Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Jayhawks glad of outside competition

Kansas head coach Bill Self, point guard Frank Mason and the Jayhawks will open their season tonight with an exhibition game with Pittsburg State.

Kansas head coach Bill Self, point guard Frank Mason and the Jayhawks will open their season tonight with an exhibition game with Pittsburg State.


Kansas University’s basketball players may be as fired up tonight playing NCAA Div. II Pittsburg State as they would be if the foe was Pitt of the powerful ACC.

That’s because the Jayhawks, who have been practicing since Oct. 2, are desperate for a game — any game — exhibition or otherwise.

“I would say we’re ready to get out there and compete,” said KU senior forward Perry Ellis. “We’ve been practicing with each other a while now, plus the summer. We practiced then, also. I’m just ready to get back out there, excited to get back out there. We’re ready to play somebody.”

Tipoff for the first of two exhibition games is 7 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse. KU will also meet Fort Hays State on Tuesday in Allen leading up to the regular season opener vs. Northern Colorado a week from Friday.

“We have a lot of veterans (six juniors, four seniors). We’ve been through a lot of this stuff. We’re ready to get to the game,” Ellis said.

“We practiced all fall to get ready,” noted junior guard Wayne Selden, Jr. “The exhibition games are a good springboard for the young guys, a good springboard for the rest of the team, to get adjusted to the new rules (emphasis on free-flowing play). We’re pretty excited about it.”

Tonight marks the debut of freshmen scholarship players Carlton Bragg, Jr., and Lagerald Vick, as well as sophomore walk-on Clay Young. The squad’s other newcomer, frosh Cheick Diallo, will only play if he’s deemed academically eligible today. Coach Bill Self said he heard nothing from the NCAA Eligibility Center on Tuesday regarding a decision involving the academic status of Diallo. A fourth newcomer, junior transfer Dwight Coleby, is out for the season following recent knee surgery.

“I’d say maybe a little bit, not too much,” Ellis said, asked if the newcomers would be jittery making their college exhibition debuts. “They got experience this summer (at World University Games). It won’t be too bad. I feel they are anxious to get out there.”

Even Self, who loves practice, sounds as if he’s overdue to patrol the bench area during a game.

Self said the first month of practice, “hasn’t seemed it’s gone quite as fast because we started so much earlier. The rule says you can start 42 days before the first game but you have to take 12 days off.”

The Jayhawks have had a few intrasquad scrimmages with refs. Tonight in an exhibition against an actual opponent, Self wants to see, “how we play within the focus of the rules. I would love to see if we can play without fouling and still be aggressive. A lot of people can play without fouling but they lose all aggressiveness and can we do both? Can we be good defensively and also be a team that plays smart and doesn’t play with their hands as much and are disciplined? Those are what I want to see and then to see how the young kids react when the lights are on.”

Also ...

“I would like for us to be able to score inside. I think that’s something that obviously was a deficiency last year that we’re trying to address, but I still don’t think we’re very good at it,” Self said.

“We’re going to throw it all over the gym. We’ll turn it over. We’ll not miss block outs. We’ll do all that stuff, just like they will also. I mean, it’s so early, it’s hard to be great at everything.”

Red-shirt talk: Self was asked if there were any red-shirt possibilities this season. “You know what? No. No,” he said. “But if we decided to red-shirt a freshman, we can do it after the two exhibition games. You just can’t red-shirt anybody else. So, if everybody plays on Wednesday, that’s returning, then that would eliminate them as a possible red- shirt.”

The NCAA passed a rule a few years ago that allowed first-year players to compete in exhibitions and still be eligible to red-shirt. If a returning player is used in an exhibition, he can’t red-shirt the season.

The foe: The Gorillas are coached by Kevin Muff, who is 76-67 entering his sixth season at Pitt State. Last year, Pitt State went 20-12 and finished tied for third in the MIAA with a 12-7 record. The Gorillas won the 2015 MIAA Postseason Tournament. ... PSU is picked to finish fifth in the MIAA preseason coaches’ poll. ... The Gorillas return four players who started 13 or more games a year ago, as well as eight letterwinners. Junior guard Josiah Gustafson (15.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg) returns after earning first-team All-MIAA honors. Senior guard Javis Flynn (6.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg) led the MIAA in assists (5.0) and steals (2.4). Senior guard Trey Starks (12.3 ppg), the MVP of the MIAA Postseason Tournament, also is back. ... Pitt State has an enrollment of 7,127.

This, that: KU has won all 10 meetings with Pittsburg State, including six exhibition contests. This series started in 1944 and every meeting has been played in Lawrence. ... KU is 75-9 in exhibition contests, including 43-2 under Self after its 10-0 run during the summer of 2015 at the World University Games. KU has won 42-straight exhibition contests in Allen Fieldhouse. The last home loss in exhibition play was 93-82 to Australia on Nov. 29, 1993.

