Report: Embiid Broken Foot?

  • More injury news for Joel. This isn’t good.


  • @Kip_McSmithers I’m sick for him!

  • Oh boy, I hate this.

    You are in our thoughts and prayers, big guy. Heal quickly.

  • Gotta wonder now how far he’s gonna fall. Could be someone gets an unexpected great pick. But if I’m a GM, this on top of the back injury so close together with him having such a small sample size playing basketball…still top 5? Top 10?

  • Worse than a back injury for a basketball player. Walton, for example, never was able to play at full strength because of recurring foot injuries. So many bones. So much stress.

  • The past is littered with great talents brought along too fast.

    Embiid is just another one.

    If you get injured playing D1, it only figures when you play with mature players you will be hamburger. You were right not to play any more last year, but you were a fool to opt for the L. Your broken foot is god’s way of saying you’re not ready, dummy.

    He is probably already a footnote.

    Pitiful advice to go pro. He should sue the dolt that gave it to him.

  • @jaybate 1.0 dummy is a poor choice of names, he is a Jayhawk!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Knowing jaybate (well, you know) I get the impression that was a global “dummy”, directed at about anyone in the same position. Or at least a big brother “jab in the ribs” type of “dummy”. I’m sure he meant no ill will.

    And I agree a billion percent that Joel was either given very poor advice or made a very poor decision to go pro. I didn’t like Wiggins going pro either, but at least he was familiar with the game. Truly, Joel has to learn HOW to play basketball. He is physically gifted, but needs much more time to learn the nuances of the game.

  • @741hawk

    “So many bones. So much stress.”

    My thoughts, too.

  • I was always the guy telling players to stick it out in school. None of these guys are ready for the pros.

    I’m starting to think otherwise. Basketball beyond HS is just downright plagued with injuries. Maybe guys should grab the money and run while they have the chance.

    Just look at how many Jayhawk players have gone down during the Self era. Many have been injured and it wasn’t reported to save their draft dreams.

    I’m starting to think that if JoJo had decided to return, he would have gone down to injury this year (again) as a Jayhawk.

    In my books, I’m starting to slide the game of basketball over into the category of football when it comes to risk of injury. I know, I know… football is rougher, but we can’t discount the impact of playing on a hard surface, especially without body pads.

    Football, basketball, tennis (and other sports) have sort of come to a point where the advancement of athletic training works against the athlete.

    Athletes are competitors, and competitors want to win. In order to win today you must over-train your body. Hence… fast-twitch muscles are maximized for performance. But other areas around these muscles remain the same (or at least, do not strengthen to an equal degree). Players are hitting harder, jumping higher, making cuts faster. Their bodies can’t keep up, plus the training is so much more intense.

    After taking that into consideration, I’m starting to think that athletes need to take the money when they can. Get in, cash in, and try their best to play safe (to whatever degree that can).

    I’ve suffered sports-related injuries that I’ll have to live with until I die. I wasn’t good enough to make big bucks. It’s a b*tch to deal with it all and not have created a nest egg from the sacrifice.

  • Before we all go into full-fledged freak-out mode over this, here’s a little more information about navicular fractures:

    The navicular plays an important role in maintaining the medial longitudinal arch of the foot. Commonly, fractures of the navicular are not evident on plain radiographs. This often leads to a delay in diagnosis, which may result in prolonged disabling foot pain in individuals, particularly young athletes. The 4 types of navicular fractures are (1) cortical avulsion, (2) tuberosity, (3) body, and (4) stress.[1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

    Cortical and tuberosity avulsion fractures Avulsion fracture, the most common fracture of the navicular, is often associated with ligamentous injuries and results from twisting forces on the mid foot. These fractures are commonly treated conservatively, except for avulsion of the posterior tibial tendon insertion (tuberosity fracture), which may be repaired operatively, especially if a proximal dislocation of 1 cm or more is present. An avulsion of the posterior tibial tendon insertion must be differentiated from an accessory navicular (see Other Problems to Be Considered).

    Fractures of the navicular body Fractures of the body are commonly associated with other injuries of the midtarsal joint. Sangeorzan et al categorized navicular body fractures into 3 types, as follows[6] :

    Type 1 is a coronal fracture with no dislocation. Type 2 is a dorsolateral to plantomedial fracture with medial forefoot displacement. Type 3 is a comminuted fracture with lateral forefoot displacement and carries the worst prognosis. All navicular body fractures with 1 mm or more of displacement require open reduction and internal fixation.

    Stress fractures The rest of this article primarily discusses the diagnosis and treatment of navicular stress fractures, which are usually sports-related injuries.

    In 1855, Brehaulpt first described stress fractures in military recruits who were subjected to long marches. As more civilians took up physically demanding sports, the incidence of stress fractures has increased in the general population. Towne et al first described stress fracture of the tarsal navicular in 1970.[7]

    In athletes, navicular stress fractures are of particular concern because they are underdiagnosed and can lead to significant disability if the diagnosis is delayed.[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8] In a study by Torg et al in 1982, the average time between the fracture and diagnosis was estimated to be 7 months.[9] Given the significant improvement in outcome with early diagnosis and proper treatment, navicular stress fractures should be considered in any athlete with midfoot pain. In a 2006 study by Saxena and Fullem, navicular stress fractures took up to 4 months to heal posttreatment.[10]

    Fracture-dislocation of the navicular may occur in athletes.[11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18] This uncommon injury generally requires reduction and examination for stability via fluoroscopy, with the patient under general anesthesia. If the postreduction examination findings confirm stability of the navicular, treatment with a non–weight-bearing cast may be sufficient; otherwise, internal fixation is required.

