Think Small

  • A review of Kansas’ roster leads to two pretty obvious conclusions – the 2014-15 Jayhawks will have an overwhelming wealth of perimeter talent. But the talent in the post, depth-wise, is questionable.

    Arguably, from a pure talent perspective, three of the four best players on this team could be Wayne Selden, Brannen Greene, and Kelly Oubre (with Alexander the fourth).

    At 6’5”, 6”7”, and 6’7”, those three perimeter players on the floor at the same time would create significant match up problems for any team. None, of course, can play on the ball. So the only option is to play those three at the 2, 3 and 4 spots if they are to be on the floor at the same time.

    Rewind to the Missouri Tigers of 2011-2012. MU played Kim English at the 4. Self started out both contests with TRob guarding English, only to relent and remove Withey from the game because our 4 couldn’t guard their 4. Frank Haith, for all of his failings, simply played his best players. For the 2014-15 Jayhawks, we know that Ellis and Alexander will start in the post, don’t we? I mean, it would take either injury, ineligibility, or some other cataclysmic event to start anyone else on KU’s roster in the post, right? So that’s set. No arguments there.

    With KU’s perimeter rotation, there is the significant chance that Brannen Greene just won’t play. Or Kelly Oubre. We know three things “for sure” on the perimeter:

    1. Self will have a base four man perimeter rotation, with a fifth guy getting scraps. It’s how it always is. It’s how it always will be.
    2. Of the four perimeter rotation players, two will have primary ball handling skills. That means two of Mason, Frankamp, Graham and Mykhailiuk. We know Selden does not qualify. Don’t really about Mykhailiuk yet.
    3. We know Selden will be part of the four man rotation.

    With those three “for sures”, that leaves Oubre vs. Greene – both competing for minutes at the 3 with the loser getting the same role as Greene did this past season (scraps). Why not give one of them some minutes, perhaps 10 per game, at the 4?

    Given their respective talent levels, they both demand playing time. Certainly both are more talented players than Lucas, Traylor, or Mickelson. So when Alexander or Ellis leave the game, what’s the best option? Perhaps half of that time would be going small.

    We have talked many times about KU going small. Rarely has coach Self gone that route. But heading into next season, Self has perhaps the least talented post grouping that he has had in many years. Add to that a presumptive freshman starter (Alexander) and Ellis’ defensive liabilities, and you have the chance that our post group will be our Achilles’ heel. Certainly, it could be our weak link. We don’t have senior Tarick Black and rim protector Joel Embiid. Instead, we have 6’8” Cliff Alexander and the inclusion of Traylor, Lucas, or Mickelson as the 3rd post player. The third post player will still get big minutes. Shifting small for a larger percentage of game action will limit the 4th post player’s minutes more substantially.

    Ask yourself this – how does an opposing 4 effectively guard Oubre or Greene? Rarely will it happen.

    The next question will be whether Oubre or Greene can guard the opposing 4. But what we have seen, nearly definitively, is that talented teams that go small dictate an adjustment by bigger teams. It’s easier to double team the bigger post player than guard the smaller player out on the floor. Certainly, there are times that it may not work. But generally, it does. If opposing teams answer by going small as well, I’ll take our talent any day.

    In an 8 man rotation, the best use of our talent is to go with two ball handlers, along with Selden, Oubre, Greene; then Alexander, Ellis, and say Mickelson. Then Traylor or Lucas for scrap minutes. Last season, four post guys got rotation minutes. This season, the best use of our talent might be to transfer some of the minutes given to the 4th post player to the 5th perimeter player. Get more talent on the floor. Get your best players on the floor.

    Self has said Brannen Greene is an NBA talent. Self has never said that about Jamari Traylor. Using the pick and pop 4 can provide offensive diversity, increase pace, exploit match-ups, change the flow of the game when needed, and create better offensive production. And for the time when we utilize this change-up, Self can scheme the defense to cover match-up issues, so long as the match-up is not completely overwhelming.

