High Hopes For A Bruise Brother...

  • Every year before the hoops season I commit to one player beyond a safe amount of optimism. I put my own butt on the line for one player to shine far more than what is expected. Last year, I sort of went with the obvious, and jumped on the Wiggins bandwagon.

    This year I’m going rogue.

    The guy I am projecting to go way beyond the obvious is Jamari Traylor.

    I’m not expecting him to have a break out year. I’m expecting him to have a bust out year! I don’t mean he’ll be a bust, I mean he’ll bust through anything in front of him and he’ll bust and he’ll break all the fixed minds out there that have him projected as a limited force.

    We all know Jamari is athletic. That doesn’t always mean a guy can harness his athleticism in a productive way, but look closely at Jamari and how far he has come in his two previous playing years. This past year he clearly established his defensive presence. He can still make gains on defense, and any improvement in that area suddenly makes it hard to not notice his defensive prowess. A big part of his improvement will be to defend tighter and foul less. Committing fewer fouls will help him stay on the court for more minutes and a bigger impact.

    There were moments last season when he would complete a dazzling offensive move in the paint. Just about every time he did score inside it was apparent that he was much quicker than his opposing defender. A big light came on in my head last year; Jamari needs to work on his offense and become a bigger impact player in the future! His FG% last season was a whopping 67.4% from the field! How many games will we lose next season if he can maintain a similar percentage but with a lot more attempts? How many games will we win?

    The lights will all be focused on Cliff and Perry this coming year. Teams will put their time and energy on scouting these two in the post. Meanwhile… Jamari works off a completely different box of tools. Even though he has strength, his biggest asset in the post is his quickness. I venture to say that he is quicker than both Cliff and Perry. So Jamari should be able to do more effective lateral movement in the paint. He should offer up everything Cliff and Perry can’t! Perry is quick, but he isn’t a bolt! Perry relies on his technique to pull him through; technique with a shooting move to create space and technique with several shot moves to finish at the angle that will best work. From what I’ve seen of Cliff, he relies mostly on his strength to create his spacing, and when that works he has an easy finish, like a dunk or layup. Jamari can start on one side of the paint, and in a bolt can finish at the other end of the paint. His biggest friend is his lateral speed.

    Jamari is a different weapon in the post. He should offer us more fluid finishes in the post this year and it should be backed with more confidence. He should embrace a new role as a real contributing scorer. He should add this to his role as offering defensive and rebounding energy. He should now offer the same energy on offense, with the confidence to not shy away from his shot. There is no reason why Self and staff should do anything but push Jamari into more FG attempts this year! And if he keeps up his scoring percentage efficiency, he will quickly become a big-time contributor to this team.

    There… I’ve put it out and stand behind it. Criticize if you must, but I hope you give him the encouragement he deserves to take his game to another level. He has already brought his game up to a high level if you consider the shortness of his experience in basketball.

  • @drgnslayr I’m sure by now, you all have seen this? Another bruise brother?

    Kasongo could be a difference maker Matt Scott 5 hours ago

    Comments:8 Add a comment

    Wait, wait, wait, wait! A 6’ 9½" athletic beast of a player became available in late July and is planning to visit Kansas this coming weekend? Say what!?!? That’s too good to be true, right? Wrong! Once Ray Kasongo was back on the market he immediately became a player coaches from around the country, including KU, wanted to learn more about. Fast forward a few short weeks to this weekend; Kasongo and his parents will be learning more about Kansas.