    For excellent patient education resources, visit eMedicineHealth’s First Aid and Injuries Center. Also, see eMedicineHealth’s patient education articles Broken Foot and Cast Care.

    It sounds like how serious the injury is depends a lot on how long the pain/injury went undiagnosed. If Joel hasn’t been caused pain by this (and it looks like it was the Cavs doctors that actually found the injury), then it may be a minor fracture. However, this bone is part of maintaining the arch of your foot perpendicular to its length, so if it was hurting him, it might also have been the real culprit of the stress fracture in his back, not the knee hyper-extension we saw vs TCU. One way or the other, we should all pray for his sake that it’s not serious.

    Another thing to consider is that since stress fractures seem to be a recurring problem, it could mean he has some type of deficiency that affects his bone strength. If it is something as simple as vitamin D deficiency, it may be easily correctable. He might even be able to use the same medicine they give menopausal women undergoing estrogen therapy to protect them from osteoporosis.

  • @konkeyDong thanks!

  • @konkeyDong I read that MJ also had the same fracture.

  • @konkeyDong Exactly – the issue with stress fractures is that the bone doesn’t heal like normal bone does from recurrent pressure – folks that have stress fractures are 60% more likely than other folks to have another one.

    This is what I posted on March 27 at after listening to folks there say that the stress fracture in the back was not a “red flag” and that the stress fracture was from being slammed to the ground:

    How is everyone here just definitively stating that the back injury isn’t a big deal?

    He had back issue in high school, too. Folks that get stress fractures may … may … be prone to recurring stress fractures. So you can’t say it’s a one time thing.

    I believe the statistic is that approximately 60% of athletes that have a stress fracture end up getting another one.

    The term is “stress”. It was not a traumatic injury. A stress fracture is due to load or force being placed on an area over time and the bone not properly healing itself as it normally does. This is completely different than a fall, or one time deal. The stress fracture did not occur when he was “slammed to the ground.”

    One’s own body composition – the elements that heal bone – can make that person more susceptible to stress fractures, too.

    Most likely, it was a result of Embiid compensating for his knee injury (near ACL tear) in the TCU game, thus creating more load and stress due to his altered stride or gait, and protecting it when he landed after jumping. That’s just speculation, but it fits completely. It then reared its ugly head in the WVU game at home when he landed awkwardly, and his back muscles seized up to protect it.

    So if I’m an NBA team, yea, it’s a red flag.

    But more of a red flag if he stays at KU and has more back issues next season.

  • Tough luck for sure-I still hope a team high in the draft rolls the dice and gives him a shot. Best of luck Joel. Get well and stay healthy.

  • I’m sure the crack staff at the NCAA won’t allow this…but why can’t he give all the endorsement $ back, fire his agent and come back to college?

  • Given Embiids health issues; I’m glad he declared for the draft. I wish he could’ve stayed healthy until after chosen top 3, but it didn’t happen.

    What if he had come back? If he get’s hurt playing for KU it was a silly gamble and he threw away millions of dollars. If Joel gets hurt it also hurts the Jayhawks. Think about last years team; with Joel KU’s a top 10 team; without barely top 25. So you grow to depend upon an athletic freak rim-protector that you can’t replace. Low and behold he gets hurt and the team goes down with barely a whimper in the tournament. Why? because they came to rely upon this one uber talented freshman. He is utterly un-replaceable, but if you never had him to begin with you never develop the dependency upon him either.

    Joel was by far the biggest game changer on the team and it showed most when he was gone. This is what could’ve happened to our Jayhawks again if he was back for '15. No Joel for '15 deep run? Joel sitting on the bench hurt in '15 early exit?

    Embiid was the most exciting player to watch last year. I love me some Joel and wish him a speedy recovery, but he absolutely made the best decision for himself and KU by leaving.

  • @drgnslayr What sports did you play and at what level? I’ve enjoyed your posts on here and would also enjoy the perspective. Thanks

  • Banned

    Ok you guys are starting piss me off.

    Stop with the doom and gloom. Embiid is a very young man with plenty of time to heal and grow. Embiid is a product of the US system. I believe 100% in my heart and mind the kid wanted to stay at least another year in College. Yet how could he? When you the fans, agents, the NBA saying it’s time to come out. After all it’s about the money right? Education and the experience means nothing in the College game anymore.

    Embiid is a kid and is still growing. Who knows what his career or health is going to turn out to be? I know this if he drops any in the draft somebody is going to get the steal of the draft. The kid has a heart of a lion. Pun intended.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    XCLT point. Dummy should be reserved for his advisors and I would exclude from the dummy list his parents. If its their first kid in the situation, parents, unless they have played D1, or the pros, cannot know what it is like to play at that level and so have to trust advisors to some degree. Only those that are taking fees from him, or trying to, and those that are otherwise paid to know something about college and professional basketball, deserve to be labelled dummies, or functional morons, or imbeciles, or whore fops in suits.


    Charley Malloy: Look, kid, I - how much you weigh, son? When you weighed one hundred and sixty-eight pounds you were beautiful. You coulda been another Billy Conn, and that skunk we got you for a manager, he brought you along too fast.

    Terry Malloy: It wasn’t him, Charley, it was you. Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, “Kid, this ain’t your night. We’re going for the price on Wilson.” You remember that? “This ain’t your night”! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors on the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palooka-ville! You was my brother, Charley, you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn’t have to take them dives for the short-end money.

