Threat of sanctions may be a good thing

  • I don’t post as often as most here and I certainly don’t generally start topics because most of you are vastly more knowledgeable about the game of basketball than I.

    But, I was thinking this morning about the possibility of sanctions against KU basketball and how that has certainly had an effect on recruiting. Yet, it occurred to me that in a weird way having a few “down” years by KU standards might actually be a blessing in the long run. Now, before you inundate me with the “what are you smoking” replies just hear me out.

    This year we have what, by all accounts, amounts to a group of fringe guys, with no true superstars, that Bill Self has been able to mold the way he sees fit. He has taken a non-vintage team and has whipped them into a near 20-win team in one of the toughest conferences in the country, and has them firmly in the running for a #3 or, dare I say #2 seed in the tourney.

    Meanwhile, we see Duke and Kentucky, with their hyped up recruiting classes barely keeping their heads above the .500 mark in Duke’s case and a win percentage of 35% in Kentucky’s case.

    So, it stands to reason that if Bill Self can take this group of guys and get them to perform reasonably to standards then he is showing the world that he can, in fact, develop talent. Development, it seems, is one thing I’ve heard recruits discuss in regards to coaches and the programs they lead - that they want to go to the NBA and Coach “X” is the guy who can do that. Doesn’t this year and our recent “down” years drive that point home to any potential recruit?

    On the other hand, if Coach K and Coach Squid get their usual crops of 5* talent and don’t even sniff the tourney, what does that say about their ability to actually develop talent? To me it shows they have been a product of their recruiting and not their coaching. The fact is, if you start with top talent it’s hard to gauge whether or not there has been improvement during a player’s tenure. Coach Self is showing he can take “inferior” talent and still get them to the promised land and challenge for conference titles amidst a pandemic, no less.

    So, my argument here is that the threat of sanctions has actually shown potential recruits that Self can and will develop their talents if they come to KU - as long as they are willing to put in the work.

  • @tis4tim Good points. I think you’re spot on.

  • @tis4tim

    Good post by the way.

    I don’t think recruits have ever doubted Self’s ability to develop talent. For all the McDonald’s guys we’ve gotten that have left after a year we’ve gotten just as many that stuck around and made something here. Mason, Graham- shining stars of developing from the past few years. Azubuike, Dotson more evidence. I think Self has more of a rep for getting guys that develop then OAD’s.

    Its funny I actually thought the teams that had stacked rosters (the KY, Duke’s of the world) would have an advantage this season due to talent reigning supreme but the programs that had lots of returning players have actually been the one’s that are best (Zaga, Baylor). The lack of offseason development, chemistry building, S&C program really was a bigger issue then I thought it would be.

    This KU team isn’t perfect and that 3 week lull in January was looking scary but Self has pushed the right buttons and he’s got this group playing their best ball at the right time.

    Self is one of the best regular season coaches the game has ever seen

  • @BeddieKU23 16th All-Time in winning percentage… Guy knows how to win.

  • @Kcmatt7

    81.6% win percentage at KU, crazy.

    Inside the Top 50 all time in wins now at age 58. It’s going to be interesting to see where he ends up when its all said done

  • @BeddieKU23 Would pass K coaching to the same age at his current win pace at KU. I just don’t think he will coach until 75. I could see him going after that 1k mark though.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Thanks for the props. I agree there are guys like Mason and Graham who stand out as development savants. In a rambling, round-about way what I was ultimately trying to drive home is that we don’t have the mix of McDonald’s All-Americans and “projects” that we usually do, so this year might really shine a spotlight on Self’s ability to coach out the strengths of his players.

    His stubbornness and lack of in-game adjustments at times gets under my skin, but you can’t argue with the sustained level of success the man has had at the college level. Admittedly, he has come out of his comfort zone in fits and spurts in the past couple of seasons, so there is development on his part too. I would love to see more wholesale changes on certain things and the Texas game was an example where we should have stayed with what was working instead of reverting to what Bill is comfortable with.

  • @tis4tim

    No doubt we have just 2 burger boys on the roster and there isn’t a first round pick on this years squad. I think its a good year to have a “project” roster and I think in the end those guys that develop and become really good end up more beloved Hawks with fans then Andrew Wiggins’ 8 month pit-stop etc.

    The spotlight on this has the opportunity to become mainstream if he gets this team deep in the tournament. I’m here for it

  • His stubbornness to stick w/big dave has paid off. Just need it to work out against Texas!

  • Shaka just has Self’s number…

    (just being facetious)

  • @Crimsonorblue22 said in Threat of sanctions may be a good thing:

    His stubbornness to stick w/big dave has paid off. Just need it to work out against Texas!

    Yep, it was hard to see the vision in this for a long time but without Dave this team isn’t where it is. He’s developing before our eyes. Sr year could be fun

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Oh, I agree on Big Dave. I love the guy, his energy and his work ethic. You could literally feel Doke’s shadow hanging over him during the early part of the year. But then you could also see him stepping out from that shadow mid-year and since then he has been a force.

    But that Texas game I just felt we should have gone with what was working. Texas definitely stepped up the defensive intensity in the second half and they may have won anyway, but I can’t help but think we should have continued with the combo that built the 14-point lead.

    @Kcmatt7 It appears Shaka’s new 'do has given him a Samson-esque quality against us!

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