Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What if Diallo had dunked it?

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets in the ear of Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets in the ear of Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) during the first half, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.


The wildly entertaining dunks of Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon in Saturday’s NBA Slam Dunk contest would likely have been erased from the minds of hoop fans Monday night ... had Cheick Diallo’s attempt with 29 seconds left in Kansas University’s 94-67 victory over Oklahoma State gone down.

“That’s easy to dunk, but I was so excited to make it. I was like, ‘Wow,’’’ Diallo, KU’s 6-foot-9 freshman from Mali said of his high flying attempt from the free throw line that crashed off the north Allen Fieldhouse rim.

Diallo, who had five rebounds and three blocked shots in seven productive minutes, explained his thought process on the breakaway dunk try.

“I was thinking, ‘I want to pass.’ As soon as I stepped to the free throw line, the lane was open. I was like, ‘I’m going to keep going,’’’ Diallo stated. “I said, ‘Let me go.’ It was too late, but my mind said, ‘Go, go, just go,’ but it was too late. That’s why I missed it,” Diallo added.

Diallo, who was 0-for-2 shooting Monday, also contributed to Saturday’s 76-72 victory at Oklahoma without scoring a point. He had four boards, a steal and a block in seven minutes versus the Sooners.

“At the beginning of the game, I was so excited because everyone was talking, ‘Oklahoma is the No. 1 team in the country.’ I was like, ‘We are the No. 1 team, too. KU is the No. 1 team, too.’ I was, ‘OK, we now are going to show who is the No. 1 team in the country,’’’ Diallo said.

“I did my job, blocking shots, rebounding, running the floor. The first half, I was playing well. The second half I didn’t get a chance to play, but we won. That’s all that counts,” he added.

He has played seven or more minutes in five of the last nine games, including 10 minutes against Kentucky and TCU.

Perhaps the only negative on Monday were his two turnovers.

“Usually I don’t turn the ball over. I’m not supposed to turn the ball over,” Diallo said. “I don’t know how I turned the ball over like that. That’s kind of crazy.”

Of his blocks, he said: “That’s what I do best.”

Diallo said he’s confident the (22-4, 10-3) Jayhawks, who have won six straight games, will continue their hot streak.

“We lost a couple games at the beginning of the season. We’re going to do better. My opinion ... I think we’re not going to lose no more games,” Diallo said with a smile. “I think we can win no matter what.”

He said he’s continued his habit of texting his coach, Bill Self, every night.

“I do, every time,” Diallo said. “Basically I ask what I need to do most now, because I’m trying to develop my game every day. Even days off, I just come to the gym to work on things. I work every day.”

KU in first place: Texas defeated West Virginia on Tuesday night, meaning KU now has sole possession of first place in the Big 12 with five games remaining.

KU is 10-3, followed by the Mountaineers (9-4), Oklahoma (8-4), Texas (8-5), Baylor (8-5), Iowa State (7-6), Texas Tech (5-7), Kansas State (4-9), Oklahoma State (3-10) and TCU (2-11).

“We’ve got a long ways to go. We’ve put ourselves in good position. We have to finish the regular season off right,” KU junior forward Landen Lucas said after his 14-point, 10-rebound outing versus OSU. “We have to continue to have nights like tonight. Even if a team puts a run on us (like OSU’s 17-5 run that cut the lead to six with 11:18 left) we need to put them away and get the win.”

Summer trip revisited: KU coach Self on Tuesday night’s Hawk Talk was asked if the Jayhawks’ trip to South Korea for the World University Games might have taken something out of the squad during its stretch of three losses in five games that preceded the current win streak.

“I can’t speak to the exact reason. I will say we have talked about that,” Self said. “I think there’s a great chance that contributed to us hitting a wall. I don’t know if we hit a wall, but we hit a hill. We didn’t explode up the hill or move up the hill with probably the same intensity we had before hitting the hill. All teams will go through it. Hopefully we got ours out of the way and we’ll push forward playing our best ball and most energetic ball moving forward,” added Self, who said he plans on cutting the time of each practice to keep legs fresh.