    Charley Malloy: Oh I had some bets down for you. You saw some money.

    Terry Malloy: You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it. It was you, Charley.

    My seething has to do with the greatness of the talent that has perhaps been squandered. Embiid is the greatest raw talent at 7 feet I have seen since Wilt. Period. Its really not even close.

    Reducing Embiid’s freshman season to putting the team on his back, when he was so new to the game and from another culture, and had not had years of practice and conditioning in the game was a sin. And sin like success has many fathers. The team was put on his back, and so he was made a target, because Wiggins advisors appeared to refuse to let Wiggins carry the team on his back, in order to keep him from being THE TARGET. They were smart. The team was put on Embiid’s back, before he was ready, because KU and Self had a title string to try to continue. It is appalling to think about it. Maybe the greatest talent of the last half century was put in harms way to win a lousy B12 title. Someone shoulda looked after Joel.

    Reducing his go/stay decision to grabbing money ASAP appears incompetence of a high order, also. Great talent in any field has to be nurtured and protected for the good of the person with the talent and for the good of the field. It does not matter if we are talking about a brilliant young mathematician, a child prodigy artist, or a one in a billion basketball talent.

    I don’t think people still grasp how rare Embiid is/was. Wilt was better only because he had played the game since early youth, played on the playgrounds of Phillie, played in the Rucker league in NY, played summers at the hotel leagues in New York state, and been schooled and advised by every great basketball coach including Red Auerbach BEFORE he got to KU. Wilt Chamberlain and Karreem Jabbar were groomed from early childhood to become what they became. They were in the right places at the right times to be “developed.”

    Embiid in contrast grew up in Africa playing soccer and volleyball. It is absolutely incredible what he has accomplished in basketball already. He still has no real clue how to play the game on a level of not having to think about what he is doing. He has no real intuition yet born from long experience about what is coming the next moment on the floor. He has no developed skills yet. And despite all of the above he was able to step on James Naismith Court and dominate games during reputedly the toughest schedule put together in college basketball in 10 to 20 years!!!

    Embiid is so great that he was able to reduce the greatest prospect since Lebron, Andrew Wiggins, to just another leaping second option. JOEL EMBIID IS THE SECOND COMING OF WILT CHAMBERLAIN. But America, and college basketball, and KU, and Bill Self and Embiid’s advisors, didn’t develop him. Instead they PLAYED HIM FOR ALL HE WAS WORTH AND GOT HIM READY FOR THE MONEY AS FAST AS THEY COULD.

    I did not think college basketball could sink any lower than it had by the year before Embiid arrived at KU. I thought the shoe whores, and bottom feeding agents, and agent runners, basketball factory academies, and summer game pimp-coaches, and the D1 thug ball coaches, and the media-gaming complex apparently shaping better expectations, and the private oligarchs reputedly buying the university’s political economic influence through the back door of the fake 501.c3 athletic departments, and the covert ticket scalping scams to raise slush monies for all the crap the NCAA and university administrations look the other way at, had taken the greatest game ever invented all the way to the center circle of Dante jaybate’s Basketball Inferno. I thought we were the full nine levels in. You know, college basketball evidences all of it now: limbo, lust, gluttony, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery, I thought we were all the way to treachery. And my street wise tour guide, with the urban ball scars, Virgil “Posterize” Jefferson had lead me to believe this was so But, no. There was a tenth level: the level of every evil at once–the betrayal of greatness–the squandering of Joel Embiid.

    Embiid needed to be protected from the way D1 is played, not given a baptism of hell-fired violence. He needed to be taught how to “protect the merchandise” the way hugely less rare talents like Andrew Wiggins and Xavier Henry were taught. He needed to be taught that you do not risk great talent at the D1 level. EVER. You develop it there. You nurture it there. You NEVER expose it to the blue meanies there. You always pull your punches there. You run from contact there. You NEVER scarifice your body there for the game or the team. And you don’t because the club fighters will try to end your career just for the hell of it there.

    I loved college basketball once. I loved it when it was played within rational rules equitably applied, when the object of the game was not simply to reduce everyone to club fighters. College basketball had a sweetness and a love of the game that redeemed the occasional brutishness that comes with all competitive sports, when imperfect humans forget themselves in the heat of battle. Yes, they fouled and hacked Wilt to death in college. Yes, there were racists that meant him harm. But for the most part everyone understood that Wilt was a player for the ages and someone to marvel at, not someone to try to mug and to try to give a spinal fracture to.

    D1 is no longer college ball. It is now the minor leagues and outside of ten to 15 right way programs D1 is basically a bunch of club fighters playing for bush league coaches teaching bruiser ball, because television companies and the always-crooked-somehow gaming industry find it easier to market blood sport than basketball and so encourage this pitiful, twisted excuse for a college game we currently endure. The powers that be are so corrupted now that even when they try to “get more scoring” they do it in the most twisted way possible–in a way that turns the rules even further into unfairness. The leaders of the game today don’t have any more grasp of fairness and equity on which the game is supposed to be based than do a bunch of NeoCon and NeoLib guns for hire bought and paid for by private oligarchy. NONE. ZERO. ZIP.