Probable Starters


F — Trevor Gregory (6-7, Jr.)

G — Dakota Jones (5-11, Soph.)

G — Josiah Gustafson (6-6, Jr.)

G — Javis Flynn (5-10, Sr.)

G — Jaxon Holden (6-1, Soph.)


F — Perry Ellis (6-8, Sr.)

F — Jamari Traylor (6-8, Sr.)

G — Frank Mason III (5-11, Jr.)

G — Wayne Selden Jr. (6-5, Jr.)

G — Devonté Graham (6-2, Soph.)

Tipoff: 7 tonight Allen Fieldhouse.



1 — Doug Palacio, 5-10, 165, Fr., G, Arlington, Texas.

2 — Louis Rollins, 6-2, 180, Fr., G, Shawnee Mission.

3 — Javis Flynn, 5-10, 170, Sr., G, Watonga, Oklahoma.

4 — Josiah Gustafson, 6-6, 190, Jr., G, Omaha.

5 — Chris Owens, 6-4, 180, Fr., G, Springdale, Arkansas.

10 — Adrian Fernandez, 6-4, 175, Soph., G, Madrid, Spain.

11 — Trey Starks, 6-0, 190, Sr., G, Springfield, Missouri.

15 — Lucas Wilson, 6-5, 185, Fr., F, Paola.

20 — Lamine Dieng, 6-8, 230, Sr., F, Thies, Senegal.

21 — Jaxon Holden, 6-1, 185, Soph., G, Flower Mound, Texas.

22 — Denton Hays, 6-7, 225, Sr., F, Tulsa.

23 — Creighton Brinker, 6-8, 220, Jr., F, Seneca.

24 — Trevor Gregory, 6-7, 235, Jr., F, Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

32 — Dakota Jones, 5-11, 175, Soph., G, Warrensburg, Mo.

33 — Colton Pitko, 6-0, 170, Fr., G, Eureka.

Head coach: Kevin Muff. Assistants: Ryan Stock, Preston Ingram.


0 — Frank Mason III, 5-11, 185, Jr., G, Petersburg, Virginia.

1 — Wayne Selden, Jr., 6-5, 230, Jr., G, Roxbury, Massachusetts.

2 — Lagerald Vick, 6-5, 175, Fr., G, Memphis.

4 — Devonté Graham, 6-2, 175, Soph., G, Raleigh, North Carolina.

5 — Evan Manning, 6-3, 170, Sr., G, Lawrence.

10 — Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, 6-8, 195, Soph., G, Cherkasy, Ukraine.

11 — Tyler Self, 6-2, 165, Jr., G, Lawrence.

13 — Cheick Diallo, 6-9, 220, Fr., F, Kayes, Mali, Africa.

14 — Brannen Greene, 6-7, 215, Jr., G, Juliette, Georgia.

15 — Carlton Bragg, Jr., 6-9, 220, Fr., F, Cleveland.

21 — Clay Young, 6-5, 205, Soph., F, Lansing.

22 — Dwight Coleby, 6-9, 240, Jr., F, Nassau, Bahamas.

31 — Jamari Traylor, 6-8, 220, Sr., F, Chicago.

33 — Landen Lucas, 6-10, 240, Jr., F, Portland, Oregon.

34 — Perry Ellis, 6-8, 225, Sr., F, Wichita.

42 — Hunter Mickelson, 6-10, 245, Sr., F, Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Head coach: Bill Self. Assistants: Kurtis Townsend, Norm Roberts, Jerrance Howard.


Joe Joseph 6 years, 7 months ago

"I would like for us to be able to score inside. I think that’s something that obviously was a deficiency last year that we’re trying to address, but I still don’t think we’re very good at it,” Self said.

This quote makes me nervous.

Last year's team wasn't good at scoring inside because it didn't have any good post players. Still, Self tried to force that team into playing inside-out and away from its strengths (playing outside-in).

It's basically the same roster this year. I don't think anybody could coach this team's front court into being anything better than average. However, this team's back court could be exceptional. The new emphasis on freedom of movement should greatly benefit quick and strong guards, making it even easier for the likes of Mason and Graham to collapse defenses and open up the perimeter, where KU has a plethora of talented scorers.

Free the three, Bill!!

