Friday, February 12, 2016


Tom Keegan: No easy answer to stopping Hield

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) defends against a three from Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) during the second half, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) defends against a three from Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) during the second half, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.


The number 60 is so outrageous next to the word points for a basketball player that many thought Bill Self was kidding when he said it five weeks ago. He wanted to make sure everyone knew he wasn’t, so he said it again Thursday.

“I’m serious about this,” Self said of Buddy Hield, “if Frank (Mason) had not been on our team, he would have got 60. I mean, he scored, I’d say, 50 percent of the time he touched it when Frank was guarding him. But he didn’t touch it very often. If he’d have gotten 10 more touches, he could have scored 10 more points, easily.”

Mason did such a terrific job of denying Hield the ball that even though the leading national player of the year candidate scored 46 points during Kansas University’s 109-106, triple-overtime victory against Oklahoma, he attempted just four field goals in the second half and scored 11 points, two on a tip-in.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self on playing OU on the road, greatness of Buddy Hield

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self meets with media members to discuss the Jayhawks' Saturday rematch with Oklahoma, with topics ranging from the greatness of Buddy Hield to points in the paint and much more.

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Hield made 6 of 6 second-half free throws, 1 of 2 two-pointers and 1 of 2 three-pointers.

Trying to figure out how to contain Hield raises many possibilities and no easy answers.

Kansas guards Mason and Devonté Graham are entrusted with collapsing defenses on drives to the hoop. It’s an exhausting responsibility that comes with bruises delivered by bigger bodies, but not as tiring as chasing Hield all over the place to try to keep him from receiving passes.

“I don’t think Frank can guard Buddy the whole game,” Self said. “Is Frank more valuable being on the floor, we talked about, even if he’s maybe a little fatigued, than somebody else being fresh out on the floor? We need Frank on the floor for the most part. So I think we need to sub him smarter, sub him more often for shorter stints, even for 30 seconds here or a minute there. But to say he’s going to lock in on Buddy, that won’t be our game plan going in. That may be the game plan late game in possessions that really matter, but I think we’re going to need him in the game being a little bit more rested offensively the first 30 minutes or so.”

Hield will try to drive when Wayne Selden checks him. If he’s too successful doing that, look for Graham and Mason to take their turns, maybe with relief here and there from Brannen Greene and Svi Mykhailiuk.

“So it could happen, but it probably won’t happen as much as what the obvious person would think, based on how well he defended him the last 25 minutes the other day,” Self said of Mason checking Hield. “It totally gassed him, though. He was spent.”

Once Hield has the ball, he’s tough to stop without fouling. Hield has made 50 percent of his 192 three-point shots, many of them taken when closely guarded. He ranks second in the nation in three-point percentage, ranking behind only Giddy Potts of Middle Tennessee State (.519). Hield’s 4.17 made threes per game leads the nation. Hield ranks second in the nation to Howard’s James Daniel (27.4) with a 25.7 scoring average.

Self, who almost uses a man-to-man defense with a strong bent on helping, has turned to a triangle-and-two defense with some success throughout the years.

Junk defenses only work against teams that have multiple non-scoring threats. Oklahoma, with four scorers in double figures, doesn’t qualify. Zone? Oklahoma leads the nation with a .451 three-point percentage, so so much for that idea.

No easy answers, but the same can be said for Oklahoma in coming up with a plan for trying to slow senior forward Perry Ellis.

In Big 12 games only, Hield leads the conference with a 25.9 scoring average.

Ellis is tied for second with Iowa State’s Georges Niang at 19.5 points per game, so Kansas isn’t the only one with a difficult defensive challenge on its hands.

— Tom Keegan appears on The Drive, Sunday nights on WIBW


Micky Baker 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm thinking that the way to slow Hield down is to switch him with whatever 3 guards/forwards we have above the free throw line. Don't let him drive baseline side. Force him into the middle where he has to score around someone his size or bigger and rotate to the guy slashing to the basket so he can't dish it off. Have a defender in front of him, one behind him, and then everyone else rotates to whoever is on the perimeter. Hield doesn't get that many assists per game. Not an easy answer, I know.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

Selden was doing a decent job until he was assessed his second foul. Hopefully he can pick it up from there, minus the fouls...

Kent Richardson 6 years, 3 months ago

Wayne and many other team mates and opposing players taken a seat on the bench after getting two quick ones this season. He has shown a couple of times that he can have a big second half as compensation.

Mick Allen 6 years, 3 months ago

We certainly can't go underneath ball screens as he has such a quick release. We might have to switch more on the screen although Coach generally does not prefer to do this.

Kit Duncan 6 years, 3 months ago

I'd love to have seen Brandon Rush defend Hield. Rush shut down some pretty good defenders in his career at KU.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

Wiggins was better than Rush I would suggest. He could defend nearly anyone on the opposing team. Imagine how dominant Wiggins would have been as a junior or senior, especially defensively.

Tom Jones 6 years, 3 months ago

In terms of defense...

Wiggins as a freshman was easily superior to Rush as a freshman.

Rush as a junior was easily superior to Wiggins as a freshman.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't know.....Wiggins didn't find his groove offensively but he was locked in and nasty defensively from the get go. He was at least as quick as Rush, and much longer.