    I’m hoping that Self strongly considers large doses of a small lineup. This option, perhaps for 25% of the game, can get our most talented players on the floor. Being able to play both big and small, having significant in-season experience with both, and getting guys comfortable in those roles, can only help come March. And that may, in the end, translate to a more successful season.

  • @HighEliteMajor You did lose me for a bit when I believe you recommended we take a page from Missouri. The '11-'12 MU team that lost to Norfolk St. Missouri. I’ve reported this to the site administrators, as obviously someone has hacked the account of HEM. Missouri?

    Really, I get the desire to make sure Greene gets on the court. The problem I think is as you stated, can Greene guard the opposing 4. Also, while not as talented as Greene, I’m a big fan of Jamari Traylor. He’s improved by pretty substantial leaps since coming to KU. If he makes another leap, he might close that talent gap. At the very least, we know he brings an equal amount of athleticism, while lacking in skill. I’m also reserving judgment on Mickelson. Until I see him, I don’t know that not giving him minutes is preferable to giving them to Greene (or Oubre) in the post.

    Playing small is I think something Self should have in the bag. But then again, there’s a lot of things over the years that I’ve thought should be available to use when circumstances dictate, yet we rarely see Self stray from his in-game formula.

  • @icthawkfan316 one game, late last year, Greene did play the 4. Not sure who the 5 man was, but it could have been Mari. Just remember Greene said afterward that they had practiced it a little that week. That would be a great pressing group. I’m anxious to see Alexander and Mari play together.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I like it. (Except the mizzery stuff!).

    I wonder:

    1. Would a 30 second shot clock influence HCBS to play more guys?

    2. How many deep did HCRW go? I remember him subbing five guys whenever he got frustrated w the 5 on the court…but did he consistently play more than 8?

    3. Will this team play better defense? If not, will we see any zone? (HEM softball question I know…it’s late).

  • @VailHawk not HEM, but I think our D will be better! Guessing not much zone, what do you think? I’m definitely not a fan of 5 in and 5 out! I thought he did that more at NC.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 @VailHawk I remember the 5 in 5 out a lot here at KU. I think though usually at least 1 or 2 guys were non-rotation level players (walk-ons in some cases).

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Self said SELBY was an NBA-type player, so not sure how much to read into him saying Greene is one.

    We enter many seasons fearing our returning big men won’t be good enough, but most seasons one makes a big improvement and 3-4 form a solid rotation. Mickelson is apt to be very solid at 5 and Lucas appears ready to become a credible 15-20 mpg back up.

    Self has often gone small, when long can’t guard short situationally, but…

    Going short as a season long Tao would probably require actual 38-40% trifectates at 1-3 plus one at either 4 or 5, as per Fizzou and Wisconsin. Presently, the team’s only proven 40% trey gun is The Designer.

    Next, Perry, at a true 6-7 and Traylor at a true 6-6 actually are going small at the 4, so if Greene has bulked up there is no reason he couldn’t play 4, but…

    Greene will probably be needed to back up Oubre 20 mpg to get a trey gun in half the time at the 3.

    Finally, I expect Selden to improve his dribbling and become effectively a wing PG to conserve his energy for dominating games on offense. It is also a good backup role for Svi. This will let Self get by with most anyone at point, where Svi will also play some. Over the season I would expect the team to gravitate toward a lot of Selden and Svi, especially vs. UK. 😃 Over time the third guard will be which ever one protects and trifectates best.

  • @HighEliteMajor HEM, in my humble opinion, the coaching staff will drift toward March Doom if it gravitates toward 8-man rotation this season. Too much talent of a wide variety. Perry Ellis represents the prime example of this year’s very gifted Jayhawk who should probably play no more than 23-26 minutes per game…because someone on the bench can pop on the court with fresh legs and more defensive intensity to offset his deficiencies. This group shrieks for 9-10 man rotation. In a recent interview, Brannen Greene declared that Bill Self had hinted at such. I hope to see it. There is bound to be some snarling of players and fans if the 2014-15 squad collapses again midMarch into April…while compensatory talent wilts on the pine.