Jaston Archie 6 years, 7 months ago

I would agree before watching Hunter play this summer. He was really impressive, very smart, agile, good offensive player and good shot blocker. But, I completely agree with "Free the Three." I've been saying it for a year now and have been ridiculed that Self does not instill confidence in his 3 point shooters. When Kansas was on fire last year he called it fool's gold until they went ice cold. He needs to let Svi and Greene light it up like the Golden State Warriors.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 7 months ago

With the new contact rules in place, getting the ball low will accomplish two things: more free throws and more foul trouble for the opponent. Note that Self also mentioned that he wanted more slashing to the rim, for the same reasons.

Self has an offense that scored the second-most points in the conference last year. With a three-guard set, we'll get plenty of open-threes if we move the ball effectively.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 7 months ago

No hand checking or pushing the driving players. Need that rim protector more than ever. Hunter has shown some shot blocking skills. I too am nervous Mr. Joseph.

Marc Frey 6 years, 7 months ago

ESPN3 has it on its upcoming events. (Subject to Blackout)

Jaston Archie 6 years, 7 months ago

NO, please don't start Jamari Traylor. Let Hunter start or Carlton until Cheick gets eligible. Traylor is best off the bench

Rob Bedford III 6 years, 7 months ago

Hunter and Jamari are both bench talents. Carlton should start and gain experience early. Diallo will likely never play for KU.

Darwin Dandy 6 years, 7 months ago

At work thinking time can't move fast enough. I'm ready to see some Jayhawk basketball!!!!!

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 7 months ago

Schnider Herard officially announced for Mississippi St. earlier today. With some of the stuff that's come out about him in the last week or so with his wanting guaranteed minutes and not the best work ethic, it sounds like this isn't a huge loss for KU

William Swinton-Ginsberg 6 years, 7 months ago

Not only that but it also came out that KU backed off of him late. Considering our need for big men this class I think that should tell you all you need to know about Herard

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

Do either of you guys have sources for any of this?

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 7 months ago

One of the recruiting sites had an interview with his coach. I hadn't read about KU backing off, but it doesn't surprise given Herard's basically demanding playing time wherever he went. And considering his recruiting rankings are all over the map, KU isn't a place to make those statements and expect to keep being recruited.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 7 months ago

I wonder if he will demand to get drafted after this year?

RJ King 6 years, 7 months ago

I missed the original news about Coleby's knee surgery. I can't remember - did we know this was happening when we signed him? Or did it come up over the summer?

He would've sat out this year anyway with the transfer, right? So the only thing that changes is that it might now be considered a medical red-shirt?

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

From what I remember, he was injured while he was here at Kansas. Not sure if it was during an early practice or in a pickup game. His status will not change. He will have two years of eligibility left.

Shannon Gustafson 6 years, 7 months ago

It happened after he got here. It doesn't effect his play this year as he was not eligible anyway. He would have been able to practice and get better all year though, had he stayed healthy. I'm not sure if you can get a medical redshirt for a year you're not eligible to play anyway.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 7 months ago

The injury happened after he came to KU and no he can't for a medical for two reasons. One, medical redshirts can only be applied for if a player has not previously redshirted or if he was injured in season after games had started. And two, Coleby wasmissing this season even healthy because of the transfer rules.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

In other news, Ben Howland gets his fourth 4 Star recruit at Mississippi State and 5 Star LSU freshman Antonio Blakeney has just been cleared by the NCAA.

RJ King 6 years, 7 months ago

"out for the season" So I guess the worst part of Coleby's injury is that he can't practice (or will have very limited, late season practice after recovery?) with the team during the year. That's really too bad for him, and next year's team.

Sam Burns 6 years, 7 months ago

Gary, can you find out the tip heights for our roster. We always seem to hear the height, vertical, and reach of players, but it would be nice to know the combination of the three. I watched the USA men's volleyball team play in the world cup and they gave that information on each player from both teams. Basketball should follow suit on this. I tried to get this information from Tom last year, but he never responded.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 7 months ago

Height fudging is the norm in BB. Not sure about volleyball and if it isn't the norm to fudge in volleyball then that is why it is published.

Ardy Dehdasht 6 years, 7 months ago

Just saw this on Seth Greenberg's twitter... Not sure about the accuracy

Joe Joseph 6 years, 7 months ago

This is a fake Seth Greenberg account.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 7 months ago

According to LJW staff blog, Self says Diallo is behind other bigs. Is this only because of the later start or because he is not getting starter reps in practice because Self thinks he wont be cleared?

Does anyone think Svi is going to break out this year?

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 7 months ago

I certainly think it's possible. He was physically outmatched last year but it sound as if this had been addressed. I think this is a break out year for Selden but there is room for two.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 7 months ago

Diallo will be behind because he wasn't allowed to practice for the WUG, wasn't allowed to go through boot camp, and wasn't cleared to practice until the week of Late Night so he's way behind everyone else because of this.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.