Team Cohesion

  • As I reflect on our National Championship team I believe the largest factor in our success was team cohesion. This team didn’t allow outside distractions into their team huddle. When JWil made his early-season flub, the team stuck by him and didn’t seem impacted. When Remy came onboard and went through his struggles and injury, even though fans often injected doubts of his relationship with Self, the team kept in stride.

    Maybe it’s just me. But it seems over the past few years our teams have become a tighter bunch. Their perspectives are focused more on the good of the team, instead of their own personal accolades. No one projected that better than Och. He never liked to take personal credit and always kept his views related to the team. When JWil returned to the hardwoods after his mistake, he discovered his perspective started off wrong as he felt he needed more of a singular “step-up” instead of just helping the team.

    As I look ahead to this team… I pay close attention to the team vibe. Gradey seems to be right on stride by remaining humble and team focused. Zach is ready to take on the role as team grandpa by teaching from his experiences last season.

    Is it possible these attitudes towards team cohesion are also a general positive perspective of our youth today? I ask that because I have a couple of young kiddos and they share so well with others. Sure wasn’t typical of kids around me growing up. It was all “me, me, me” back in my kiddo days.

    I know players are different today than from players just a few years back. I can sense it.

    What are your perspectives on college players and youth today? I notice it’s become a sport for old school guys like me to criticize youth today… is that fair, and isn’t there positives we can point to with young folks?

    Does the transfer portal impact all this? For the positive or negative?

  • I just think the staff has done a better job of bringing in guys who just want to win. Not sure it is a generational thing more than it is a KU thing. Plenty of me, me, me out there.

    For every Joe Yesufu you have who just wants to contribute however he can, you get a Quentin Grimes who thinks he should be the one handling the ball 95% of the time.

    Also, money helps. I personally think NIL is a huge reason this roster stayed in tact as much as it did. Would you rather be paid $500k to be the 9th man at KU or $90k to start at DePaul? As chaotic as the new ecosystem sort of seems, I think it helps keep people from being so discontent. Players getting appropriately compensated for what they bring to the table sort of just makes everything else work how it is supposed to.

    Just some quick thoughts on it.

  • @Kcmatt7

    I didn’t figure in NIL… obvious, it belongs in this discussion.

    Is it possible that Self now values team cohesion more? Surely it must create a challenge to keep a team focused on team when you have an OAD or two and all the media swarms them whether they do well or not.

  • Maybe the NCAA threats have engendered a circling the wagons mentality.

    Which helps with loading them, of course.

  • @drgnslayr With NIL a huge factor in recruiting now, is KU amd Self going to follow Duke’s example and hire a GM to oversee the NIL side of the program?

  • @drgnslayr awesome topic. I remember specifically us talking about the no ego crew we had after Vick left, and how important team cohesion was. I 💯 💯 agree that this was a huge factor this year and the only real defense there is of Ochai winning the FF MOP. The kid has a heart of gold, even as the featured player, he knew how to get the best of his teammates and was fluid for what the situation demanded.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 said in Team Cohesion:

    With NIL a huge factor in recruiting now, is KU amd Self going to follow Duke’s example and hire a GM to oversee the NIL side of the program?

    I hate to think it… but might this be the most-important question moving forward?

  • We didn’t lose any players to the transfer port. Pure love for the program? Or respectable $$$ from NIL?

    Is “program love” heavily influenced now by NIL $$$?

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 said in Team Cohesion:

    @drgnslayr With NIL a huge factor in recruiting now, is KU amd Self going to follow Duke’s example and hire a GM to oversee the NIL side of the program?

    Yeah, maybe we could hire an Adidas rep since Dook hired a Nike rep. It would be much easier to distribute the checks that way.

  • @drgnslayr Great points. I think our cohesion came from sacrificing for the other guy, which I hope can be duplicated this year.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 said in Team Cohesion:

    @drgnslayr With NIL a huge factor in recruiting now, is KU amd Self going to follow Duke’s example and hire a GM to oversee the NIL side of the program?

    The more I think about this… it seems crucial for our program and players must be represented properly. It goes beyond just pulling in dollars for players… they’ll need guidance and representation for public relations. How bad will it get if players are perceived as only being loyal based on dollars?

    What has always been key to fans is the idea that players love their schools and are busting their butts because of that love. Once that is gone, college ball becomes a poorly played version of the NBA.

  • As far as team cohesion goes, I give a ton of credit to Och. He was a mostly quiet leader who led by example and was careful that every time he spoke to make sure his words reflected his values. That note to whoever took his room just solidified in my mind that 22 championship belongs to Och. His teammates saw his dedication, knew why he came back, and played for him. I can’t count how many post game interviews with players other than och focused on HIS work ethic and how “he’s our guy.” He will be missed and losing his leadership more than his skills will be the most likely reason we don’t repeat. It will be up to Juan and Wilson to pick up that torch. We will see if they can do it. I also have some wild hope that Yes takes a big step forward in this regard but I think I’m a bit out on a limb there.

    As far as the NIL vs love of the program stuff, it definitely is both. Hard to feel appreciated when you know you are undervalued. Hard to build trust and love for a program if you are feeling exploited. People leave jobs when they are underpaid, undervalued, underutilized. Most people are looking for balance and will take less money for a job they really want, or put up with a job they hate for more money but there are limits on both those extremes.

  • You can’t discount how much Agbaji and Braun’s games complemented each other. They really could play off each other because their games matched up so well. Once they figured out how to involve McCormack in a way that fit with Wilson once he got on track, everything sort of clicked at the end of the season.

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