    Embiid wasn’t protected. He was thrown on his back by thuggery as if he were just another big child let loose in palookaville meant to get the whizz beaten out of him “to learn him good.” We are a nation run by valueless, ethic-free, special interest beholden “advisors” that have never actually done the jobs they advise about. It is this way in every field in America today. Only one in a hundred “advisors” has ever actually done anything well that they give advice about. They are professional idiots educated about something they have never done dispensing advice to truly talented persons that desperately need good advice and don’t get it.

    Embiid needed to be protected from Self’s and our desires to win another title, to play the game the right way. The game isn’t right any more. So playing the game the right way anymore makes no sense anymore for a great, great talent, maybe even for a regular talent, too. But he wasn’t protected. And he wouldn’t have been protected at any of the other right way programs either. Or at any of the wrong way programs. He was a walking dollar sign–a career score for coaches and advisors, and shoecos, and television–and that’s all he was to them. A score. A quick score.

    Andrew Wiggins apparently was properly advised every step of the way, apparently because he had a father, and mother, that understood the dangers of D1 sports. It made him look and play like a disingenuous free rider much of the time, but it worked. He got through without a spinal fracture, or any other injuries that could hamper him as a pro.

    Xavier Henry was apparently protected every step of the way, because he too had a father that understood how the game has to be played with great talent in the current D1/NBA system, And, again, though such protection leads to playing vastly short of one’s capabilities and makes the team less good than it should be, because those in the game, especially its rule makers and enforcers, are so corrupt, “protecting the merchandize” is now the only rational way for a great talent to approach D1.

    Had Embiid protected the merchandize, he would never have gotten injured in the first place. Had Embiid been wisely protected, and nurtured, and counseled, he wouldn’t be entering the draft with two injuries. He would instead probably have played 2 years of D1 ball at “protect the merchandize” speed, and worked endlessly in the gym at developing his basic skills and his basketball musculature to get him ready for the rigors of the NBA. KU probably wouldn’t have won any rings with him “protecting the merchandise” the same way it won no rings with Wiggins and Henry protecting the merchandise, but at least the greatest center talent since Wilt Chamberlain would be injury free, and ready to take the game of basketball to the next new level that his great talent probably could have.

    Once great talents like Chamberlain and Jabbar were valued for their rare greatness, at least when they were boys and young men. Sooner or later all get thrown to the dogs, but once upon a time in the American Basketball Inferno a basketball prodigy could be nurtured and developed instead of packaged and marketed and hurried to the ocntracts.

    Oh, well, perhaps after this inferno, maybe a purgatorio and a paradiso wait to be written.

    I can only hope.

  • I’m rooting for Embiid. He seems to be a very thoughtful, hard working kind of guy. I wish him the best.

    But the Embiid story is also why I advise every athlete that I talk to, regardless of current and future talent level and earning potential, to not play injured - EVER - unless they are being paid.

    How many times do you see high school players “gutting it out” on a sprained ankle or a sore knee? Why do coaches ask them to do that. We need this to stop.

    Even KU is guilty of this. We learn that Selden played on a bad leg literally for the entire season. That just is careless, in my opinion. What does Wayne Selden gain by potentially injuring himself protecting a nagging injury? How does he help either KU or himself by playing at 80% (if that)?

    This whole playing injured thing just really bothers me.

  • @dylans

    Basketball from a kid until in my 30s.

    Football from a kid through my junior year of HS.

    Boxing from my senior year of HS for about 6 years.

    I suffered several concussions in football and boxing, none in basketball. I also broke a rib in football.

    Most of my body damage came from basketball. My left knee basically had to be completely overhauled after I suffered a complete patella tear during a game. My knee cap had come off and was floating around my upper thigh area. Players looking on were getting sick to their stomachs. The instability of my knee while going down did other structural damage. That ended my basketball days after many years of organized basketball.

    I also suffered lots of damage in my hands with jammed fingers and dislocations that eventually gave me problems gripping. 5 years ago I couldn’t open a jar or do much of anything with my hands. I have improved since then because of my improved diet (which helped removed the inflammation in my joints).

    I feel fortunate in that I could be worse off. Though I’ve had to go through years of therapy with my knee, and at this stage could use some surgical repair again on both knees. I had to learn how to walk again in my 30s. I had worn a leg brace (like a cast) for 6 months and so all my left leg muscle had withered away to nothing by the time the brace was removed to start my therapy.

    I was athletic for my day… but compared to the athleticism today there would be no comparison. All my play was amateur status except for one team in Europe that was semi-pro ball. “Semi-pro” tends to mean “under paid.” Meals, basketball (and game) related expenses, and small change.

    While we all marvel at all the athleticism these kids bring to the game (and to the fans) we should respect the risk they take on by playing at the level they play at. I know I totally respect these guys and what they do.

    Go JoJo!

  • @jaybate

    As always very thought provoking. (Side question- are you publishing book you worked on last summer?).

    As for Joel, how should HCBS have better protected him? HCBS played college hoops so he has insight of someone who has been in the ring.

    Are you implying he wasn’t protected before the dreadful knee hyperextention at TCU? I might be on board w you after TCU.

    Before TCU he played less minutes than Wiggs or Xavier so it didn’t have the appearance we were overly riding him to his detriment.

  • While we all marvel at all the athleticism these kids bring to the game (and to the fans) we should respect the risk they take on by playing at the level they play at. I know I totally respect these guys and what they do.

    Go JoJo!

    @drgnslayr there are probably not enough stars in the sky for me to favorite that sentiment as much as I’d like to. It’s so easy for us as fans to take players for granted (especially those on the lower end of the talent spectrum), but for what they gain from it, there is enormous sacrifice on their parts and we all too often benefit more from that while having to put no skin (or bones for that matter) in the game, so to speak. Well said.

