Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Notebook: KU gets by with little preparation

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham looks to move around Oklahoma State forward Chris Olivier (31) as he defends against Oklahoma State guard Tyree Griffin (2) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham looks to move around Oklahoma State forward Chris Olivier (31) as he defends against Oklahoma State guard Tyree Griffin (2) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Playing on Saturday at Oklahoma, Kansas University’s men’s basketball team did not have a lot of time to prepare for a Big Monday home game against Oklahoma State.

“We only practiced about 40 minutes yesterday,” KU coach Bill Self revealed after the Jayhawks took care of OSU, 94-67. “We watched a lot of tape on Oklahoma State going back to our first game (Pokes’ 86-67 victory on Jan. 19 in Stillwater), showing some things we did that were not very good at all, some things they did to hurt us. It wasn’t a revenge-type message at all, but it was one, ‘we haven’t had a chance to obviously play well against the Cowboys. They handled us quite easily, probably easier than anybody has handled us this year the first time.”

Graham honored: KU sophomore guard Devonté Graham on Monday was named Big 12 player of the week following his 27-point outing against Oklahoma.

The 6-foot-2 native of Raleigh, N.C., scored 16 points in the final eight minutes of Saturday’s victory in Norman and also guarded OU standout Buddy Hield.

In wins over OU and West Virginia, Graham averaged 18.5 points and 3.5 rebounds while converting 57.9 percent of his shots, including 61.5 percent of his threes. He hit 87.5 percent of his free throws.

“Devonté had the best game of his young career,” KU coach Bill Self said on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “He has really played well against OU. He had 22 the first game (a win in Lawrence). This game he totally gave himself up defensively trying to guard Buddy and still had enough in the tank to be aggressive offensively especially in late game situations when we had kind of a make-shift lineup. He was terrific. We would have had no chance to win without him,” Self added.

Self called Hield “one of the top players (in country) and certainly is deserving of all the accolades he’s received and will be our national player of the year.”

Deonte Burton of Iowa State was named newcomer of the week.

RPI talk: KU is No. 1 in the NCAA’s men’s basketball RPI rankings, released on Monday. Oklahoma is No. 2, followed by Villanova, Oregon, Virginia, Maryland, Xavier, North Carolina, Miami Florida and Iowa.

Big O in house: Former KU center Greg Ostertag attended the game with his son, Cody, and was introduced to the fans during a time out.

— See what people were saying about KU’s rematch with the Cowboys during’s live coverage

More news and notes from the KU-OSU rematch

By the Numbers: Kansas 94, Oklahoma State 67

By the Numbers: Kansas 94, Oklahoma State 67


Joe Joseph 6 years, 3 months ago

I'll gladly eat crow on the Landen front. He has provided stability at the 5 the past few games and is as much of a reason for this late-season renaissance as anyone.

If anyone still thinks Diallo should be playing Landen's minutes they're either crazy or didn't watch this game.

It sure seemed like Diallo lost his man often and went for too many blocks that he didn't have much of a chance to alter. You can tell the guy works hard; it's just yet to click for him with it looking more and more likely that it won't click until he has some time to really mature.

Glen Miller 6 years, 3 months ago

I think with Diallo, he knows his minutes will be limited and he's trying to make a play. Although it is probably leading to his lack of minutes, you can't blame the kid. He's young and learning. We all tend to forget that in the age of one and done's. They can't all come in and contribute huge numbers immediately. The best players we've had as far as where they were when they left, were kids that stuck around and got coached up. Hopefully Diallo makes that Freshman to Sophomore jump that most of our bigs who went on to be playmakers made. I would be absolutely flabbergasted if Diallo left for the NBA after this season. You can see that his ceiling is high, but he's got such a ways to go that I worry he'd be the odd man out for many years in the pros. He could develop into something special with a few years at Kansas. Just my opinion.

Joe Ross 6 years, 3 months ago

A big part of Diallo's problem is that the kid has only been playing basketball for about 5 or 6 years whereas in America, kids grow up watching and playing basketball. It's not a lack of athleticism. It's that he has a lower basketball IQ based on his inexperience. Which is why the NCAAs sham in making Diallo ride the bench early in the season was particularly hurtful. But which is also why the fact that Coach has set him down so much means that he hasn't developed. But your argument is time sensitive. If we are having this conversation in December, for example, I would have said Diallo should have been given many more minutes than what he's gotten. But we're in the middle of February now, and the door has all but shut on Diallo's making a significant jump this season...because he's had to ride the bench so much! You don't fix inexperience by withholding experience. This means that Diallo is only a guy who is used to steal minutes, and not one that contributes more importantly in the lineup. Your argument simplifies the situation too greatly.

