Kansas Point Guard Concerns

  • Just saw this on ESPN.


    It is funny that nationally our PG play is being talked about as suspect. I personally could not be more excited to have the 3 headed monster we are going to have. We have beat the PG issue to death since last season but I suppose it is due to our lack of leadership at the position the last couple of years. Not to say our guard play will be as good as it was in 2008 this season but I am really looking forward to multiple guys playing the position as they did during our championship run.

    I wish I could just be basketball season!!

  • @joeloveshawks

    I hardly consider that piece journalism. Myron didn’t read up on his Jayhawk basketball. Self said it has been a long time since we had this much depth at point. I would have thought the piece would be about us missing a shot blocker in the post. Even Self has commented around that story and the possibilities we have with playing small.

    I believe we will be starting a new era out at point. New ideas and skills will be shown this year from the perimeter and there is a good chance we will start reducing all those nasty TOs that plague us every year. We might even create a few TOs. Who knows, maybe we end up in the plus category on TOs! Wouldn’t that be a pleasant new way to pick up some possessions? And maybe some additional run-outs?!

  • Myron appears to have KU issues.

    Myron appears to misunderstand KU frequently.

    Myron’s apparent misunderstanding of KU does not seem an entirely random walk through the valley of analytic error.

    Myron’s error factor seems to scatter as a cloud with some autocorrelation.

    Myron, do the right thing.

    Myron, regress validly on KU.

    Myron, set your basketball betas in order.

    Myron, get parametrically sound.

    Myron, Rock Chalk!


  • In reading Medcalf’s thoughts, this stuck out to me: “In recent seasons, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson and Tharpe all played the position for the Jayhawks. But their sometimes erratic efforts and sloppiness were a problem. They weren’t fits for Self’s system.”

    Maybe I’m crazy, but who here thinks that coach Self didn’t think that TT was a fit? I think coach Self absolutely loved TT. Until January 1, 2012, I thought Self was crazy. But then the 2nd half of 2012 happened. Then it all made sense. That was the TT that Self knew was there. Self loved what he thought TT could be, as much as he loved what TT became in that last half of his senior season. Above all, TT was a “fit” because of defense. Not perfect, but the TT of the second half of 2012 was clearly a “fit.”

    But Medcalf also makes a correct statement, at least in the eyes of many KU fans. Medcalf said “Well, they’ll eventually figure it out. Unless they don’t. If that happens, Kansas might be left behind come March.”

    Isn’t this exactly what many think? That last March, our fate was doomed due to Tharpe and poor point guard play.

    That will not happen this season – poor point guard play dooming our chances.

    What I worry most about now is post defense. My second worry is that Self will not permit our offensive strengths to shine through, namely three point shooting.

    If we have competent post defense and our shooters are given the latitude to shoot the ball, this team has a national championship level ceiling.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Uber props!

  • With Self, a problem is just a solution about to happen.

    He is nothing if not doggedly determined to fix the solvable. There are just a very few things that are still eluding him and he is working on them!

    As with anyone, the stickiest problems are the one’ he hasn’t yet recognized. But who that has seen the video of him prowling the practice court barking corrections and praise doubts the man is always tracking 360 like spinning radar in search of the next bogey? Go, Bill, go!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Yes, three point shooting in Self’s system baffles me. We need to shoot more but w the right shooters. Last year we had three guys logging massive bench minutes in CF, Green n AWIII that were all 3 pt threats.

    My favorite three of all time (after Mario’s of course) was Rush’s deep three against UNC after which Billy Packer uttered “this game is over.”

  • Defense is what worries me this year. It will have to come from all 5 spots on the floor, and all 5 spots are unproven.

    If our guards play the same defense our guards have played the last few years we are in trouble. They will be counting (once again) on our post guys rescuing them. Not gonna happen this year. And then imagine the foul trouble we will have in the post when guys like Cliff fight to adjust to D1 ball by battling other talented, big post players he isn’t used to facing, while having to protect the rim from perimeter players that are skilled above what he is used to facing on team defense. That spells foul trouble, any way you look at it. Perry will have to earn his spot on the floor this year… the soft defense he has played until now simply isn’t going to cut it. Enter Jamari Traylor!

    The closest starting player on the floor that has some background in playing defense is Wayne (mostly before he was hobbled). I’m expecting big things from Wayne this year. He should be the overall leader of this team, and he should lead with defense.

    I’m also putting big hopes into Frank. Here is a guy with lethal talent. If he can make the transition this year from HS ball to college team ball, we are in for some big time help from Frank!