  • @VailHawk

    Good question. Its not how many minutes you play. Its how much you pull your punches to avoid injury. Xavier and Andrew appeared for many, many games of their respective OAD seasons to go soft to iron, or not at all. At the very least, they were not big risk takers like, say, Sherron Collins, or Tyshawn Taylor.

    There were a few games each player seemed to select as times to show off what they really could do at the iron. But for most of the season both players at least appeared not to go to the iron and risk injury as much as their talent would appear to have permitted them to do.

    The Stanford game stands out in my memory, regarding Wiggins, only because it is so fresh, but I would guess that a half to two thirds of the game tapes would reveal very little risky play by Andrew, and probably as much, or more, conservatism in the games by Xavier. This issue of not going hard to iron often is a necessarily speculative, hypothesizing kind of topic unless the players were to come out and confirm it, which they would frankly have no reason that I can think of to do. But that is how it appears to me in retrospect.

    But now recall Joel’s play up until his absence due to injury. Joel was in there mixing it up inside, he appeared to be going into harm’s way where the blue meanies roughed him up good, and frequently. He went to them. He attacked where he was sure to get roughed up. It was, when combined with his height and athleticism, a big part of what allowed him to be dominant as a freshman center with few skills, and little experience.

    Compare that with Xavier and Andrew. Now, I know that they play different positions than Joel, but you know how rough it is on perimeter guys that drive the iron. Heck, you know how tough it was on Andrew the games that he went to iron with any regularity. He actually looked scared at times from the way they punked him, and I for one, reckon he probably should have felt scared by some of the tactics used. I recall at least two times when opposing players just smashed him in the face before he ever went up. If you go inside from the perimeter, you get beat up, whether or not you get a bucket and a free throw. And if you go airborne they try their damnedest at times to bring you down hard. And coming down hard on wood is the way to get badly injured, as Joel learned the hard way.

    For some more perspective, recall the way Tyshawn Taylor went to iron. Recall that he did it almost every game and on most of his touches. Get the image of TT’s willingness to risk everything fixed in your mind; then recall Andrew Wiggins and Xavier Henry. Both Wiggins and Henry had more size and bigger hops and longer first and second steps than TT had. Either guy could have gone to iron at will in D1; that was a big part of why they were called OADs. They were NBA ready. And in fact for a couple of games Andrew Wiggins proved the he could do it all game. But man did he pay for it!

    Now, recall Andrew’s couple of games, where he went to iron at will ALL game, and then remember him in the Stanford game. Got those two moments fixed in your mind? Good.

    Now I’m not going to ask you to try to read Andrew’s mind and motivations and decide whether or not he and his advisors decided should sand bag against Stanford, since, oh, I don’t know, let’s make something up, shall we? Since maybe Joel, or a someone advising Joel, some how signaled Self and the team before the Stanford game that maybe Joel wasn’t coming back even if they beat Stanford. Just a hypothetical for the sake of argument. Who knows what actually happened.

    What I want to ask you to assess is this: did he take more abuse and face more injury risk in the games when he was going to iron at will all game, or in the Stanford game where he frequently (mostly?) stood outside and watched the action?

    My hypothesis about this apparent phenomenon is that super talented players are (in some cases) counseled to protect the merchandise unless they are playing in a showcase game, where there is something to be gained by risking the merchandize. And when there isn’t something to be gained, they appear to protect the merchandize.

    If what I am hypothesizing were to prove true, it would mean that knowledgeable persons looking out for the best interests of super talented players probably judge D1 to be too dangerous to play all out.

    So: since I believe (rightly or wrongly) that Joel Embiid was the greatest raw center talent since Wilt, and so a much more valuable and much more rare talent than either Wiggins, or Henry, that he should have been being advised and coached to protect the merchandize all season so that he could have a reasonable chance of conditioning his body, and developing his skills, experience and anticipation, to levels, where he could play in D1 on equal footing with the blue meanies from the standpoint of dishing it out, while also protecting himself. And then after he finally acquired that kind of development of his game that, because of his rare talent, he should probably have been advised to protect the merchandise the way Andrew and Xavier at least appeared to do, whether or not they really did.

    But to reiterate, the above is all only hypothesizing by a fan.

  • @drgnslayr Sounds like you were quite the athlete in your prime! I played, but no one would confuse me for an athlete.

    The most impressive thing I ever saw on a basketball court was at Robinson sports complex as a freshmen. I went to Robinson (KU student gym) and hopped into a pickup game. This guy was just raining threes and the post player I was guarding (mind you I’m 6’ ) wasn’t doing much so I thought I could turn the shooter into a driver. Big mistake, as I stepped forward this guy took off toward the lane, picked up the ball just inside the three point line and literally jumped over me from just inside the free-throw stripe. I told him he should really walk on to the basketball team as he was incredible, he replied I’m on the team, I’m Kenny Gregory.

    I had never seen an athlete of that calibre and a few of the guys Self recruits are even more athletic! I never claimed to be a good athlete, but this just showed me that I had never played against an elite athlete before either. I’ve had nothing, but respect for anyone on the team since. Kenny was a freak athlete who just never got it all put together for a run in the nba. I believe he had a 42" vert. Wiggins is 3 inches taller and has 2" on his vert. Incredible!!!

  • @dylans cool story!