Jared Reeves 6 years, 3 months ago

Wiggins could also be very lackadaisical at times on defense, and just float.

Here is an analysis on how he is doing in the NBA (not great).

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

Which division in the NBA does Kansas play in?

Jared Reeves 6 years, 3 months ago


Why do you respond this way sometimes?

You started talking about Wiggins, not me. The evidence of his lack of defense in the NBA is relevant to your argument that Wiggins was a good defender while at Kansas, unless you think he became as worse defender in two years of playing basketball. If so, make that argument.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

How he ranks statistically in the NBA is an entirely different issue. I might be wrong, but the players in the NBA are a little more talented and a touch more experienced. Maybe he would find guarding Heild harder than Durant or LeBron. ....

However, your article's author (who the F is Wil Reeves any way and what is he talking about) states that he allows opponents to shoot an adjusted 44%, or some new formula he has of "e%".... The LOWEST adjusted shooting % of any SF in his division - 47%

There's your argument...... honestly. The whole argument and especially the article is nonsense. That's what makes you so annoying.

Jared Reeves 6 years, 3 months ago

Jay, I am sorry if you find refuting contradictory evidence annoying. I agree that the competition in the NBA is greater, which could explain some of Wiggins defensive problems, but I saw much of the same problems when he was at KU. Wiggins could be a great defender at times, but often wasn't. The article just articulated my sentiments.

Tom Jones 6 years, 3 months ago

And if being quick and long was all there was to playing defense, that would be a sound argument.

Rush was a much smarter defender by the time he was a junior. Wiggins often lost focus defensively so he couldn't be counted on to lock someone down the way Rush could.

To be fair, a lot more was expected out of Andrew on the offensive end, as Rush played on a very balanced team. He also had better defenders around him which made his life easier. But he was a true lock down defender and Wigs was not. Very good, though, especially for a freshman, and better than Rush as a freshman.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 3 months ago

There is no stopping Hield, there is only slowing him down. The key is trying to get Spnagler to take more 3's since he's only a 35% deep shooter compared to their guards who are all 47%+ deep shooters. Make the worst shooter beat you.

Cameron Cederlind 6 years, 3 months ago

Well . . . that was 3 OT worth of points. If he made 1 more free throw in regulation, the game is over and he had 34 points. Not sure he could have scored 60 unless we matched it.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 3 months ago

Micky & Mick, I'm not that great an analyzer of the technical aspects of coaching, so I enjoy hearing from two who have such insight. I would imagine that Coach Self may have a trick or two up his sleeve, but stopping Hield is nearly an impossible task. My guess is that Coach will just try to make him work as hard as he can for his points.

Mick, I recently watched the movie about the Don Haskins, Texas Western (now Texas-El Paso) championship team of 1966. Of course, it brings back all of the memories of the "sneaker" controversy and Jo Jo's almost game winning basket against them in the regional.

In thinking back to that team, I remember most of our starting five: Jo Jo, Delvy Lewis, Walter Wesley, and Ron Franz. However, I can't come up with the 5th starter. Can you help me out?

Also, awhile back, posters were reminiscing about the best players in KU history. I expressed the opinion that my 5 best were Wilt, Danny, Clyde, Jo Jo, and Darnell Valentine. Of course, there are lots of candidates, but I was wondering where you would put some of the older legends such as B. H. Born, the Kelley brothers, Bill Leinhard (? spelling), etc.

The game has changed so much over the years, so it is practically impossible to compare players of different generations, unless they are a Wilt or a Clyde who would transcend all generations.

Shannon Whitehead 6 years, 3 months ago

Could the other starter of the 1966 team have been Al Lopes?

Len Shaffer 6 years, 3 months ago

I know that Clyde was incredible for his time, but I don't think he would hold up so well today. Wilt is a different story, but I think Clyde would just be a solid player.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 3 months ago

Hield is not a great dribbler/ball handler and can turn it over. Normally you could try forcing him to dribble drive as opposed to firing his cruise missiles. Pick your poison and factor in our history of not "always" ready for primetime perimeter, on the ball or at the rim defense. We are kind of made for his game.

Add Woodard, Cousins and Spangler roaming around the three point line. Formidable but like Kansas they have to hit shots.

Perry does it better than Spangler but doesn't launch as often.

When we were rolling and shooting circa 47% from range we were formidable also. Greene and DeVonte have about the nicest looking strokes around. Greene should air mail a minimum of 5 times a game.

Good work by Landon thank goodness. To bad Hunter, and I know he is hurt, transferred back to Arkansas, didn't he? I don't know what to say but be effective Jamari and take a step forward Carlton you have waited long enough.

Svi has flashed "pretty good" in a lot of facets but he plays like he is 18 too much, if that's possible. Or avoidable.

Cheick-baby needs to channel his inner Landon and only take lobs on offense and pay for his room and board by defending and boarding.

Frank was ready to return the favor when a Nimrod decided it was necessary to doink him with an elbow. Was that a cheap shot? An "I got your dick move right here?" Or an "I will hurt my own team at a critical juncture play?"

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