    We (typically) do not play the best offensive sets for 3-point shooting. The hi/lo can open up the guys outside, but that is only when we are really successful in the hi/lo in the low post. We need our 3-point shooters to fight through the post and pop out on the other side for a quick (open) 3. That is something these guys need to rep on from now up through next March. When guys are on the run and catch the ball, pivot and shoot, it seems it would be a tougher shot because it introduces more mechanical aspects. But when guys work on it with reps, they end up being better shooters doing this than a flat footed spot up shot. All the mechanics involved create a flow that really works well after so many reps. The spot shot is vulnerable to nerves because there is not much going on with that shot so guys stiffen up.

    We so often run a set offense with 3 guards standing on the line throwing the ball back and forth until they spot a seam open up. I’m not really big on this offense. It is predictable and teams can easily scout and prepare to play us. And it seems like it would be easier to hit 3s with this, but we have years now of not being a good 3-pt shooting team (even though we have talented shooters). Obviously, it is not the right offense to run to hit 3s.

    Watch players like Heslip for Baylor. He’ll get out there and fight through the crowd trying to get open. He’s not even very athletic and is always a danger on offense.

  • @drgnslayr Hmmm … what you have described in your last three paragraphs is the quintessential system coach. He ain’t changin.

    One item I found kind of humorous. Self was describing the possibility of playing small. He then ended his comment with, “… but I don’t know if we could guard anybody.”

    I think that’s how his mind works. Lots of stuff sounds good. He’ll talk about it and speculate. But he’ll talk himself out of it. When push comes to shove, he’ll stick with the tried and true.

    You said of our offense - “It is predictable and teams can easily scout and prepare to play us.”

    Sounds like a new thread to me …

  • Self sometimes likes to throw out misdirection in the media intermittently perhaps more for recruiting in the off season, than for opposing coaches. By talking about having to play small inside this season, he signals that Lucas and Michelson are stiffs. This would be exactly what bigs he is recruiting would like to hear.

    But we know Michelson was not a stiff at UArk. And we hear Lucas has been showing decently overseas. And we know that any number of bigs sized up Lucas and Michelson and decided not to come to KU to try to start this season.

    Thus, Self singing the short big blues this pre-season maybe a tune that will quickly disappear once the exhibition games happen and opposing coaches (and elite big man recruits) see that Lucas and Michelson are not shrinking violets, and Wild Bill is not reduced to small ball after all.

    Talk small but play tall.

    Sometimes I think Self studies Eisenhower before each season. Its like he has set up these two inflatable dummies in the north of England–one with Lucas’ face on it, and one with Michelson’s face on it–and says this is my decoy army of big man stiffs, while in the south of England, training as usual for an application of overwhelming force is what he calls his small big man army that is closed to public scrutiny behind a bunch of guard towers, barrage balloons and little man camouflage. But inside the barbed wire perimeter, Lucas and Michelson are training with the supposedly little man army and training to kick ass and take names later!!!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    "You said of our offense - “It is predictable and teams can easily scout and prepare to play us.”

    Sounds like a new thread to me …"

    You are right… it should be a thread. I’m trying not to focus too hard right now on struggles. This time of year is that brief period when we all sort of earn back our virginity. I’m still in dream mode. Once the games start, the innocence is gone! hahahe.

    Did you see the ESPN film on the '84 draft? That was the amazing draft with Olajuwon, Jordan, Barkley and several more. They were showing how Jordan just jumped right in there and kicked butt in the league because no college system coach was holding him back any longer. Funny, but once you leave the college game everyone at the college level gets smacked around because college ball isn’t the real world… even Dean Smith.

  • @HighEliteMajor Great discussion about recent point guard “woes”. I have spent the last 4 days rewatching the 2012 Tyshawn/TRob team grind thru their 5 game win streak in the Dance, and honestly I miss those guys dearly. For sure the episodes of cheap turnovers were there in almost every game, but the powerful post presence of TRobinson + Withey was awesome, as was the steady, clutch production from Elijah Johnson in the 2guard/combo role…he even brought the ball up 20-30% of the time, even with Tyshawn in the game. It was sad how TT couldnt buy a 3 for most of tourney. It is true they didnt execute their half court O quite as good as the '08 guys. Releford was a steady force throughout. EJ was actually more aggressive also as a junior because TT’s & TRob’s swagger rubbed off on him.