  • @REHawk Let’s hope not.

  • On 3 occasions, in the 10 year league winning span, Bil Self and staff have done a marvelous job of rising to the occasion of securing a title with no returning starters. This season we return two starters. The challenge is to weave so many talented newcomers and gifted returning bench players into another sweep toward Big 12 supremacy. Every position on this squad is filled with at least a pair of very gifted aspirants, most of whom bear labels of recognized deficiencies (height, speed, wingspan, toughness, D1 inexperience, etc.). If his legs are back to 100%, Selden might be the one exception. Threading so many positives into the carpet, while hiding or compensating for deficiencies, will undoubtedly be a stressful but joyful task for Self and Co. Once again, hopes spring toward another Top 10 team and a run for the national title. But, essentially, even though Selden is likely gone after this season, this looks to be another building year, a springboard toward a 2015-16 Championship.

  • @jaybate 1.0 Selby absolutely was an NBA-type player. He would be in the league now had one of two things happened:

    1. He hadn’t had the nightmare freshman season derailed by suspension & injuries

    2. He would have came back for his sophomore season to show scouts what he was capable of.

    Either of those things happen, he goes in the first round, has a guaranteed contract, and is almost certainly on a roster somewhere today.

  • I think we have many guys of various size who can handle the ball fairly well.

    We should take advantage of that by running both over-sized and under-sized lineups at times not only to see what works, but to get prepared for anything we might face this year.

    For example, Kentucky has 3 quality footers on their roster. What if they came at us with all three on the court at the same time? Match that up with their huge perimeter and they are larger than any NBA team ever.

    And then there will be other opponents who will be small but play solid x-axis basketball. Going small can work. Going small may even be the answer when playing Kentucky, if we learn to exploit the x-axis advantages from playing small.

  • Banned

    Let me throw this one out there. What if we were to see Ellis step out on the perimeter and play some three? Hey it could be done. The kid has a pretty good jump shot.

  • I hope to see a great deal of Greene this year. I personally think he is the real deal and is a future NBA player.

    I also feel that Traylor is a solid contributor who will get plenty of minutes this year. He improves every year and we saw large improvements even within the season last year. To me he is the first “big” off the bench for Ellis and Alexander without any question. He is proven as a guy who can block shots and is a superior athlete to Mickleson and Lucas even though he gives up size.

  • @DoubleDD

    “Let me throw this one out there. What if we were to see Ellis step out on the perimeter and play some three? Hey it could be done. The kid has a pretty good jump shot.”

    I think Perry will have to make a move on his game… either towards becoming a banger in the paint or move his game outside which would include minutes at the 3.

    Neither move will be easy for him.

    He’ll have to up his long range shooting skills and improve his ball handling, including being able to score off the dribble (if he wants minutes at the 3).

    And load this on top of his need to improve his defense.

    Perry has his work cut out for him!

    I hope we see him target one of those areas this year and show big improvements.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    “The next question will be whether Oubre or Greene can guard the opposing 4.”

    I’m not expecting to see this happen in my lifetime… but I’d like to see CS start coaching with more of a NBA style. That means, on defense, it is all about match-ups. There will be several players Oubre or Greene won’t be able to guard, and others they will be able to contain quite well. The key is to start dismissing the position on the court, and look more at the attributes of the competition, what moves they like to make, and then decide what players can best defend those moves.

    The future in college basketball will give big prizes (National Championships) to those coaches who start coaching with more thoughts on match-ups. I have to give the Mayor (Fred) credit at ISU for exploiting that philosophy on offense, and look how far it has lifted ISU in a short time. If he can put that same philosophy on his defense he’ll become one of the best coaches in college basketball, bar none.

    Imagine if we would focus on exploiting match-ups on our offense? We’ve had some very talented offensive players in the past that were limited within the structure of our offense. For the most part of the season it works very well in winning league championships. But the problem is we have no flexibility and that gets exposed every March.