    Last summer Kasongo become a pretty big deal in the recruiting world when he put 24 points, 15 rebounds and 7 blocks on BOTH Cliff Alexander and Jahlil Okafor in Las Vegas. At that time Kasongo had three schools that he was focused on, Oregon, LSU and Florida State. Although Kansas was interested in Kasongo back then, the Jayhawks never offered because they were still recruiting, the previously mentioned, Alexander and Okafor. After committing and de-committing to Oregon last October Kasongo ultimately committed to the Ducks again before signing in early November. Then on July 30th Kasongo was denied admission into Oregon which started the recruiting process all over again. Kasongo is originally from the Toronto area, but spent time at East Ridge High School and Pikeville High School in Kentucky before going to Phase 1 Academy in Phoenix, AZ for the 2013-2014 season. According to Kasongo’s mentor, Brandon Bender, another Canadian has already told him Kansas is the place to be. “He knows [Andrew] Wiggins,” said Bender. “Their families know each other and Andrew has been in his ear about Kansas,” Bender added. And what about Kansas? Well, according to Bender, KU was a no-brainier of a school to consider once they called to inquire about Kasongo. “I mean - it’s Kansas,” said Bender. Coach Self and his staff have done a great job with bigs and are known for developing and getting big men ready for the NBA. “He is a 6’9” chiseled athletic monster," Bender added about Kasongo. Kasongo turned 19 on June 13th and is closing in on 6’10" and 230 pounds. His ability to snag rebounds, block shots and play above the rim is something that Kansas needs moving into the 2014-2015 season. The addition of Kasongo to the KU roster would give Kansas terrific depth at both post positions. It would also allow Coach Self to play Ellis and Traylor away from the basket more which he has mentioned he will experiment with. Kansas, Michigan State, CAL, Memphis, UCONN and more have all shown interest in Kasongo. With a visit planned to Kansas this weekend the Jayhawks could have a big addition to the roster.

    Matt Scott Kansas Insider - TheShiver

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    WOW! Interesting news. Does KU have any scholarships left? I though Graham and Svi took the last ones. If he did not qualify at Oregon, chances are he will not qualify at KU either and might have to come on a financial id package and sit one year, like McLemore did.

  • @JayHawkFanToo one left

  • @drgnslayr I think Jamari and Cliff will be great bruise bros!!! I think they will play together a lot. I’m hoping maybe even some pressing? Depending on the match ups, I’d put 4 guards and Mari in to press. Run the floor. Praying that kid has a great year and stays out of trouble!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 You said … “Depending on the match ups, I’d put 4 guards and Mari in to press. Run the floor.”

    Somewhere, coach Self is just laughing, thinking to himself, “what does @Crinsonorblue22 know that I don’t know? I’m the all knowing God of basketball. Press? Too risky. Feed the post. Play good old fashioned man-to-man all the time. Let the opponent dictate pace. Press? Don’t you know we could give up an easy basket? Press? Only when it’s panic time.”

  • I’m really looking forward to Selden busting out or breaking out (is there a difference?!) We all have our ideas as to why he disappointed us last season, but we also saw the vast potential the young man has.

    As for Jamari, I’ve never seen him as a star and leader, but more of a valuable first off the bench type of guy.

    No matter what he does, he had his bust out moment years ago when he overcame spending nights in January in Chicago in a car as a homeless teen. It really is quite remarkable obviously.

    As for Kasongo, I’d be a little skeptical. Someone with that much talent but with the question marks on eligibility makes me unsure whether he’d play this year. If he’s as good as this indicates, by all means, get him here, but probably don’t expect him to play until 15-16.

  • I agree drgnslayr that Jamari is definitely a candidate for bust out/break out player on this squad.

    The main question is will he get enough PT to show off even more? Will he really get more than 15-20 minutes a game with Ellis there. Statistically can he avg more than 4.8 pts and 4 boards a game if his role is similar to last years?

    Last year we saw vast improvement from Traylor. His FG % would have been the highest in the country I believe if he had the min amount of shot attempts to qualify. He showed he is much quicker than most 4’s. He shot much better as a FT shooter for most of the yr then previously shown. I believe he can be a 70% + shooter from the stripe. Even showed glimpse’s of a jump-shot so he’s made great strides. His rebounding and weak side shot blocking were very good and his energy in games is exactly what this team needs. Not to mention if Self ever pressed he’s got a tall athletic kid on the front line.

    He still can continue to improve defensively and honing in on less fouls. A good example that sticks in my head is how badly Nash of Oklahoma St. made Traylor look on several occasions last year. I think defense is the biggest improvement he can make because he has already come so far on offense.

    If Traylor was 2-3 inches taller he’d probably start at C or be pressing Ellis for the Starting PF spot. Because he’s not tall enough, he is as good a 6th man as we may ever have the next 2 years.