    Regarding 3pt shooting in Self’s O, looking at that Tourney run only in '12, we didnt shoot well at all from 3, except vs UNC. We had 3 designated shooters on floor at all times between Releford, EJ, TT, and Teahan. My point is, that even with our average-only 3pt threats, Self still let them shoot within the flow of the offense. He let Sherron shoot whenever. Same for Reed & Bstar & EJ. Same for Naa, Selden, BMac, & Wiggy. Its a delicate balance between letting the kids take open atts in the flow of the O, vs shooting so much that we begin to resemble Hoiberg’s “outside-in” fools gold, as in Self’s mind, thats low%bball. Hard to sustain high% shooting for 6 gms straight. The night IowaSt or Duke cant hit 3s, they are done…but not necessarily for KU, as we have a philosophy of pounding it in for high% inside looks. We can win a grinder, without 3pt shooting but we also have been bounced out of the maddness by horrific 3 shooting + poor D (UNI, VCU). Nothing wrong with the 3 as a weapon, but gotta stay versatile & physically tough. Paint penetrations & post play lead to accumulating fouls on the opponent, which can change the dynamics of a game if a key opposing player has to sit.

  • @ralster EJ did not have anyone to run with his senior year. He had Tharpe. No offense, but that’s like Michael Corleone depending on Fredo in the Godfather. Just doesn’t make any sense.

  • @KansasComet BMac?

    @ralster - Do you then disagree with @drgnslayr when he said that our offense “… is predictable and teams can easily scout and prepare to play us”?

    Also, isn’t good three point shooting reliable? At least as reliable as pounding it inside (see Stanford game)?

    I say that in part because of the obvious … shoot 35% from three, and you’re better than if you shoot 50% from two.

    I prefer and outside in game. Mainly because a focus on three point shooting frees the minds of the three point shooters. They know they are supposed to shoot when open. They aren’t hesitant. They just gun. Then, their proficiency can open things up for the drive and the post feed.

    Focusing on getting the ball inside makes three point shooters freeze for the exact reason we’ve seen it in the past – they get second guessed, screamed at, and taken out of the game for one misstep, or one three point shot before 15 seconds on the shot clock.

    Finally, an outside in game is substantially harder to guard. Which one would you rather guard? One where you know the ball is getting fed inside and you know the opposing coach doesn’t want early threes; or one where you know shots could come from anywhere, at anytime?

  • @HighEliteMajor Would love to agree with you, but BMac lost his mojo when he got a bogus technical against ISU for celebrating a 3 pointer. When it was time to go on a tournament run, there was no one for him to turn to. Love McLemore, but he was never the same after the ISU game.

  • @HighEliteMajor Mentally, 3 pointers hurt more. Remember McNamara? I don’t even have to say what team he played for or what he did to us. 3 pointers can leave scars. It’s the point I was making about Tharpe guarding Frankamp in practice. We have the 3 point shooters to break some teams down emotionally.

  • @KansasComet

    “3 pointers can leave scars.”

    I think everyone in here should give that an “Amen!”

    Please, please… post that over in the the quotes archive thread!

  • @KansasComet Good point about Na guarding CF. Also you nailed a deep 3 yourself on the “leave a scar” take. Quite essentially so on a young team chock loaded with freshman & sophomores who have not faced great amounts of adversity at the hs level. I personally can remember a whole heckuvalot more wounds than just Mc Namara in the NC, but also UK in 2o12 & my most hated implosion/collapse of recent years, complete with many three’s, VCU in 2010.

  • @drgnslayr Much appreciated! Not only do we have great shooters, we appear to have confident shooters, which is a great thing to have come March and beyond.

  • @globaljaybird Thank you for reinforcing my point! There must be a reason why the 3 ball is referred to as “The Dagger”!

  • @HighEliteMajor I guess I am split about the “easily scouted/predictable/prepare for” sentiment. Let me explain, as I think each specific KU roster creates a significant variable yr-to-yr, not to mention even the best of teams can have an off-shooting day.

    UNI was trusted senior McDAA Sherron going 0-6 from 3, and we didnt play D. I recall Sherron’s shots were in the flow of the offense, open-looks…the kind Self approves. We did ourselves in.

