points in a hurry on a particularly hot night remains one of the biggest advantages the Jayhawks could have if Greene gets right. His teammates know that, and many of them have gone out of their way to keep Greene’s head in a good place during his 4-of-28 struggle over KU’s past nine games, a stretch that followed a 17-of-24 sizzle in the seven games before it.

“Brannen is a great player,” said KU freshman Kelly Oubre Jr. “He’s one of the most skilled players I’ve ever played with or against. When he’s in a slump, I know it’s not his game that’s down, it’s something in his head. So I just try to be there for him 100 percent. And he knows I’m behind him no matter what he does. He has more in him. He can do more and I know he will do more.”

Added KU junior Jamari Traylor: “When you’ve got the mindset of a shooter, you’ve gotta think about the next one, you can’t think about the misses, and he’s been doing a good job of that.”

Greene knows his teammates are behind him and he knows a slump when he sees one. Although the slumps he has experienced throughout his career — from high school to AAU and now college — have all come for different reasons — and, according to Greene, “none have lasted quite as long as this one — the KU sharp-shooter knows there’s generally only one way out of them.

“When you’re in a slump, you just gotta believe, because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will,” Greene said. “I know that’s a little generic, but it’s definitely true.”

KU coach Bill Self spoke on a variety of topics on ESPN’s Mike and Mike show on Tuesday.

— On the excitement of the tournament: “I think our young guys have got the bug. I know our returning guys do,” Self said, not referring to the flu, but burning desire to play in the tourney. “We’re so excited to have an opportunity to play in Omaha close with all our fans and a good New Mexico State team right off the bat. If we are able to advance ... what potentially lies ahead of us could be the most talked about game in the state of Kansas in many years,” he added.

KU will meet N.M. State at 11:15 a.m., Friday, at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center with the winner meeting Wichita State or Indiana on Sunday.

— Of Kentucky looming on the other side of the Midwest Regional bracket: “It’s been fairly well documented and covered this year we actually played Kentucky. It seems about four years ago. It was the middle of November. Of course they manhandled us. They beat the crap out of us. It’s been a reminder all year long to our fans and our players about what Kentucky did to us. ... I think in this particular deal, it’d be like, ‘OK, if we could stay out of their region it’d probably be a positive,’” Self added, acknowledging it’s a little “different” this year with such a prohibitive favorite in KU’s regional. “Of course we’ve got a tough draw right off the bat with New Mexico State. Our guys are excited about it.”

— On Cliff Alexander: “Everything is status quo (regarding his being held out as the NCAA looks into his eligibility). Landen (Lucas) has done a great job stepping up in his absence. I don’t feel it’s going to be a big factor for us whether we play well or not. Of course we’d love to have all our pieces, every team would. This particular situation ... guys are used to playing without him and adjusted to their roles and accepted them.”

The Indianapolis Star put together its all-alumni teams in a search for the schools with the “coolest alumni.”

KU was accorded a lineup of Wilt Chamberlain, Don Johnson, Clyde Lovellette, Paul Rudd and Bill James with a sixth-man listed as tie between Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp and Phog Allen.

New Mexico State’s cool-alumni lineup consisted of Paul Wilbur Klipsch, Lou Henson, Alan Hale, Alvy Ray Smith, Rich Beem and a sixth man of Kenton Keith. The Star declared Kansas the winner in the second-round game, then a loser to Indiana in Round Three.

The Jayhawks will practice today in Allen Fieldhouse then leave for Omaha via bus about 1:30 p.m. KU will hold an open practice from 1:30 to 2:10 p.m., Thursday at CenturyLink Center.


Andy Tweedy 7 years, 2 months ago

Wait...what? The Indianapolis Star thought Indiana had cooler alumni than KU? Inconceivable!!!

Walter Bridges 7 years, 2 months ago

How did Star Trek Enterprise Capt. James Archer (Scott Bakula) fail to make the list? No love for Bob Dole or Kathleen Sibelius (I picked a conservative and a liberal so no accusations of political bias are in order).

Benjamin Clay Jones 7 years, 2 months ago

Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto, didn't make the "all-coolest-alumni" team along with Clyde Lovellette?

Brianna Zaleski 7 years, 2 months ago

If Greene isn't spot up shooting, he scares the holy hell out of me. However, he has become a pretty good rebounder.

Robert Brock 7 years, 2 months ago

Other than a few bursts of shooting, I don't think of Brannen Greene as a highly-skilled player. He can't dribble-drive, is a poor passer, he makes strange decisions, and has huge defensive lapses.

If he is invited back, I hope that he works on those weaknesses.

Tom Jones 7 years, 2 months ago

If he is invited back?

What, you think HCBS is gonna show him the door or something?

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 2 months ago

There's no reason to think Greene won't be back at this point. However, would anybody really be shocked if Greene gets dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons at some point in the future?

Tom Jones 7 years, 2 months ago

I would, yes. I don't think he's an idiot.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 2 months ago

There's a difference between being an idiot and making poor decisions. Gre energy has already been suspended twice by Bill Self for poor attitude and decision making. His bad decisions are not a couple of isolated incidents, it's a trend.

Tom Jones 7 years, 2 months ago

Really, there isn't much difference. If you keep going down that road, you're an idiot.