  • @BeddieKU23 Right … if Traylor is a solid and reliable first big off the bench this year and next, he has exceeded expectations based on ranking and recruitment. Actually, I think he’s probably done that already. He is a nice choice to be a break-out player. @drgnslayr is making a high-odds gamble there … instead of say going with a less volatile choice, he’s looking to make bigger money.

    If Traylor does breakout, and puts himself in a position to make money playing basketball, there will be no one in America more deserving.

    And yes, we can forgive his July 4 rant.

  • I remember some of Self’s earliest comments on Jamari. He said he wasn’t going to let Jamari leave KU until he could make a good living with a basketball. I’m positive Self still stands by his words.

    Concerning Bam-Bam’s PT… I think Perry will have a big influence on that. Jamari is pushing Perry to step up, especially on defense, and also to play more consistent, aggressive basketball. There were games last year that Perry just didn’t show up. He’ll be riding pine this year when he doesn’t show up.

    Right now the choice is Perry (good offense, poor defense) or Jamari (fair offense, good defense).

    It will be interesting to see which of these players improve the most over summer. Perry has more opportunities with camps, etc. But I will never sell Jamari short. His street instincts are valuable in the post, more valuable than “the designer” perspective.

    His role and value will not be determined 100% by the amount of minutes he receives. What will count most for Jamari will be making good use of the minutes he does receive. He has a great opportunity this year to be the deciding factor in several games, including games in March. That can not be stressed enough.

  • @drgnslayr if Perry ever gets a chance at the 3, just maybe🙏, Mari starts at 4. Match ups! I don’t think Perry can defend at the 3.

  • I’m all in on Mari this year. When we played the game against Eastern Kentucky during the tournament I saw his massive potential for this year. I was so happy for him to have that game and knew that was his coming out party. He’s a hungry kid and his hunger will push Perry and make this whol team better. Having a couple new kids with chips and swag (KO and Big Cliff) certainly doesn’t hurt either. If he can stay away fromt he dumb fouls we will go far. KY was one of my favorite players because of the energy and hustle he broguht to the team off the bench. We don’t need Mari to be a starter, he can come off the bench and bring that same enrgy and intensity but with more athletcism and power than KY did. I think heis going to have a monster year.

  • @HawkInMizery did you get married yet?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Nope! My life isn’t over yet lol. I have about a month and a half left ha! September 27th is the day

  • @HawkInMizery best wishes! You have her going to games and cheering for KU? Your life will be even happier.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Thank you! and she goes to games, i’ve caught her cheering a couple times even though she’s a MU fan. She try’s to act like she’s not making the change but she is. She even wears KU gear that I bought her on non game days. She still wears some MU things but i’ve never gone to a game with her and never will unless we somehow end up playing them again. One of her friends who’s from Columbia asked if I wore MU shirts since she wears my teams shirts, I responded with an emphatic hell no i’m not a blood traitor. RCJH! she will just have to come along for the ride lol

  • @HawkInMizery you are a great influence! Congrats!!

  • @HawkInMizery

    We got someone getting married to a misery fan? Either get counseling before that day, or I suggest removal from this site. I don’t know if you read the Bible but Israel was prohibited from intermarrying with the Canaanites and when they went ahead and did it got them sent to Babylon. We don’t want you getting sent to Babylon, so be careful!

  • @drgnslayr You are right there … there were some games where Ellis flat got benched. And we know it was all defense (or energy) related. There were many times when Self chose to play Traylor over Ellis.

    @Crimsonorblue22 Did you say Ellis can’t defend at the 3, or that he just can’t defend … bit hazy there. But correct in either case. I do have hope that his defense has improved. It’s mostly about an anchor, not getting moved. He is just not as quick laterally as a guy like Traylor either, as some have pointed out. There are a number of things I’m hopeful about, and one is Ellis’ defense. I don’t want to have those zone vs. man debates this season. Tharpe gone, Ellis improved by 25% on D, and we are all in the “man” boat together.