    VCU, vs overall #1 seed KU…alas, ku did sooo many things wrong, that literally we gave them the W. Bad D overall, Kieff w/6 turnovers alone (huge), and Reed goes 1-7 from 3. Again, our discussion is about Self’s O, and i distinctly recall Tyrel’s 3att as “good open looks”, with Tyshawn penetrating & dutifully kicking it out to a trusted, senior, greenlight shooter…who simply had a bad day. We didnt perform like the overall #1 seed, so we did not deserve to advance. Notice hot-Tourney3% VCU stuck a fork in themselves when they went cold from 3 in that yr’s F4, if i recall. Ask Self today, & he will say Sherron and Reed took “good 3 open look attempts”. Hate to chalk it up to something so analytically simple as bad shooting day, but it is one of 3 stark facts about VCU loss, with the 6 t.o. by Kieff, and the lack of ku’s transition D. We forked ourself.

    The Stanford loss highlights that any inexperienced team (WiggyHawks) with a dumbed-down O can, YES, be scouted and gameplanned. This BillSelf team was most certainly NOT the 08Champs, who destroyed opposing zoneDs. Donovan, Painter, SDSU, all successfully gameplanned this last team, and Biid +Wiggy didnt matter. I have a MAJOR problem lumping all Bill Self teams together because of this variability. Let me put it more bluntly: the '12 TRob/TT Hawks would likely butcher the Wiggyhawks due to nasty post presence, coupled with guard play of TT+EJ, and because of experience. They beat quality opponents in their Tourney run, while wiggyhawks struggled in their 1st rd game, & lost to Stanford. Same Self, but hard to compare offenses, as the variable execution of it is my whole point, along with the always-possible fateful bad-shooting night…

    Not to dwell on the negative, but consider when Self’s O is being executed well: recall those OT epic battles with Durant’s TX. Recall KU in the 08 Final4 vs UNC, when KUs ridic D & majorly hot transition AND set-offense buried Roys #1 seed UNC. I believe RussRob (33% trey) opened the ku slaughter of UNC with a corner trey (oh, but was he not supposed to take a 3??). Again, recall Mario + Rush + Sherron all having the green light on treys from day 1, as did wiggy and Bmac, EJ, TT. TT missing 21 trey att in the highstakes madness, while he shot 36% treys during the reg season proves the variability of bball, as does Sherron + Reeds shooting vs UNI + VCU.

    But here’s more evidence to my point about variability in execution: look at that middle portion of the 08 ku-unc game where we infamously went “brain dead”, to quote Self. That includes our dear RussRob, Mario, and Rush, almost letting UNC make a comeback. And those same 08champs couldnt execute too well vs Davidson, eh? It happens to the best. Survive-&-advance, or get felled.

    And no matter who the coach, or whatever the system or shooting philosophy, the odds simply are that you WILL get bounced. So Self’s system design is to go high-%, not only with 2pt shot selection, but with open-look 3s being considered the best % on those shot att. What Sherron did to Willie Warren is just gravy; pure swag. Like EJ @ISU.

    I wonder what Bill Self would say about the outside-in approach when current darling of it (Hoiberg) got beat by an erratic ku team in their own gym in Ames? Shot themselves clean outta the game. Oh, but they were open looks…but where was the adjustment? The backup plan? Pound it inside…with ISUs 6’7 & smaller roster? Now that Fred has a 6’10 or 7ftr, watch him be not so outside-in. Just my guess.

  • @ralster Good stuff HEM. You broke it down with excellence & simple x’s & o’s for us old folks. Personnel is the key plain & simple & quite joyfully I still have 2 of those UT games on the dvr !! Self’s going to play what he thinks is his best hand & after 10 years I expect nothing different. Let’s you & I hope that CF, Green, Selden & several others can light up the gym like the aurora borealis with trifectas so Bill becomes a true believer in the hole card… IMO that’s what it will likely take to get out of the offensive predictability he displayed with Wigs & Joel last season. Also in proper perspective, those 08 Hawks had an ass load of plan B’s in the arsenal, with at minimum 3 muffin fresh Aces off the bench-Cole, Sherron, & Sasha. Not bad, huh? Three flippin starters on most other teams in the nation IMO, in damn near any year of the past 10. And it’s OK to call me homer any time you like, but I just don’t like to bury my head in the sand. One more thing, the 08 Davidson team shot lights out the first half & was one friggin dagger away from sending us packing at the end of that game. I was nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockin chairs by the time it was over.

  • @ralster

    I totally follow what you are saying… but when was the last time Kansas had a team that was shooting the long ball with a high degree of accuracy? When was the last time our team 3-ball percentages were towards the top of college basketball?

    We’ve had a big chunk of major perimeter talent come through the doors at AFH. Why didn’t their outside numbers match with the rest of their game?