  • The challenge that KU faces is that their best players are almost all wing players. Looking back at the Mizzou example that @HighEliteMajor provided, that group featured Marcus Denmon (PG), Phil Pressey (PG) and Michael Dixon (PG). Having three of your best players all able to act as primary ball handlers is great because you can always play multiple ball handlers together.

    With wing players, that’s not the case. A ball handler can move off the ball and play on the wing, but someone always has to act as the primary ball handler. Against smaller teams, KU could play a 4 out look and have Selden, Oubre and Greene all on the floor together, somewhat similar to what Iowa State has done in recent years, but I don’t think they can use that as their primary look because they need ball handlers.

    You also have to consider the possibility that three of their best six players could be Alexander, Ellis and Mickelson. There’s also the distinct possibility that six of the best seven players will be Alexander, Ellis, Oubre, Selden, Greene and Mickelson. If that’s the case we could end up in a situation where we are desperate for ball handling in all of our potential lineups.

  • I can get with the general premise here, and even Self has recently opined that he’d be more likely to play small with his incoming talent, but there are a couple of things worth considering:

    We don’t have senior Tarick Black and rim protector Joel Embiid. Instead, we have 6’8” Cliff Alexander and the inclusion of Traylor, Lucas, or Mickelson as the 3rd post player. The third post player will still get big minutes. Shifting small for a larger percentage of game action will limit the 4th post player’s minutes more substantially.

    Our knee-jerk reaction is that 6’8" is undersized for an NCAA 4 (let alone an NBA big man), but it’s important to remember that not all 6’8" are created equal. Big Cliff is nearly the exact same dimensions (wingspan and standing reach) and weight as TRob. TRob definitely wasn’t undersized for his position at the college level (and now that he’s been given a decent chance to show what he can do, he’s proving that he can defend well against NBA size too), and TRob didn’t come to us with Big Cliff’s rep as a shot blocker (and as good a rebounder). Alexander played with and against the much bigger Jahlil Oakafor, and if you watched the Nike Hoop Summit, you know he did a great job defending much taller bigs. In other words, Alexander’s 6’8" isn’t Perry Ellis’ 6’8". The bigger question with Alexander is how quickly he’ll learn to score against NCAA size. Will he be able to bully his way to the rim the way he did in HS? I think he will (Julius Randle was able to and doesn’t have near Alexander’s length to back up the beef, although Randle has more skill).

    When Self called Mickelson a poor man’s Jeff Withey, he wasn’t wrong, but that’s like saying Mark Zuckerberg is a poor man’s Bill Gates (the former is only worth $23B compared to the latter’s $77B ). Mickelson is likely a better shot blocker than Joel Embiid. The freshman block record that Mickelson set at Arkansas was done while only playing 16 mpg. His bock rate clocked in at 13.3%, good for 8th in the nation that season. That was the same year JW had a nation leading 15.2% block rate and Anthony Davis was considered a terror for his 13.7% block rate. Embiid was only able to block 11.5% of shots while on the floor. Now, while it’s obvious that Mickelson in now way compares to AD or Embiid in terms of overall talent/impact, I don’t think he’s an unknown quantity. His block rate did drop considerably when Mike Anderson took over for Pelphery, but that was due to 1) Anderson having Mickelson gain weight and 2) Anderson’s up and down style of play which looks to cause TOs rather than defend shots. Maybe most KU fans aren’t familiar with his game, but I’ve seen Mickelson play in person enough to be confident in his defense (my father teaches at Arkansas and I usually attend games when I visit), especially now that he’s back down to about 225 lbs. Offensively, he’s not going to wow anyone, but he can hit a hook shot or finish a lob. Self has raved a bit about his J, but he’s only slightly better than the NCAA average of hitting 36% on jumpers. He’s probably a better threat against a zone compared to Traylor (being taller and having a decent J), but I don’t see Bam-Bam’s minutes dropping off too much either.