  • Only one in a hundred “advisors” has ever actually done anything well that they give advice about.

    @jaybate 1.0 That may or may not be true but it sure feels true!

  • Does anybody think Smart’s decision to stay another year hurt his draft status? I was so sick of hearing that it did hurt it during the season! Appears they were wrong, looks like he’s going a lot higher than they thought. You think?

  • Another question, will there be cameras w/Embiid? Or, do you think someone will go up for him? Maybe Self?

  • @dylans

    Awesome story!

    I’d put my skill level down as a middle of the pack juco player. My best moments in basketball were on urban courts and YMCA lunch ball courts in America. These were the places where every now and then some big time players would flow through for a few games. From my diligence of playing all those years almost every day I was fortunate enough to be on the court with several great NBA players. I felt comfortable with my game, but matching up with these guys in simple, meaningless games would show just how far I was from their talent level. It was all worth it to be caught standing in the lane when one of these players would fly through, nearing a 4 foot vertical flight and throw the ball down sometimes knocking me down with the ball. That was some of the sweetest humble pie I’ve ever eaten!

    Having that opportunity clears up any thoughts that “I coulda been somebody…” So I found out I was somebody, just not an NBA player! ha…

    Those moments also showed to me what kind of physicality is in the game, especially with big players. For a half a year in Belgium, I had to guard a legitimate 7’1" tree that must have gone about 280 lbs. Several times he went down on top of me. It felt like a car wreck.

    Consider the speed, the height and the size of these guys and it won’t take long to understand what kind of impact damage they can have with each other, and the floor.

    I forgot to mention one of my injuries. A broken nose that kept breaking. Finally had it fixed (after retiring my game) and haven’t suffered any symptoms ever since. Besides the ugliness of it, it would suddenly burst into bleeding, like a red waterfall, for no apparent reason. That was a real nuisance for me. I recall most of the players I played with abroad had issues with broken noses. There was more contact in euro ball mostly because of lazy refs. All the eastern block countries played very rough. Makes me think Svee will be one heck of a player!

  • @drgnslayr

    Awesome! You played oversees? What countries? When?

  • For whatever it’s worth, I think this injury completely reinforces and supports Embiid’s decision to turn pro. There is a very strong possibility that this stress fracture in his foot has been present, but not symptomatic, for quite some time. Perhaps the entire season. Some folks are fully functional with stress fractures.

    It was a very wise roll of the dice to turn pro. Imagine if this thing didn’t surface until July? He almost was the number one pick. He almost got there.

    Heck, if he would have come back to KU, he could be sitting right now on campus, laid up for 4-6 months. You don’t think that thing would have flared up in our scrimmages and other workouts? Or later?

    Now, he’s still going top 10. Imagine if he came back to KU, healed from this and had another stress fracture somewhere else, or worse, in his foot or back?

    Given his health issues, turning pro was the wisest thing he could of done. This current injury actually reinforces that decision. And it may be a blessing – he could get to the perfect franchise for him. We’ll cross our fingers for the young man.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I was thinking the same thing…this may be a blessing in disguise. It may hurt a little financially but what if he falls to the Lakers? He won’t be looked at as a savior of the franchise like the smaller markets…they can manage his minutes and grow him into a dominant center like they’ve had before.

  • @HighEliteMajor If I recall correctly, the family friend told me he was as good as gone in February, after the hyper knee & back strain. He was utterly shocked I suggested that Joel “just might” come back another year. This kid could’ve & may still be really special, but do you really think he’ll go top ten? I’ve not even a guess of the $$$ for a # 10, so if it’s not that great, I guess it’s still a possibility. Man, just think what we may have accomplished had he only stayed healthy !! If memory serves me right, you & I were about the only ones saying he was our passport to the NC early on.

  • @globaljaybird

    Noel had and ACL tear, which could be considered equally or more serious than what Embiid has, and he fell to #6 in the draft, but he did not have nearly the upside Embiid has. I will guess Embiid drops to 4 but likely no lower than 6, although the Lakers at 7 could be an interesting place.

  • @HighEliteMajor Could it be an old soccer or volleyball injury?

  • @drgnslayr Guarding a 7’1" guy never would’ve happened for me. I lacked the heighth and weight. So are you tall or strong? Good lower body strength would really help in those situations (like Black, Graves, or Charles Barkley).

    I’m glad to hear at least one of your injuries has been taken care of. The nagging injuries of youth are always going to be there though. My knee has never been the same since I got clipped in football and I was just a deeep bench player who really didn’t get the wear and tear of a full time player!

    Keep up the posts you always have an interesting take on the game. I almost always agree with what you have to say and you generally articulate it better than I would.

  • @dylans

    I don’t have height. I’m a footer… a 6 footer! But I was a big guy and played like Charles Barkley. I could leap pretty good. I didn’t have a problem stuffing with my hand, but much harder with two.

    My problem was I had height until the middle of junior high. So I started out as a center, then moved over to PF. I never obtained the right skills to be a perimeter player. Average shooter, average ball handling. I was a post guy, including back to the basket. But I loved playing the post. I always loved physical play. Growing up, we played a game called “baskfoot” which meant tackle basketball on a concrete court. I grew up on city courts. It was fun playing… it was fun rapping BS and then having to prove yourself. It was real fun watching others do the same. There was always tough competition. This was the crowd that lived to play. Guys defended their reps. Some courts you couldn’t even get on until you developed a rep first. That meant hanging out at the court, getting out there between games and showing what you got. Some guys never got in games. There was a court reputation, too. The court rep helped establish the players’ reps (and vice-versa). Sometimes the guys from one court would visit another. They better win because everyone is going to know what happened. The news eventually turned into folklore.