    @HawkInMizery - by your screen name, might have thought you were already married … kidding, if you choose wisely, it’s a choice you won’t regret. But will you move out of Missouri?

  • @wissoxfan83 I think Mari can be a star and I also think he will be a leader this year. Who will be a leader this year? Not many thought much of Tarik last year, and he was a leader, a very impressive one! I hate to say negative things about players and i hope I’m wrong, but do you thing Selden has a high bb iq?

  • @HighEliteMajor hawkinmizery is spreading the red blue light there! Perry’s D sucks at every position, but I think we’ll see improvement!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I always try to spread the good word!

    @wissoxfan83 Hopefully I won’t be sent to Babylon, it’s her one flaw and it’s pretty major but it’s slowly but surely fading away. She doesn’t watch games, know players names, or ever even go to CoMo unless we make a White Castle run, and then we are outta there!

    @HighEliteMajor hahah not yet just a deroratory name for the cess pool that is Missouri. And we won’t be moving soon we actually just bought a house by Worlds of Fun. So much cheaper than Johnson County for a lot more house.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I believe Perry has solid fundamentals at both ends of the court but so far has developed only the offensive part. I am not sure if he is big enough to defend the 4 but he certainly could defend the 3 in college. However, if he is going to to make it to the NBA, it will as a 3 and he is not fast enough, at least not yet, to defend the 3 in the League. I am hoping that in the off-season he has improved his defensive and polished his offensive skills and we will see a much improved player. It would be nice to have a player from the state of Kansas in the NBA; The last native Kansan that I can think is Wayne Simien, and he did not stay in the NBA that long.

  • I have been looking everywhere for Ray Kasongo stuff and found out some good info. I will have time to put it to pen and paper later. He was followed and had interest from UK and KU just to name a few blue bloods but it appears that no one wanted to pull the trigger on an offer due to the countries top Bigs holding out longer than usual. He had very little exposure until he played in a few big games towards the end of 2013. Looks like HCBS and company are rolling out the carpet for him too. Wiggins will be in town and I bet we sign him before he makes his other 2 visits.

  • @JayHawkFanToo … Did you just say that Ellis “certainly could defend the 3 in college”? Are your referring to the lower 50% of 3 guys, for example? Not the better guys, I would assume.

    I’m curious, isn’t lateral quickness a significant issue for him? Not being fast, but quick?

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Notice I said “could” and later further qualified by saying …*“I am hoping that in the off-season he has improved his defensive and polished his offensive skills and we will see a much improved player.” * However, I do agree that his lateral quickness, or lack thereof, is the major issue for Perry.

  • Here are a couple of clips on Ray:

    Ray is a project player. So was TRob. So is Jamari.

    Do we lose out by taking him? We use up a scholarship, no doubt. Is he worth it?

    I think only Self knows. He has the best feel for who he might lose next year and who we might recruit in.

    If we use the scholie, and if we don’t lose any scholie players next year in the draft, we have no scholies to give anyone.

    I would be fine with that. Because if we kept everyone, we wouldn’t need anyone. There may be an argument for needing a super tree in the post. But seriously… with the abundance of so many post players up to 6’10", would we really need a frosh big man to make a difference?

    This is the kind of player a lot of us like… athletic… potential… and going to be around for at least 3 years! We’ve had this discussion before… do we keep a mix of players, both OADs and project players? I think we should. I still don’t want to be a team with all OADs. I think our reputation as “Big Man U” is largely enhanced by taking diamonds in the rough and eventually sending them sparkling off to the league.

    So I’m on board for picking up Ray if Self wants him. Self is the only guy who knows if this is the right move.

    I said it a month ago… that we still aren’t done recruiting for this coming year. I felt sure we would use that extra scholie if we got the chance. I believe that chance is here.

  • @drgnslayr I agree that there is no risk here. We have an open scholarship. That’s all this is about. It’s also insurance – if Ellis and Alexander leave, and we miss on the top big guys, he has a body. If he signs, and doesn’t work out, I’m sure a spring transfer when needed is simply a Bill Self conversation away – I’m sure Kasongo might have a daughter, or other family member, he’d like to be closer to. He’s not going to stand in the way of us signing the guys Self really wants. There is no real risk with this move, if we make it. But it deserves zero excitement.

