Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Guards Graham, Mason like ‘peanut butter and jelly’ for Kansas basketball

Kansas guards Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham lip sync the words to "Let It Burn" by Usher, during some down time from interviews in the "Social Media" room as part of Big 12 Media Day on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016 at Sprint Center.

Kansas guards Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham lip sync the words to "Let It Burn" by Usher, during some down time from interviews in the "Social Media" room as part of Big 12 Media Day on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016 at Sprint Center.


— Early Tuesday on a radio appearance from Big 12 Media Day at Sprint Center, Kansas State coach Bruce Weber expressed his opinion that the rival Jayhawks own the nation’s best backcourt.

The fifth-year K-State coach was talking about KU senior Frank Mason III and junior Devonte’ Graham, of course, and even though he did not go as far as his Sunflower State contemporary, KU coach Bill Self did nothing to change the tone of Weber’s comments.

“I don’t know who everybody else has,” Self said. “But I wouldn’t trade my guys for anybody. I don’t care who they are. But to say that we’re the best, I think they would even tell you, ‘Well, let’s wait and see how it plays out.’ But going into the season, I don’t know if there’s a coach that could be more comfortable with his guard play than what we are.”

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self at Big 12 Media Day

KU coach Bill Self talks about the upcoming season and changes in the Big 12 at Tuesday's Big 12 Media Day in Kansas City, Mo.

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Dynamic and dangerous running the show on the court, Self confirmed that Graham and Mason are very different off the floor. But most of that, Self said, can be chalked up to each player’s specific personality.

“They’re different, but they still enjoy the same things even though they’re different,” he said. “One’s talkative, one’s quiet. One’s very outgoing, one’s not. But they complement each other very well.

“I’m sure somebody will come up with some expression to talk about ’em, not peanut butter and jelly, but they go together well. And they’re definitely better together than they are separate, and they both know that.”

‘He’s unpacked his bags’

Of all the glowing things Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has said about freshman phenom Josh Jackson, the one that might have carried with it the highest praise was a comment he uttered Tuesday at Big 12 Media Day at Sprint Center about Jackson’s commitment to college basketball and KU.

“I’ll announce it to everybody,” Self began during the breakout session at Tuesday’s event. “We anticipate Josh being here for nine months, OK? But the good thing about Josh is he’s unpacked his bags. Sometimes kids go to college but their sight is on the next thing. If his sight is on the next thing, he doesn’t let anybody in Lawrence, Kansas, know it.”

It’s that mentality that already has made Jackson a perfect fit for the veteran Kansas team that returns three starters from last year’s Elite Eight squad.

Go Cubs Go?

During the past couple of Major League Baseball postseasons, Self has had it easy when it comes to finding a team to back. All he had to do was pull for the local team, the Kansas City Royals, who won the AL Pennant in 2014 and followed it up with a world championship a year later.

So who is Self pulling for in this year’s Fall Classic, which pits championship-starved baseball franchises Chicago and Cleveland?

“I like the Royals,” Self said. “I have always liked the Cubs. I am not going to be that fair-weather fan that is jumping on the bandwagon, but I would like to see the Cubs win.”

Coach Lucas?

By years alone, KU forward Landen Lucas is the most experienced Jayhawk on this season’s roster. But it’s what he has done in those years — on the court or the bench — that has impressed Self the most. And Lucas is not leaving any of the lessons he learned during his first four years as a Jayhawk in the bag heading into his final season.

“Landen is the best assistant coach there is because he coaches (freshman center) Udoka (Azubuike) every day,” Self said. “Like, if Udoka does something he’ll literally walk on the floor and point and say, ‘No, Dok. This is where you need to do this, this is why we do this,’ then remove himself right there. And he’s good at it. It’s not something we tell him to do. And I think he’s taken great pride in getting Dok ready. Probably about as good as anybody I’ve ever been around. I’m not sure I’ve been around anybody that coaches young kids better than he does.”

The reason for Lucas’ willingness to help his young teammate along goes well beyond his nice-guy demeanor. His answer to a Tuesday question about the missing piece of his KU career explains that clearly.

“It’s definitely the Final Four,” he said. “You come here and you expect that you should make the Final Four during your time here and I have yet to do that. So that’s something that I hope to do. And last year we got so close.”

Big man update

Asked for an update on the battle between junior Dwight Coleby and freshman Mitch Lightfoot for the second-big-man-the-bench job, Self said that neither player had separated himself from the other two weeks into practice.