    The best times were games at night, on a full moon (or close to it). We called that “moon ball” because the moon (on a clear night) gives off plenty of light. You had to learn how to play at night. Your 3d perception completely changes (is reduced).

    This was all about swagger. And you had to carry swagger with you. What took you a long time to build (rep) could be discounted and humiliating within a single game. This is what took so many guys to the next level. They didn’t have fancy gyms to work out in, or coaching. They had NBA school on the tube. Everyone mimicked their idols. I’ll never forget when Doctor J took the ball under the rim and seemed to change his flight pattern to bring the ball back under on the other side for a score. I saw a guy do it on asphalt and chain net every bit as good as the Doctor did. He had achieved one of the bigger reps.

    I spent 20 years in Europe. I sought out city courts all through Europe during those years (until my knee gave out). It was cool… but never reached the same level as in the USA mostly because the cultures didn’t match our inner-city culture. Guys earned reps over there, but they didn’t have much swagger or animation.

  • @VailHawk - It would be real cool if Embiid did land in the right spot. I am not up to speed on NBA rosters, but I was kind of thinking the 76ers are a rebuilding franchise that is putting together a lot of pieces.

    @globaljaybird Right, the “Embiid is the key to KU’s assent” thread from last October. I was also thinking about the Randle Miss May Define KU’s Season thread – imagine if we got Randle, not Wiggins. Greene/White played the 3? I think we would have been much better. But that’s all irrelevant because we didn’t get him – just interesting (at least to me) to speculate on.

    @KansasComet - Just might be. Probably part of the process that led to it. Just never know. Stress fractures can lay dormant, until an aggravating event. Pretty crazy how a guy this talented may never even really play, or could be a hall of famer, solely because of the way his bones heal themselves.

  • All chatter I’ve heard is Embiid won’t fall past Orlando. However, his agent is picking and choosing with whom to share medical reports, and the word is he’s trying to steer JoJo to Boston. While I’m all for Embiid falling into a favorable situation, this seems underhanded and slimy. I haven’t been a fan of the way Embiid has been “handled” at all, and this just reinforces my beliefs that he has surrounded himself with the wrong people.

  • @icthawkfan316 If you were an agent, what would you do? For example, remember Eli Manning refusing to play for the Chargers based on the GM/management situation? I do think it’s difficult, but if you can get your guy to a good situation and a chance at a better career, is that not part of your job description? Maybe more precisely, keeping him out of bad situations. But I see your point too. You don’t like it being manipulated.

    When I heard the foot fracture thing, the first thing is that I thought it was that it was all a ruse to get him to drop – but I do look for the conspiracy stuff in a lot of these things.

  • @HighEliteMajor Yes I remember Eli doing it. Elway did the same thing. So yes it happens in other sports for other athletes. But the point of the draft is to make the worst teams better. The NBA isn’t “all in” for that anyway, otherwise they wouldn’t have the draft lottery, which hasn’t discouraged teams from tanking and doesn’t reward the worst teams with the best picks. So needless to say, I have a problem with the NBA’s process on various levels.

    So, how are the poor teams, especially the smaller market teams, ever supposed to improve? How are the “bad situations” ever supposed to be fixed, if not through the draft? Being a minor conspiracy theorist myself, I don’t think the league wants them to improve. They’d be happy if the Finals every year was Lakers vs. Celtics. Heaven forbid a team like Milwaukee ever gets back to the Finals. We might see some of the worst officiated basketball in the history of the league if they were ever to make it to their conference finals.

    Anyway, yeah I don’t like it being manipulated. I don’t like the idea that information can be withheld from certain teams. It should be available to all. I think that’s a different distinction than saying “if you draft me, I’ll holdout/won’t sign”. That’s what Elway & Eli did. They didn’t say “we’ll go to the combine, but uh…San Diego can’t come”. And in Eli’s situation, the Chargers did draft him, and the Giants had to pay with extra picks to get him (with which the Chargers obtained Shawn Merriman & Nate Kaeding). So at least the Chargers were compensated for Eli’s refusal to play there. Same with the Colts who drafted Elway. The teams in Embiid’s situation are not being given the same consideration.

  • @drgnslayr Very cool. What city in the US did you learn your swagger? And what were you doing in Europe, were you playing ball for pay or other work? I’ve always wanted to spend some time in Europe, but haven’t found the spare change to make it over there yet, maybe some day… But for now seven mile beach in Negril Jamaica is calling my name it’s been 5 years or so and I’m getting the itch. Hopefully this winter I’ll get a little sun, I’ve just got to plan around the KU ball schedule!

  • @icthawkfan316 I agree in that I’d like to see other teams get better. The NBA is really the league where the power stays with just a few teams.

    NBA champs since 1980? Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, Pistons, Spurs, Heat? One season of Sixers, Mavericks, and two from the Rockets? What am I missing?

  • @HighEliteMajor Not missing anything. The Lakers & Celtics themselves have close to half of the NBA titles period.

    Of course this is somewhat easier to explain in basketball, since a single player has much more effect on the outcome of games than in any of the other major sports. So if a franchise lands a generational talent, they should be able to achieve a modicum of success. Cleveland here is the big exception, never being able to put enough talent around LeBron.