Luckily, nothing he's done to get sat (suspended for a game if you must) has been anything approaching dismissal worthy, or even multi-game suspended worthy.

He's not going anywhere.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 2 months ago

How many multi game suspensions did Naadir Tharpe receive at KU before he was kicked off the team? Lots of little issues can be a just as big an issue as one big problem.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 2 months ago

IF? As of now we have one commit for next year's recruiting class. He has had issues of responsibility but hasn't broken any laws or had trouble with the police. I can't see HCBS dismissing a player who still has plenty of upside especially when there isn't anyone to take his place.

Just out of curiosity, does anyone think we should have gone after Semi Ojeleye after he was released from Duke? He will be eligible to play December 2015 and has 2 1/2 years of eligibility left.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 2 months ago

Naadir Tharpe never had any legal issues either, just poor judgment issues. Sounds exactly like the problem Greene has well.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 2 months ago

I simply don't know enough about the issues off the court to make that call. On the court though, Tharpe made bad decision after bad decision at a time when he was supposedly 'a leader' and an upperclassman on a very young team..

And as I stated above, there just isn't enough quality recruits left to fill his spot. The only way (assuming nothing else occurs) I can see him dismissed is if his behavior becomes a distraction to the team.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 2 months ago

Jaylen Brown is still very much in the mix, Svi will hopefully be strong enough to play and has a much better all around skill set than Greene along with being a potential 40% outside shooter. Land Brown and Greene becomes expendable like Tharpe was.

Brian Conrad 7 years, 2 months ago

stupid comment . IF? right now even with slump , Greene still one best shooters KU has ever had . few put up over 40%. at one point tis season major college writers were saying he was best shooter in the country... very few 6 foot 6 guys shoot like he does. we are VERY LUCKY HE IS A JAYHAWK

Vernon Riggs 7 years, 2 months ago

Didn't' Greene have two treys in the Big12 Tournament Championship game against the Clowns? One in the corner and one at the top of the key as the clock ran out.

Matt Tait 7 years, 2 months ago

The one from the corner in front of the KU bench was in the Baylor game in the semis. The only one he made vs. ISU was that deep one late.

Micky Baker 7 years, 2 months ago

We do need Greene to hit some shots. There is no doubt about that.

We also need Ellis, Mason, Oubre, and Selden to all be on the same page with whoever starts with them(Traylor or Lucas). It's harder than it sounds, but when the coach says run a certain offense, do it. If you don't know certain plays that you've worked on in practice during a game, now it's time to learn it. Learn it together. Today and tomorrow are the days you need to learn it, even if you have to it outside of organized and required practices.

It doesn't matter how athletic or talented someone is if they don't continue to work, because it usually a ceiling placed on one's self due to complacency. A realistic goal for this team is to make it to the Elite 8. If you get there, and don't beat Kentucky, I'll be okay with that. But if you don't get there and lose to teams we should beat, who we have the talent beat 9 x out of 10, it will be on the players. We have a tough draw, and even though we had the toughest schedule in the country, we could have done better. We aren't anywhere near the ceiling this group of guys have. A 3 game winning streak right now will be a strong foundation for next season.

And I'm pleading Oubre, Selden, and Alexander(if he can be ruled eligible), come back for another season. To Self and the coaching staff, let's get Zimmerman and Brown. We have too much talent on this team to have anything short of an Elite 8. Now go get it, please. Leave everything on the court. Not even the committee believes you can do it. But I believe you can. In fact, I believe that if we play a full 40 minutes with intensity, we can put a scare into Kentucky, especially if we make 14 to 18 3s, and I believe we can do that.

Graham, Mickeson, Svi, and whoever sits between Lucas and Traylor, don't think you're not important to the team's success during this tournament. You're all valuable and right now, quite frankly, you have nothing to lose in the eyes of many so go out there and have fun. Play relaxed, and play smart. All of you know what to do.

Go to 3:25 of the video posted below. It is from KU football's Gridiron series against Georgia Tech the first time that we played them.

Ellis and Selden and Mason... we need you to be that kind of leader right now.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 2 months ago

I have to believe that Selden is coming back. He hasn't had the type of year that will make him a lottery or maybe even a first round pick. I thought that Alexander would return but with the way the NCAA is dragging its heels, there may not be any ruling on his eligibility before the start of next season. Cliff's mom may have really ruined his NBA career. On some of the mock drafts, I didn't see him in either the first or second round.

As for Oubre, he is a lottery pick and although I think he could use another year. Draft Express has KO going 12th which will make him 1.8 million his first year. CBS has him going 10th. Pretty hard to keep a player when leaving will make him an instant millionaire.

Gary Denning 7 years, 2 months ago

"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!". Mandy Patinkin deserves to be on the all cool team.

Mick Allen 7 years, 2 months ago

Nice Prince, Dave Chappelle, reference Cameron.

Mick Allen 7 years, 2 months ago

Shirts against the blouses. Right Cameron?

Mike Riches 7 years, 2 months ago

Is Danny Manning not very cool? I think what he did was pretty cool...

Tony Bandle 7 years, 2 months ago

WHAT!! No Jason Sudekis?? He married Olivia Wilde...what could be cooler than that???

Commenting has been disabled for this item.