Jack Hoff 6 years, 3 months ago

Maybe I'm wrong but is the title of the article referencing Brannen's dunk at the end of the game? If so, those are two completely different scenarios in my opinion. Self had his garbage time guys in and OSU was playing hard to the last minute... It's not like they were walking off the floor like KState. I'm not sure if that is what the article is alluding to, but that's just my opinion on the matter. In regards to this team, I think at this point we can really all be pleased with what we have seen. I know as fans we tend to react to the moment but all and all I think this team is about were you would realistically expect it to be at this point in the season. if you would say we would be 22-4 and hold first place in the BIG 12, I think we'd all be happy with that. This team certainly isn't as soft and doesn't crumble like the teams the past two years. They had a few bad games, but every team in America has those. The key with this team is staying healthy and having everyone clicking come March so we can make a run... There is certainly enough talent on this team to win it all this year. I'm also happy to see Landen being a consistent Big man holding down the 5 spot. I think we all know what Bill saw in him and why he gets paid the big bucks. I think we also saw why Cheick doesn't play as much. Amazing for all the heat Bill Self has taken on this forum all season, he has his team sitting at #2 in the country and atop the Big 12. Who would of thought huh? It's almost like he knows how to coach basketball...Hopefully they can finish strong. RCJH!

Dale Rogers 6 years, 3 months ago

Re your first sentence, I had the same impression when I saw the headline. Re your last point, I agree there, too. That's why HCBS gets the big bucks and the rest of us don't. He knows what he's doing, we just think we do.

Tom Jones 6 years, 3 months ago

"Amazing for all the heat Bill Self has taken on this forum all season,"

This site is not exactly populated by Rhodes Scholars.

Dale Rogers 6 years, 2 months ago

Nor head basketball coaches or even assistant coaches, current or former. It's kind of like liberal arts majors questioning Einstein, although I'm not equating Self to Einstein.

Brianna Zaleski 6 years, 3 months ago

Well said Jack. I think you've hit the sentiment of most KU fans, right on the head. If you had asked me before the season began, if I would take being 22-4, sole possession of 1st place in Big12, and being ranked#2 in the country, I would have gladly accepted. No doubt.

Kit Duncan 6 years, 3 months ago

Gary was referencing the NBA dunk contest in comparison to Cheick's attempted dunk. Much is being said of the NBA dunks being the greatest ever and I believe Gary is considering the possibility that had he been able to complete the dunk, Cheick's highlight might have overshadowed the All-Stars. Considering theirs were all staged and rehearsed and Cheick's attempt was during game play, the NBA dunks might have taken a backseat to the KU freshman's.

Edward Daub 6 years, 3 months ago

The answer to the question is fairly obvious. Diallo displays youthful exuberance as you can see in the picture. Bill is coaching with his mouth open and Cheick is listening with a slight smile? Let me introduce to you Cheick "Chick" Diallo!

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

Every game Diallo continues to show jaw dropping athleticism. I'm thinking he will be able to make a material contribution for us during this year's NCAA tournament.

Very proud we won the Gold at the WUG. No remorse whatsoever. Truly a GOLDEN chance at hand for this team with the Big 12 Championship on the plate, ready to be devoured and the NCAA Tournament around the corner.

Robert Brock 6 years, 3 months ago

Diallo is a "wait'l next year" player. He is athletic but raw like suchi. I hope that he returns; I am not counting on it.

Dale Rogers 6 years, 3 months ago

Everything I've read makes me believe Diallo knows he has a lot of room for improvement and he wants to work hard to improve. He's constantly texting coach for suggestions and advice. That doesn't sound to me like a kid who is thinking NBA right away. I think he understands another year will pay huge dividends for him down the road. Plus, I think when he gets a reading from the NBA guys, that will reinforce he needs another year. I don't think Diallo is dumb enough to ignore that advice. I think he'll be back for one more season.

