Thursday, January 28, 2016

Stepping out of conference fine with Self

Kansas head coach Bill Self looks for a foul from an official during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self looks for a foul from an official during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self has said that, in a perfect world, the one-day Big 12/SEC Challenge would be held in December, prior to the start of conference play rather than on Jan. 30.

However, considering the way this league season has materialized — KU is 5-3 with three straight road losses — something a little out of the ordinary might be a good thing.

“I think it’s exactly what our team needs,” Self said of Saturday’s 6 p.m. tipoff against Kentucky in Allen Fieldhouse. “We need some energy. We need to play in a game (so big it brings ESPN’s GameDay to town). I hate saying this, in the big scheme of things it doesn’t mean as much as a conference game, but could be a résumé builder (for NCAA Tournament). Hey, I like the fact we are having something that’s a little bit different, (that) gets us out of the routine.”

Other Big 12/SEC Challenge games Saturday: Vanderbilt at Texas, West Virginia at Florida, Iowa State at Texas A&M;, Mississippi at Kansas State, Tennessee at TCU, Texas Tech at Arkansas, Oklahoma at LSU, Georgia at Baylor and Oklahoma State at Auburn.

On Monday morning’s Big 12 teleconference, before KU’s loss at Iowa State, Self said: “I don’t like the disruption of league play. I think the majority of coaches would probably agree with that, but for our league I think it will be great exposure. Teams will get a major exposure on ESPN throughout the entire day, which I think is very good for our league, but I think every coach would agree if time slots were available in December, it would be better for us. This is what we agreed to do. I think the advantages probably outweigh the negatives, even though I know nobody wants to step out of conference this late in conference season especially in a conference like ours and the SEC.”

Azubuike to announce today on ESPNU: KU today hopes to secure an oral commitment from Udoka Azubuike, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound senior center from Potter’s House Christian in Jacksonville, Fla., who will announce his college choice on ESPNU’s Recruiting Nation Show (5 p.m. Central time).

Azubuike — he is ranked No. 27 nationally by — has a final list of KU, North Carolina and Florida State, though some analysts believe FSU is now out of the picture. Azubuike, who played last summer for the Georgia Stars and in the past for Nike Team Florida, is originally from Lagos, Nigeria, but was raised in Delta State, Nigeria.

He’s been in the United States for three years, heading here to play after being discovered at a Basketball Without Borders clinic. A former soccer standout, he averaged 17.2 points and 9.6 rebounds per game last season. He’s averaging 19 points and 10 boards so far this year.

“I’m just so happy to be in this position,” Azubuike, who recently was chosen to play in the McDonald’s All-America game, told USA Today. “Just to have schools like North Carolina, Florida State and Kansas wanting me to come there and play for them is a blessing for me. But I definitely feel stress sometimes because I have to pick one. It’s fun when I can take my mind off of that sometimes.”

Azubuike’s summer dominance led to his peers voting him “Toughest Defensive Assignment” in the USA Today High School Sports AAU Awards and Superlatives.

Here is’s current assessment of Azubuike: “Azubuike has great size, length, athletic ability, mobility and coordination. He runs the floor extremely well. He is an above the rim finisher with power when he receives drop off passes created by dribble penetration. He also can get to the basket with one or two dribble clear paths. He area rebounds at rim level, blocks shots and simply makes opponents think twice about challenging him in the lane.

“Azubuike must continue to learn the game and skill-wise work on his hands, foot work and develop a move and counter move with his back to the basket.”


Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

Originally I was also concerned about this being right in the middle of the Big 12 season but now, like Self, this team needs a break from the Big 12 schedule. They need to play a tough 'exhibition' game against a quality opponent to get some confidence and moral back.

As for Azubuike here is what Bossi says;

"He is even more raw than I thought him to be. He does have good hands and he is quite powerful, but he is not fleet of foot and he doesn't look like a good fit in a running game because unless you are willing to wait for him to set up shop and make committed effort to force feeding him the ball, he's of little use because he's not a guy that is going to track down rebounds all over the floor. Gets lost a lot defensively and isn't really a rim protector -- though he is a space eater which in itself helps protect the rim in a non traditional way.

Want to see him again with high level guards and big men around him in McDonald's workouts, but right now I think he might be ranked a bit too highly and I'm not seeing him as a five-star prospect. I think he's going to fit best somewhere that doesn't mind slowing it down a bit and is committed to playing true power basketball because it's not like he's gonna be a guy you want facing the hoop and shooting jumpers or attacking off the dribble.

The way his high school team plays and the overall lack of BBIQ that they play with isn't a huge help in trying to evaluate Udoka so that could be working against him. Still borderline 4/5 star guy because of potential, size and strength."

Great...just great...another Bill Self project with a guy that has not developed a BBIQ, does not run the floor or knows how to play D...let alone the game. Great...from the sounds of it, maybe he goes to UNC.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

When Joel Embiid committed he wasn't ranked in the top 100 as a recruit. Coach Self and his staff helped him become the #3 pick (would have been 1 but for injury)

Unless Diallo has told him something about his plans that he hasn't made public, it's unlikely Az commits to Kansas at this point. Who knows?