    So again, while I agree that maximizing our talent will likely mean playing some small ball (and why not use Greene as a stretch 4? Ellis is really more of a 3 than a 4 already), I don’t think we lack depth in the post the way we did in 2012 or 2013. We just don’t have much offensive talent coming off the bench compared to last year (unless Traylor adds a J and a turnaround this off-season).

  • @konkeyDong

    “In other words, Alexander’s 6’8” isn’t Perry Ellis’ 6’8"."

    Love your comment!

    And thanks for feeding us info on Mickelson. I haven’t experienced any of his game, but on paper he appears to have great shot blocking potential for Kansas. Loved reading how he is lighter but stronger. Rarely is that a bad thing for bball players.

    He can be effective on offense by playing smart. He may not have the best tool box in the post… but if he learns to read defenses and takes the right scoring angles in the post and only shoots what he is comfortable shooting, he should maintain a high FG%. If he can do that, he can leverage his high FG% to draw in the defense when he gets the ball, creating scoring space for our perimeter guys he can throw assists to. He’s a guy that really has to bring smarts with him if he wants to earn his fair share of PT. He seems like he has good basketball smarts.

  • @icthawkfan316

    Absolutely agree on Selby. He tore it up in the Summer League and was co-MVP with none other than Lillard and he played well in the D-League as well and look at how their careers have gone in opposite directions,

    Mario had the “perfect storm” situation in a good way while Selby ad the “perfect storm” in the opposite direction. He is still young and if he can get a decent agent and land in a good situation, he can still log some time in the League.

  • @icthawkfan316 I agree with you that Selby was an NBA-type player and that if he would have come back for a second season, he would probably be in the NBA right now. However, when a person is in poverty, there is not really an option to wait another year. I hope that someday the NCAA will allow some of these kids to borrow money against their future earnings in order that their families can survive. Both Selby and McLemore–and I’m sure many more across the country–would have stayed longer.

  • @Wigs2 we’ve had quite a few kids that were down on their luck, and yet their moms and Cole’s dad moved here and found jobs to get them thru till their kids were ready for the NBA, or overseas ball. I really hope Selby can turn things around, Sherron too.

  • Update on some Jhawks

    Former Jayhawks Mario Little and Josh Selby and Team FOE were not able to pull out a win against Sideline Cancer. With only 4 players active on their roster Team FOE fell 99-106 despite Selby scoring 44 points on 13-28 shooting. Mario Little finished with 24 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists.

  • @drgnslayr Don’t you think that Greene or Oubre guarding an opposing 4 for short stretches can be overcome by double teaming on the block – in the same manner SDSU attacked us? But your point – “Imagine if we would focus on exploiting match-ups on our offense?” – is literally the first subject I would be interested in asking coach Self. Why not exploit match-ups?

    @konkeyDong - Thanks for highlighting my misspelling of Tarik Black’s first name. Much appreciated. I think Mickelson could seize the 3rd post spot, if he truly can be a semi-rim protector. But like @icthawkfan316, I have no idea – in watching Mickelson at the scrimmage last season, I’ve mentioned before that he seemed to have a flat shot. And you’re correct on the size thing with 6’8" players. In fact, I don’t disagree with much of what you said. Excellent points. But I do think that we lack quality depth in the post. I guess it’s just 1) my lack of faith in Traylor, and 2) the belief that Lucas is destined for life on the bench. I was actually pretty impressed with Lucas. Back to a point I made a long while back – we only really need one to hit (Lucas, Traylor Peters). And now Mickelson is there instead of Peters. Your recognition of the lack of offensive talent off the bench in the post is really why I see going small more often as a legitimate game plan.

    @justanotherfan - Great distinction there on MU. Their three perimeter guys were ball handlers. And I’m sure by now you know how I value that skill. I would say this, in going small as I mentioned – it could be CF, Graham, Selden, Oubre, Alexander. Could be Mason, CF, Graham, Greene, Mickelson. But I think having one point guard, say Mason – then Selden, Oubre, Greene. That gives us a solid PG, then adequate secondary ball handing (vs. ball handlers) through the 4th spot (assuming Oubre is = to Greeene). That said, our base lineup would have less ball handling than going small, correct?