Jared Reeves 6 years, 3 months ago

Diallo has what the starters lack--emotion and extreme athleticism. Diallo makes KU more fun to watch. We are winning without him, but it is often not very entertaining, unlike KU teams of the past. Of course, if I have to choose between the two, I will take winning every time.

RJ King 6 years, 3 months ago

Which KU teams of the past? Do you mean the running Roy teams, with little defense? Or the future NBA 2008 team? Or the over-achievers of 2012? I agree those teams were VERY entertaining.

But it's also riveting to watch a team work the ball from side to side, run down the shot clock, wait for a good shot, and then (of course) make it. I delight in watching one of our bigs clean up a missed shot. Perry's spin moves are lacking emotion, but extremely athletic.

I find this team pretty darn entertaining. There's always the suspense of which player/s will show up. But really, it's probably as simply as: winning = entertainment.

Jared Reeves 6 years, 3 months ago

RJ, all those teams are included, but not exclusive. In the past 30 years, it seems like KU usually had 1 to 5 amazing athletes. This made watching fun, because not only did you expect to win, but you wanted to watch that athleticism on display and see what jaw dropping feat would happen next.

Our current starters have some athleticism, but are not the caliber of Diallo, Wiggins, Embiid, Morris twins, TRob, (I could go on and on). I also enjoy watching when KU executes well, but that is not mutually exclusive with emotion and extreme athleticism.

The "suspense" of which player will show up isn't entertaining, it is frustrating. Winning ugly is not as entertaining as winning with emotion and extreme athleticism. Watching KU beat OU was entertaining, because of the performance of Graham. Watching the OSU game--not so much.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

The defense STRENUOUSLY objects and requests a meeting to confer with you so that his Honor might have the opportunity to hear discussion before ruling on the objection.”

Joannne/Jared - Same thing.

RJ King 6 years, 3 months ago

Well, it's fair to say not all games are equally entertaining. But I think we all forget a great volume of wins over the past 30 years which have been more frustrating than compelling, or more ugly than athletic.

So, we're word-smithing "fun" and "entertaining." And that's probably where we have different experiences watching this year's team. To some, watching Lucas' growth would be the equivalent of watching paint dry. To me (after 30+ years of raising kids), each day that brings a small victory is, well . . . fun.

I understand what you're saying. My biggest disagreement is that, to me, the Morri were neither high-caliber athletic or entertaining.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm pretty sure that Gary wasn't comparing the Diallo dunk with the Greene dunk from a coach's reaction standpoint. I think he was simply saying that, had he made the shot, it would have been the top play on ESPN's Top 10 Plays of the Day. No doubt it would have been, as it was the type of flying dunk that made Michael Jordan famous.

Don't see you post much, Jack. However, keep it up because I think I can agree with every word you said.

I have changed my opinion re: Diallo possibly leaving. Earlier in the year, I felt pretty certain that the money would be too much for him to pass up. However, he seems to have a very mature head on his shoulders, and as others have said, he seems to be convinced that he isn't ready yet for the pros. Therefore, I think he will be back for at least one more year. Hope those of us who believe that will be proven right.

Steve Grimm 6 years, 3 months ago

We are behind you all the way, Cheick! You keep playing with passion and energy and we will keep cheering for you with passion and energy!

You have the winning formula no matter what: Strive every day to learn and get better. Never think there's nothing more to learn! This approach will help you in anything you focus on, not just basketball.

You have a ton of talent. But never be satisfied. Always pursue more.

It will pay off. It will ALWAYS pay off.

We are proud to have you in the Jayhawk family!

John Boyle 6 years, 3 months ago

The two scenarios of Greene's dunk vs Diallo's attempted dunk are completely different. Greene's was as the clock was expiring and he could have just held onto the ball and let the clock run out. Diallo's was with 29 seconds left but only about 15 seconds left on the shot clock. They couldn't just hold the ball or it would have been a turnover. No issue with his dunk attempt since both teams were still playing hard at the time.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 3 months ago

Diablo got the rebound and went coast to coast. There weren't more than about 5 seconds gone from the shot clock. That doesn't mean that it was like Greene's. Just correcting the setting.