    And we have had the discussion before – “do we keep a mix of players, both OADs and project players?”

    But I would offer this – what about the top 50 guys? There are not projects in the top 50. Folks called Embiid a project, and he was a start now guy. TRob wasn’t a project in my opinion – he needed to sit and learn his freshman season like most top 50 guys. We have never taken a real “diamond in the rough” – unranked guy – and sent him off to the NBA. None. We’ve polished many into NBA guys, as @drgnslayr said. All of our NBA guys were guys that, with work, should get there.

    I just think any hype on this guy is silly (and I know @drgnslayr isn’t hyping him). We read that Kasongo is a physical specimen like Ibaka and that “He’s like Amar’e Stoudemire when he first got in the NBA. That’s what he is.” – from his AAU coach. Ugh. Sure he is.

    The guy is unranked. Still. Consider this – his biggest selling point on Kasongo is his alleged performance against Alexander and Okafor two years ago. Right. Two years ago. So this didn’t (allegedly) happen recently, and thus his lack of a ranking reflects this meaningless selling point.

    The fact this guy is now a hot commodity means nothing. It’s supply and demand. There are teams with open scholarships, and very few players available. It means nothing.

    All this guy is, until proven otherwise, is a body. A guy that would come in, bang in practice, and if all goes right, develop into a back-up like Traylor. Sure, we could get hit by the Trey Burke or Derrick Williams lightning bolt, but I’ve never seen that lightning bolt hit at Kansas.

    As @drgnslayr said, we have a scholarship open. It’s a reasonable gamble. No risk. Potential reward. As Rocky said to Clubber, “go for it.”

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I believe you covered the salient points nicely. The video, while impressive does not tell me much as he seems to be a good 6 inches taller than most of the players in the opposing team, and highlight videos are exactly that, “highlight” videos that show the very best plays but not the average/norm or boneheaded plays.

    More importantly, why is it that Oregon has denied him admission when its team is in desperate need for players and have several scholarships available? This story indicates that he did not meet academic standards…

    Kasongo denied admission to Oregon…

    According to this source he has qualified academically:

    Read More…

    …but he claims he does not know why he was denied admission, which sounds disingenuous to me. So what is the real reason? Are KU admission standards that much lower than Oregon that would allow him admission to KU and not Oregon? I certainly hope not. How about Conference standards? Didn’t McLemore (and Canadian big man Braeden Anderson) met KU standards but not Conference standards and had to sit one year? Because of the many school he attended, are we looking at a similar situation? There certainly seems to be more to the story than we know.

  • @HighEliteMajor I don’t think this kid has had a bunch of exposure. I think there IS something to get excited about here if KU adds Ray Kasongo. I remember when Zach Peters verbally committed to us and how he was the MAN CHILD, the next big thing or the highest ranked PF in his class. After his verbal commitment he stopped the AAU circuit and played football which turned out being terrible for him in both top 100 rankings and his health. Point is Peters dropped completely out of the top 100 due to lack of exposure or talent evaluator’s putting their eyes on him during the summer AAU scene. Kasongo has DIV1 talent and has had many programs interested/following him since 2013. I believe if he put those kind numbers up against the best bigs in his class 2 years ago he still can. Self and company will get the best out of this guy. I don’t think many of us were excited when KY came to KU but he proved to be a valuable part of our team. Howard was keeping tabs on this guy clear back in 2013 and if the staff wants him I would think they have their reasons. So get excited folks because I say so!

  • @drgnslayr I think it would be great if Jamari is given the opportunity to have a breakout year. I am hoping for the same with Landon Lucas. It’s his 3rd year in the system. Lots of players have had great years in the their 3rd year in Coach Self’s System. We shall see. Thanks for starting a great thread!!

  • @KansasComet

    You welcome! I try to keep the flies off the meat in here! (an old saying going way way back!)