    @REHawk - When you say that this season may mirror last season as a “building year”, isn’t that a not so subtle indictment of the one and done merry go round? And why do you think we’ll be better a year from now? Won’t we have either more OADs in the post, or reliance on very low ranked guys? I really wish we would have scored a top 50 post player in this latest round of recruiting.

    @VailHawk - 1) On the 30 second clock, truthfully, I don’t know that Self would do anything differently. 2) Roy played tight rotations many times, such as in 1997. He’d flip guys in, but he would tighten things up as I recall. 3) Could we play worse defense? I would say that we will likely be better defensively. Tharpe won’t be on the floor. Oubre and Alexander are both considered “plus” defenders. But as for zone defense, I won’t hold my breath.

    @icthawkfan316 - might I ask, why are you a big fan of Traylor? Did learning that Stanford schemed with Traylor’s offensive limitations in mind have any impact on that? I do like the guy’s game, to an extent. He’s a big guy that’s not big. He did improve. But he just seems limited.

  • @HighEliteMajor Why am I a big fan of Traylor?

    Well, I like his story. You can’t help but not root for the guy, knowing what he went through, where he’s come from.

    But that really doesn’t have anything to do with basketball. So from a basketball perspective, he brings tremendous energy. And that’s pretty much all he was his freshman year - an energy guy. A hustle guy. Then last year he progressed and was able to put the ball on the floor and drive to the hoop. He showed a face-up jumper on occasion. And he’s athletic. For a guy who hasn’t been playing basketball that long, seeing his improvement, I think it’s worth seeing if he continues to improve. He’s not on an Embiid-like trajectory, but he’s still moving upwards.

    Not sure what bringing up the Stanford game has to do with anything. I’m not advocating that the guy start or that we run offense through him. I’m saying he should continue to see rotation level minutes off the bench. I’d actually say if teams want to game-plan to stop a the 3rd or 4th post player, let them. Let them all day. We should have enough talent that if that’s what they’re game planning for we can make the pay in other areas. Should.

    And there’s always the fact that Traylor saved us from an embarrassing first round defeat against Eastern Kentucky with a 17 point, 14 rebound performance.

    So I guess that’s a little bit of why I’m a fan of Traylor.

    Yes he is somewhat limited, although again he keeps improving so maybe not so much this next year? And I’d argue that Greene in the post is limited. I’m not against seeing Greene at the 4 in certain situations. But I would argue that Traylor fits better into what Self will want to do without creating a bunch of new wrinkles or having to cover him defensively. And at the end of the day, I have to wonder if this isn’t just an academic discussion, much like the use of a zone. We’ve seen Self have success going smaller before, using AW3 in the role. Then he abandoned it. Is there any reason to think he’ll regularly use such a plan?

  • @icthawkfan316 Yea, I know you’re not saying he should start. You made your case pretty good there for Traylor. I absolutely love his story. An inspiration for everyone, everywhere. And yes, he did save us vs. EKU.

    How cool would it be … bear with me here … if our starting 4 and 5 in 2015-16 were Traylor and Lucas and they perform well. Actually, l do like that idea better than a couple more OADs. Psychotic, I know. But I’m all for getting off the merry go round.

    Now, where I do take a little issue with you is – “I’d actually say if teams want to game-plan to stop a the 3rd or 4th post player, let them.”

    You do realize that this one fact may have cost us the win vs. Stanford? And that’s why I brought it up. We could have made adjustments, I know. But Stanford apparently thought that isolating Traylor was a wise move. What changes next season if he’s our 3rd post guy? If you’re an opposing coach, don’t you say, “when Traylor’s in the game, make him beat us” and focus on Ellis and/or Alexander because of the significant offensive drop off?

    I just see Traylor as a good 4th post player, not the 3rd. I guess that’s where I sit on him.