John Boyle 6 years, 3 months ago

Thank you for the correction on the time on the shot clock. He still couldn't have just ran out the clock and man did he get up the court quickly for a big guy.

Jack Hoff 6 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for clarifying guys. The title kind of threw me off at first glance.

Mick Allen 6 years, 3 months ago

Jared, Coach has won 374 games and lost 82 while at KU and 202 and 9 in Allen. His overall winning % at KU is 82%, which of course includes both entertaining and"unentertaining" wins. Your statement qualifies you as a charter member of the "whine and cheese" KU fanbase. Really Jared?

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

Is Whine and Cheese more politically correct than Chicken Little?

Mick Allen 6 years, 3 months ago

Jay, I'm just giving Roy Williams his props. He coined the phrase.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't know. Put a little cheese and crackers on the appetizer bar with some chicken wings thrown in, I'm all set.

Obviously, an 82% winning percentage puts Coach Self near the top of any list you want to compile. Can't get over how blessed KU has been with its coaching fraternity over the years. Not many schools could even come close to matching it. Then when you consider all of the legends who have Kansas ties besides those who have coached here, it is just amazing.

Mick Allen 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't know for sure Harlan, but some of Phog's wins were probably unentertaining.

Yonatan Negash 6 years, 3 months ago

Rooting for Texas Tech to pull an upset tonight.

If Texas Tech somehow pulls the upset, Saturday's OU vs WV game will be interesting.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 3 months ago

Nice point, Mick. Given the huge number of victories that he had, I am sure that at least one or two were not entertaining. I could look it up, but remind me, how many years did the good doctor coach at KU, and how many games did he win?

Those records may last forever. If not, we won't be around to see it anyway.

Phog perhaps had the most impact on the college game of anyone, given his longevity, success, and coaching tree. Not saying this to start an argument with anyone. Between Dr. Naismith and Dr. Allen, KU is the cradle of college basketball tradition in my opinion.

Mick Allen 6 years, 3 months ago

Harlan you are always very generous with regard to your comments concerning Phog. He won 590 games at KU in 39 years as a coach. Remember back in the day the season rarely exceeded 20 to 24 games unlike the 30 plus games played per season now.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 3 months ago

My point exactly, Mick. If Dr. Allen had coached 10-15 more games per year like in current days, he would undoubtedly have amassed 900-1000 total victories, or more. That's why comparing people of different generations is generally fruitless.

I obviously can't prove it, but if Phog had been given the opportunity to coach Wilt, I believe that KU would have beaten UNC in the 1957 championship game. No offense to the memory of Dick Harp, who was a fine and upstanding gentleman. However, I am aware that Frank McGuire of Carolina used a couple of psychological tricks to try to upstage KU.

Anyway, Doc Allen was a master psychologist too, and I believe that he would have anticipated what McGuire might do and would have successfully counteracted it. For one thing, the double and triple teaming of Wilt would never have been a surprise to him. Perhaps, it wasn't to Coach Harp either, and the outcome would have been the same.

McGuire basically dared the other KU players to beat them, and they didn't. Something just tells that, if Phog had been at the helm, the outcome would have been different.

I guess that when you get to be my age, about all you can do is reminisce and speculate about what might have been. At least it is enjoyable to do so, although I recognize that it probably isn't terribly productive.

Mike Greer 6 years, 3 months ago

Harlan, generational comparisons are indeed impossible to make. Even if the schedule had been the same number of games, making a comparison between then and now is still all but impossible. Think of all the changes in the game, the changes in the level and breath of competition, the fact that basketball has become the inner-city game of choice over the past 30 years, and how that has changed the number of players and evened the playing field. With all of that and more, making such comparisons is as you say, fruitless. But fun none the less.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 3 months ago

Correct, Mike. Making comparisons sometimes feels like trying to catch the wind.

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