    I think Kasongo has a lot of interest now because he may be the only available big bruiser at the moment. If this was 6 months ago, would Self be inviting him in? Well… maybe not. But maybe. We need a mix of talent to make a team, and a big bruising post player always has a place on a team. However, it seems we have a collection of big, bruising guys right now!

    While I took the high road for bringing this guy in… @HighEliteMajor did explain the “facts of life” and how we don’t risk anything if he comes. If we have the opportunity to land a top recruit and we don’t have a scholie… someone will suddenly transfer. It wouldn’t necessarily be Kasongo… but the game of musical chairs would begin for a remaining spot on the bench.

    This guy does deserve hype on his overall size/athleticism. Regardless of where he fits in the Top 1000… he does fit in a small group of strong big men.

    We all moaned from the loss of Tar. Consider Kasongo a freshman Tar! That is pretty much what we are getting! I recall all the criticism for bringing in Tar. He almost kept us in March Madness by himself (that last game)! He was the only guy who came ready to play and we sure needed his 18 points!

    I just hope Kasongo has as big a heart as Tar!

    It is great to have a thread on one of the Bruise Brothers and end up on the other!

    Tar… we miss you, bro!

  • @KansasComet said:> @drgnslayr I think it would be great if Jamari is given the opportunity to have a breakout year. I am hoping for the same with Landon Lucas. It’s his 3rd year in the system. Lots of players have had great years in the their 3rd year in Coach Self’s System. We shall see. Thanks for starting a great thread!!

    Thanks for the reminder about Lucas. With Mickelson and Lucas on the deep end of the bench I’d consider our front court experience to be really deep. It makes me wonder… Down by double digits at about 5 min left do we start to foul and use our time outs and lean on our depth to extend the game or do we try to play our way out of it with our 7 man rotation, wait for the TV timeout and then play through, maybe using 1 timeout late if we are close enough? I would really like to see the former this year.

  • @approxinfinity

    Interesting idea on having more diversity around fouling. I’m not sure that scenario fits well with depth off the bench if it hasn’t already been employed earlier in the game. It is tough to get settled in a game when your first minutes come at the end.

    I see other opportunities. Like the possibility of keeping a key big in the game with 2 fouls in the first half. That is huge! And if he picks up a third it can really help to bring in one of these guys while still early in the game. With some early minutes, they shouldn’t need much adjustment if needed in the second half.

    Also… maybe we have an injury. Or maybe Self needs to discipline one of our bigs for slacking off. Or… maybe someone is sick or just not matching up well. Or… how about we move up the tempo on a full press and need to rotate in a lot of bodies? There are so many ways to use a bench!

  • @drgnslayr and @approxinfinity I’d love to see basketball implement a rule on intentional fouls toward the end of the game. For the first one, the offender is given a yellow card, and a second yellow puts the player on the ejected seat. I really don’t care for the end of game fouling just to manage time or “get back into the game”. The most disgusting offense is fouling someone to prevent the last attempt to tie or win the game. In soccer that is called for a red card/sendoff for denying an obvious scoring opportunity.

  • @Wishawk well played! I would have never thought of that. But wouldn’t that mean with 4 minutes left everyone would turn into Marcus smart? Maybe both systems are broken. What we need is impartial robot officials that never make the wrong call. Then we can apply the carding system to basketball.

  • @approxinfinity Well, the floppers will be caught on TV and there are already gazillion video reviews, a few more won’t hurt. Besides the floppers also have the negative effects on the game just like the hackers. I wouldn’t mind seeing them get carded and thrown out of the games too.

    The only downside of this is that it favors the teams that have deeper bench. So the Kentuckys of the world won’t be hurt by this rule, but Ohios might. How about implementing the hockey rule, make the offending team play short and give the other team a 2 minute power play?

  • @Wishawk

    How about penalizing floppers like the NBA does by looking at tapes after the games. Since players cannot be fined, then a warning for the first flop, 1 game suspension for the second, 2 games for the third and so on.; after 10 flop-free game, the count can re-start minus the warning.

  • @JayHawkFanToo That may work if the players can be disciplined. But in college, what matters the most is the last game of the season. I can’t see anyone being punished after season is over. I’d say the punishment to the offending team must be in the game and immediate.

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