Brett McCabe 6 years, 3 months ago

Embiid was not ranked because the updated rankings hadn't been posted. He was widely understood to be a top-30 recruit when he committed to Kansas. This myth that Self found someone completely off the radar needs to stop. Embiid was down to us, Florida and Texas indicating that he was a widely known and recruited entity.

If he hadn't sat out the Stanford game to protect his draft stock, he would have been the clear No. 1 prior to the foot injury.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for confirming both my points. This a better idea for you than trying in vain to argue.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

For whatever it's worth 247 Crystal Ball Predictions have Kansas at 75%. Not sure of the date these predictions were made but they should be fairly recent. Going back to Joel Embiid, you are correct in that Embiid was not ranked in the top 100 but he certainly wasn't an unknown commodity as several other top schools were also recruiting him.

Mason was ranked 133rd before dropping to 76th, Greene was 24th and fell to 29th. In what was arguably Coach Self's best recruiting class, the lowest-ranked player has probably been the most productive player from the overall second-ranked class of 2013.

I would really like to see us get Udoka Azubuike whether or not he is still is still considered to be a raw talent. Any good news at this point would be well received.

Tom Jones 6 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, because who wants a 4/5 star center that will stick around a few years?

Austin Lopez 6 years, 3 months ago

Danny Manning please come back to KU our bigs need you....

Robert Brock 6 years, 3 months ago

Welp, Wake Forest is currently 1-7 in ACC play.

Glen Miller 6 years, 3 months ago

Wake was decimated when he got there. He's getting some good recruits in there and if you've followed the games at all.... you would know that they are very competitive except for a few games here and there. I don't know if he will turn the program around or not, but they are in a much much better position now than they were. You can't turn a team around in just a year and a half when the cupboards are bare and you're going up against UNC, Duke and other ACC schools in recruiting. Give Danny some time and I would venture to say that his team will be pretty good.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

Haven't seen the word 'Welp' used very often anymore. Manning has not had near enough time to be evaluated as a head coach but his work with incoming post players is well known and well deserved.

Town Thomas 6 years, 3 months ago

Here is to Coach Self: (30/35) x 40 = 34.3 If your players' bodies used to play 40 minutes a game, they can only 34.3 minutes now. This explains why KU could only play 35 min with MSU and ISU.
The change from 35 seconds/ possession to 30 seconds/possession has made the game completely different. With 35 s/p, the minimum number of possessions a game was 69. The way KU used to play made it pretty close to this number. With 30 s/p, the minimum number has increased to 80. So if Coach Self used to play a player for 35 minutes, he should play him (30/35)x35 = 30 min in today's game. Please do not trim your rotation in a traditional way. It's a different game. Let your backups play at least 40-34.7= 5.3 minutes.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

Since it's an equation of movement, you need to use calculus and put the equation in differential form.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 3 months ago

Okay, when did we start posting in a foreign language on this site? I missed the memo.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago was posted in a covert NSA code.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

Those aren't covert anymore. Everyone has them from Hillary.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 3 months ago

Suzi is right. There are far too many variables for any simple equation then the one Town has come up with. Tempo, time outs, individual fitness, man-to-man v zone, ad nauseam.

Justin Kruse 6 years, 3 months ago

Couldn't agree more. This is a good time for this match-up and it's great that it's at AFH. Get our MOJO back and win the league.

Cameron Cederlind 6 years, 3 months ago

So that could be a rotation of Bragg/Coleby at the 4 and Lucas/Azubuike at the 5. Negatives are losing Ellis on offense, Positives are you won't be able to have Lucas/Traylor on the floor at the same time.

Barry Weiss 6 years, 3 months ago

Does the condensed rotation Self talked about earlier in the week apply to this game or just conference, if anyone knows? Sure would like to see some Svi, Bragg,Mickelson, Diallo and Greene.

Yonatan Negash 6 years, 3 months ago

When folks disagree with observation and opinions of others, they feel the need to respond negatively.

I recently posted an observation and an opinion based on 25 years of watching Kansas basketball .

To the idiot that responded with the following comments:

"Pure stupidity. Anything more specific only dignifies your idiocy." by Jay Scott

Listen, you don't know me so don't insult me. Secondly, if you don't agree with my opinion or observation do not feel the need to respond to my post.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

You'll notice that you were not insulted. Your comments were referred to as "idiocy" and "pure stupidity" Not you. You're likely a warm wonderful and caring person.

Would it have been kinder to go line by line and rehash all the idiotic comments and address again why they were nonsensical, even though it had been done several times by a several different people in the comments already posted?

Yonatan Negash 6 years, 3 months ago

You're a bit too much. Now you're trying to convince me that your post wasn't a direct insult. I'm not looking for your to be kinder, just try to be normal.

Listen, if you agree with the opinion or input of others, you really don't have to reply to their post. It's that simple.

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