“They've both done fine. Both are doing pretty good," Self said. "But Dwight is still not 100 percent. He’s structurally fine, (from his 2015 ACL surgery) but he’s still dragging it a little bit. Mitch is going to be good, but Mitch is young, green and doesn’t totally understand yet."

Asked what might determine which player gets whatever minutes might be available for that spot in the rotation, Self pointed to specifics.

"(It'll be decided) probably by match-ups," Self said. "If the other team plays a pick-and-pop 4, who can get to him the best? Or maybe, if we're trying to grind it (and) throw it inside, which guy can be the best at that.... It'll probably be situations as much as anything else."


Jay Scott 5 years, 8 months ago

I wonder Joe... If a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly are the same height and weight, are they the same it like Perry Ellis and Harrison Barnes are identical in skills, position and potential because they're the same height and weight? How does the Joe Ross Axiom apply in this case?

Eric Bernauer 5 years, 8 months ago

Jay, I don't know you and I don't know Joe, but your constant snipes come across as awfully immature. You're both Jayhawk fans even if you disagree on certain ideas.

Jay Scott 5 years, 8 months ago

Snipes? You make it sound like this isn't serious. Believe me. The Joe Ross Axiom is very serious.

Gerry Butler 5 years, 8 months ago

How can it be serious, when NOBODY can take you serious because of your immaturity. How about this try focusing on the article at hand other then Joe. Seems like you have a really simple game plan. It's either BASH JOE OR constant talking smack on Coach Beaty but thanks for stopping by and you have a GREAT DAY

Jay Scott 5 years, 8 months ago

Talk smack on Coach Beaty? Damn son, you're a fool. I'm 100% sure I've never criticized Beaty.

Eliott Reeder 5 years, 8 months ago

EVERYBODY on here hates you, Jay. Please... delete your account.

Jay Scott 5 years, 8 months ago

What you mean Elliot is, "All the idiots like Elliot hate Jay"

Maybe that's the point Elliot?

Benz Junque 5 years, 8 months ago

Jay, your shtick is getting really old.

Ralph Huge 5 years, 8 months ago

It's beyond old. But once Jay doesn't get the attention he craves by attacking Joe, he'll move on to another poster. Someone who Jay doesn't believe lives up to his high standards & Basketball IQ, which is balanced by his immaturity & lack of control. He can't let a comment that simply asks him to 'play nice' go without slamming the individual who "speaks" up.

I give Joe a lot of credit for ignoring this rube!

Jay Scott 5 years, 8 months ago

Would you like the link to the 40-50 ugly responses Joe made when his asinine ideas were debunked. Joe can only ignore because he's an idiot. Do you want to back his idea?

Gerry Butler 5 years, 8 months ago

Dam skippy, are you that infatuated with Joe? I swear to GOD every single time he comments or I come to this site to get a quality read -- there you are stalking this guy? how about this - -Grow the F - - - up. Good God man give it a rest. We as other readers do not get off by your personal assault on Joe. Did you even bother to read the article or what it was about OR did you just go straight to the comment section to see if Joe had posted? GROW UP

Jay Scott 5 years, 8 months ago

What was your comment on the story? Nothing? Except to argue with someone about something you don't understand? Accuse someone of slamming Coach Beaty that has never done such a thing?

Grow up. Joe's ideas are stupid enough without your kind of help.

Gerry Butler 5 years, 8 months ago

you are the epidemy of Stupid -- if you were to go to Webster's and find the meaning we would see your picture. I get so tired of seeing you blast this guy. Oh I understand, I understand that all you get off on is a vendetta on Joe.As you can see I'm BY FAR am not the only that is really tired of your episodes. If you can't give some input about whatever the subject instead of focusing on Joe then just don't say anything at all would be GREATLY APPRECIATED. But hey thanks for stopping by and sayin absolutely nothing of substance. - -HAVE A GREAT DAY

Steve Corder 5 years, 8 months ago

The elusive and coveted "chemistry" every great team needs.

Ryan Zimmerman 5 years, 8 months ago

That karaoke video of Josh and Landon was awful. I'm glad we'll see them on the court and not the stage anytime soon:)

Daniel Parker 5 years, 8 months ago

16 days and my tickets for the Armed Forces Classic the day they moved the venue and went on sale through a friend who is a University of Hawaii booster. Looking forwards to a great year....Rock Chalk

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 8 months ago

My biggest takeaway from the article is the role that Landen Lucas is playing, and hopefully will play, in the future of KU basketball.

I think that he has pro potential, but if not or once that is done, I hope there is a spot for him back at KU. He is a true gem with total class and character. Another great example of stellar parenting.

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