    That being said, he is on an upward trajectory. Would be nice to see.

    You asked - “Is there any reason to think he’ll regularly use such a plan?” I know, there’s little reason to think Self will really jump in with both feet. But I enjoy this sort of discussion. And I always remain hopeful that Self can become magically flexible in his advancing age.

  • @icthawkfan316 I also love Mari, the same way I think of Trob and Ben! Mari surprised me last year, hope he continues to improve. I loved the hustle when Tarik and Mari played together. Looking for the same thing w/Mari and Cliff. Time to move on from the Stanford game!

  • @HighEliteMajor Well and really he was the 4th post player this year, until Embiid got hurt. But I guess where I took issue was when you say he should get scraps of minutes in that role, whereas last year he saw regular minutes in that role as the 4th big.

    Of course part of that might have been the unique chemistry he developed with our 3rd big - Tarik Black. We’ve certainly seen the 4th post man get scraps of minutes before as opposed to rotation level minutes.

    I’m for getting off the merry-go-round as well. Originally, I was a “take talent when you can get it” guy, but AW3 was the breaking point for me. Before, it was pretty much end of the bench guys transferring. Or the occasional nuisance (Giddens). But never has a dedicated, highly ranked guy transferred out before quite like that. And I was all for his transferring, as you know. For his sake.

    I’m also not opposed to the hypothetical discussions either. Flexibility would be nice wouldn’t it?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I don’t know anything about Selby’s mom or other members of the family. Not everyone can pick up and move across country. If they were counting on Josh having a decent income in a year, or if there are younger siblings, moving to Kansas for a few monthsmay not have been feasible. I’m still pulling for him.

  • @Wigs2 considering the alternative, I wish it could have happened. Somebody was pushing him for the big pay off. Makes me sad!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    " Don’t you think that Greene or Oubre guarding an opposing 4 for short stretches can be overcome by double teaming on the block – in the same manner SDSU attacked us?"

    Absolutely! And sometimes smaller players are just capable on their own to guard the post. To me, it is more about body strength and knowing how to use it, than just a height issue. And sometimes small guys have a natural instinct for being good scrappers in the post. The only way to find out is to try them and see if they make it a personal challenge.

    Sometimes little guys are much better at hedging off the passing angles, too. Sometimes it is the little guy that is able to stop teams from feeding into the post.

  • @Wigs2 there’s a new video on u tube from josh Selby. It was leading up to that tournament where FOE just got beat out first round. They only had 4 players. He was wanting to showcase himself, hopeful for a return to the NBA. Maybe his luck will change! To bad a kid can’t go back(college) if he can’t make it!

  • @HighEliteMajor This discussion on Traylor and Stanford gameplanning him is highly peculiar. First, Tarik Black (18pts) made Stanford pay, and he was the known starter coming in. Traylor, for the season, had an insanely high FG% because he has focused intensely on the garbage-type buckets (most of his points are not designed plays for him), and the big-to-big passing he has a knack for (especially with Black). Now him putting it on the deck and penetrating is a little bit of his own swagger trying to do some of what TRob did, and I do like that. His % is very good at finishing. So, actually, statistically, it wouldnt make any sense for Stanford to ‘gameplan’ for a garbage/transition guy like Traylor.

    Let me make the Traylor point more succintly: Traylor is a steady, bench guy. He is not a nightly double-double. If his EKY outing with 18/15 was a coming out party, then great. But as of now, his performance vs. EKY was a statistical aberration, so I just dont think Stanford would gameplan him specifically. Actually, so was his statistical performance (FG%) vs. Stanford–a statistical aberration, as he’s usually a great finisher for the shots he takes.

    Sadly, Ellis’ performance was not a statistical aberration. Ellis simply did what he does against bigger, or more physical opponents: didnt finish. Oh man, if we could graft Traylor’s FG% into Ellis somehow…OR, put Ellis’s finesse skills into Traylor’s brain. Or give Ellis some of Traylor’s determination and aggression.

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