Where I do agree with you is that it's clear Landen Lucas is increasingly providing stability in the post. And situation being what it is now, I think you have to ride Landen through the conference and into the tournament.

Mike Greer 6 years, 3 months ago

There's no question that missing that early part of the season due to the NCAA really impeded Diallo's progress this year. What we, as non-coaches, don't see is practice. I understand game time experience and practice are not the same, but I would think if practices have been really successful in bringing Diallo up to the level needed to get the playing time, then he would be playing more. As coach has had him in games of late, I would say there is progress, but as an outside observer, there's little doubt in my mind that he's not quite ready for prime time. Perhaps had he gotten more non-conference game experience he might be playing at a higher level, but once conference play starts, especially in the Big XII, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for players to gain "on the job experience".

People have mentioned sacrificing post season for the conference title, and perhaps there is too much pressure on the coach and players to win that 12th straight title. But I think that winning is part of the expectation that these guys signed up for when they came to KU, and none of these players, especially the upperclassmen, want to be the team that didn't win that title, even though eventually there will have to be that team. I also think there is a lot of pressure on the coach to win every game and every title possible, again, he knew that coming in, but it doesn't make that pressure go away either. Diallo is a work in progress, much like many of the other KU players that were coached by Williams and Self in the past. Look at the difference a season has made for guys like Thomas Robinson, just to name one of many that come to mind. For multiple reasons, Diallo is not the best 5 on the team right now, but he's entertaining to watch, he works hard, and the game will come to him in time.

Joe Joseph 6 years, 3 months ago

Exactly what I've been thinking. You expressed it well!

RJ King 6 years, 3 months ago

I've thought all along that Lucas just needed some polish but Diallo needed an entire pack of lightbulbs. Not talking about the future, only their ability to contribute this season. Diallo will be fine. He just needs another year or two.

What bothers me is the blame put on Self for his lack of development. No one fought harder to get Diallo time on the court early in the season. By the time that contrived debacle ended it had became a choice between developing one player, or trying to win a conference and secure a higher seed for the team.

Chieck is in the midst of practicing with Lucas, Traylor, and Mick - and studying the first two from the bench in games. While not as athletic or long, they are way ahead of him in basketball IQ. Much of that will have a chance to be absorbed when the energy and emotion of this season die down.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 3 months ago

Great comments today. Nobody needs to "eat crow". It's just a pleasure to see Landon Lucas coming into his own. He's a fine and articulate man who I am sure has a bright future. The development of him and Devonte have given this team an extra boost and swagger. Also, really hope that Brannen's performance last night is indicative of what is in store for him.

As for Cheick, have to agree that he appears to be trying too hard. He wants to do so well that he often doesn't let the game come to him (whatever that means - - I just hear players and analysts use the phrase repeatedly). Anyway, if he will just be patient, his future is undoubtedly off the charts

David A. Smith 6 years, 3 months ago

Did anyone see the KU Glee Club tear up the National Anthem before the game last night? I'm a proud dad of one of those fine young men. They did a great job!

Len Shaffer 6 years, 3 months ago

I wish I'd seen it, David. I didn't even know we had a glee club now.

When I was a student, I was a four-year member, as well as eventually music director and finally executive director of the Jayhawk Singers, KU's show choir. Unfortunately, the person I chose as my successor let the group die by not working on funding for the next year, so it only lasted a year after I left. But I'm glad to know there's something similar in place.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 3 months ago

Didn't see it David, but am sure that it was phenomenal. My guess is that your family has a lot more to be proud of than just this performance. Bask in it!

David A. Smith 6 years, 3 months ago

Thanks a lot, Harlan! He's such a great kid, and never ceases to impress me.

Humpy Helsel 6 years, 3 months ago

Well, "I told you so" hasn't gotten anyone anywhere, BUT, yes, I wrote of Landen's development on this blog site last summer. I recall someone noting my assessment of Landen's performance and contribution last summer as some type of joke. Oh, well, so much for held grudges. Just let it go, Hump! Everyone seemed so focused on Hunter's performance in Korea, which was certainly notable. But Landen's rebounding in Korea against Eastern Euro types was needed and invaluable last summer. Is he a tad slow, and does he miss way too many bunnies? Yes. But he appears to have a cerebral understanding of the game using position and his body on both ends of the floor. And he doesn't seem to mind banging with anyone. I think the biggest thing right now is his sense of confidence which appears to grow a little bit each game.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.