    Free agents and marquee coaches will most likely always gravitate towards the major markets also. This is another factor that explains the championships being clustered between a few teams.

    Given this, the only way poor teams can get better is to catch lighting in a bottle with a draft choice, and quickly surround a star with adequate supporting cast.

  • @drgnslayr Thank you, drgn, for giving us your personal synopsis. It certainly gives me great perspective, as I realize how thoughtful and heartfelt your posts often are. I also truly root for every kid that comes through KU. Many are on a mission, chasing a pro-playing career dream. The physical stresses they endure are significant. Some examples for readers are what Rush, Rodrick Stewart, Kaun, Sherron, Reed, Selby, Tyshawn, Elijah, Releford, and Embiid all went through physically. You + our players certainly have my respect.

    I still play full court ball, but almost every month now, I toy with the idea of walking away from the game. Thought about tennis (son competes seriously), but that is even harder on the knees! What’s an old combo guard to do (when he cant play russrob-D someday…?). Already had Achilles repair 5yrs ago, but came back 100%, but what’s next…? (who knows!).


  • @dylans

    I grew up in the Midwest. Born in Kansas. Then had opportunities to go on to bigger places and my pursuits to find ball wherever I went. LA when I was young, sometimes Chicago and even Detroit. The only time I felt threatened (ever) was in Detroit.

    What took me to Europe was a job, representing an American sportswear company. I visited all kinds of schools and teams throughout Europe and I sold them basketball, American football and baseball uniforms. That was great until the manufacturer had liquidity issues. Then I moved on to MMA and worked with a company that was involved in MMA just about everywhere in the world (except America).

    Playing ball over there never paid for much of anything for me. Quite a few meals, all travel relating to playing, and basically beer money. I was in the second division… never playing for those top teams. But it was still fun, kept me in shape and made me lots of great ball friends. I had my real job so the pressure wasn’t on to make a living playing basketball.

    I came back to the US about 5 years ago and met my future wife the night I returned.

    My favorite places in the world to play basketball… Amsterdam, near Vondel Park, Paris-Berlin-Rome-Athens had some good places but I’d have a hard time explaining where they are at. And Chania, Crete, right beside their big stadium. I spent a year there playing. Those Cretan guys were tough and had more pride than anyone else. You could go into the mountains and visit small villages and hardly find a male, because family feuds always ended in bloodshed. They fought off a complete air assault from the Germans in WWII with simple farm guns, making the Germans put more resources into taking Crete. The Germans always had problems in Crete. They’d cut off Cretan heads in the main squares to instill fear and power. What they didn’t know was that just pissed them off and would make them retaliate. The Cretans finally captured a big guy in the German military and killed him, too.

    At that time some of the fiercest basketball was being played in the south. Greece and Italy were good places, and I know Spain was good (but I didn’t spend enough time there).

    Today… I think I’d go to the former Yugoslavia. My wife is Serbian so we pay attention to athletes in that area. These people are tall and athletic. Right now, there are several good players from this region playing down in Wichita. I believe their is a guy 6’10" and one taller. I need to find out more info on them. I heard one has an offer from a big school, maybe Arizona.

    @ralster - I’m completely envious. Sometimes I have that feeling… to get out on a court and dribble between my legs and go up for 360-degree collapse. My vertical today is probably about 6 inches. I never touched a ball again after going down in the mid-90s. My only remaining swagger is in play when I’m reaching out for a hand rail so I don’t fall down. But seriously… I’m not quite that bad but have a hard time getting on the ground to play with my 1 yr old son.

    I keep thinking about what sport would do him right. He’s just like his old man… about a 30 lb 1-yr old. He looks better in a muscle shirt than I ever did! His mother said football is out. Sometimes I think basketball and tennis should be out. These days I’m thinking soccer and baseball, but it will be his choice to make. All we can do is guide him. Fortunately, my trophy cabinet that was stuffed with basketball trophies has gone missing! I really don’t know which move was the culprit. I never really liked trophies anyways beyond the very moment they were awarded. After that, my trophies always went into boxes and stored in the attic. I never liked looking backwards.

  • @drgnslayr Heading to Amsterdam in a couple of months. I will look for your court -can you give me another hint other than the park name - of course I won’t be playing-those days ended in my mid thirties.

  • I’ve read the surgeon’s report on Embiid. I’ve evaluated Embiid’s attitude with this surgery and there’s no reason why Embiid can’t go #1 and no lower than #3. The idea he goes no lower than Orlando is about right. Tellum is pushing for Embiid toward Orlando as a high pick and Boston as a solid safety net. I think Embiid will likely be much like Pierce only under different circumstances.

    Pierce’s story proves GMs and critics wrong because GMs were burning Williams’ phone off the hook to learn of any injury to Pierce, only to learn there were no injuries. Pitino got the pick of a lifetime that just kept giving and giving to the Celtics. Pierce was clearly a top 3 pick and arguably #1 pick in his draft, but what do the “experts” know.

    I see Embiid with Philly, Orlando, or Boston at this point. Tellum is playing this situation really well. The surgeon’s report is huge and should help GMs make a decision with Embiid. It’s a huge game of draft poker. Tellum is experienced and knows how to play the game. He will work wonders for Embiid and save his career. I see some teams pissing their pants when Embiid lands and recovers from this situation. Many are overreacting. Heck even Sasha Kaun says he’s still playing with the same stress fracture. It’s not the injury that is the problem at this point, it’s simple perceptions and “risks.” It’s a risk worth taking on a highly talented player.

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