    This has bothered me for quite a while. I try to discover the problem then think of a way to fix it. But where is the fix?

    I know CF was a freshman this past year but he gave very little evidence of what he had accomplished in HS. Where did his shot go?

    I’d like a bunch of people in here to respond to that. I’m curious what others think.

    HEM and I have both mentioned how CS yanks kids quickly and they have to be disciplined throughout the shot clock and only shoot towards the end. We notice a stiffness and players maybe thinking too much rather than playing. But can we hang all our poor perimeter shooting on that? Could it be our offensive structure that negatively impacts our 3-balls?

    Help me out, folks…

  • Good food for thought by all above…I guess another way to highlight roster variability is simply give Self enough good% 3gunners, and he gives them the green light.

    But here’s the twist: if it starts to become brick city from 3, then Self’s insistence on a competent, tough post game pays dividends by getting to the FT line, putting opposition in foul trouble, & slowing the game down into that “dreaded 55pt grinder”, ala ‘SuttonBall’…but see, only tough-ass teams can play that way. To have designed-in such a versatile philosophy is why the man wins 82% of his games. Not at all suggesting he cant improve, but then how scary would that be for opposing coaches. Self’s system shines when he has an experienced roster.

  • @drgnslayr Honestly, I just think the 3% just depends on the kid. Yep, CF was the worst 3% on the team last season, but he showed his glimpse against Stanford. Recall we hit 3s vs Stanford, but lost simply because Ellis + Traylor had horrific shooting days in the paint. Black kept us in it, til he fouled out.

    Recall all season they bring in CF for a play, and he clanks 3att all season…while Brannen Greene sees equally low mpg, but when he came in, often he hit the trey.

    See folks, Im not annointing CF the next hot 3 shooter til i see him shoot over 38%. Sherron could hit from day 1 as a frosh, as could Mario and BRush. CF is NOT in their category. And since his frosh yr has passed, technically he never can be

  • Banned

    @ralster I’m afraid that CF 3% woes were a direct reflection of HCBS in how he handles Freshman. You can make a case for BG also. How many times did HCBS bring them in to hit a big shot only to bring out he hook when the shot didn’t fall?

  • @DoubleDD good point, as I do think Self is tough on frosh (he always will be), but there’s definitely a difference in how frosh CF performed, compared to frosh BGreene. Or frosh Chalmers, frosh Rush, frosh Sherron.

    I see differences in players, and each has differring abilities as a freshman to deliver what Self wants. And the performance bar on what Self wants is set high, usually by experienced soph, jrs, and seniors.

  • I point most of our issues being about not developing the right tempos throughout the game.

    Our guys need to build momentum. So when we have a break away dunk or an excellent 3 or a nice defensive play, we need to back that up on the next possession by being in total attack mode. It is hard to be in total attack mode when you are taught to be disciplined throughout the shot clock. Kids need to feel it. The game is largely won on emotion and when the focus is strictly discipline, then kids get away from emotion.

    Seems we need a better blend of emotion and discipline.

    I wonder if having more emotion would lead to better 3-point shooting?

  • All offenses are predictable. Think about it.

    Let’s start with coaching. Most coaches will stick with one style of offense or variation of it based on the available personnel. and while occasionally they will show a different look, they will eventually come back to their bread and butter. In math and other sciences it is called “regression toward the mean” and basically says that given enough occurrences of an event, the result will gravitate toward the average. For example, a player that averages 12 PPG will have games when he scores 20 point and games where he scores 4 points, but if you plot a line of the individual scores it will be a straight line with scores clustered on both sides and the line and the line stays flat if the player has a steady performance or trends up when a player improves throughout the season, but the scoring will again regress toward the mean/average. A more common example is the coin flip. If you flip a balanced coin 1 time you will get either a head or a tail making the result 100% for one outcome, if you flip the coin a few more times your result initially might be heavy on one side but the more times you flip the coin, the closer it will get to a perfect 50%-50 distribution; very predictable. Offenses are not that different, the more you see them, the more predictable they become and this applies not only to the offense but all aspect of play. This is the basis for what Fran Fraschiila says that throughout a season, every team will play 5-6 games well above average and 5-6 game well below average and the rest it will play to its average, in other words they will win/lose the games they are supposed to and the key to successful season is to find a way to win those games where you play well below average; this is where coaches earn their money and make the biggest difference.

    Now, every team spends a lot of money and resources reviewing film of opponents, Why? because teams are predictable and by reviewing past performance you know exactly what they will do…or try to do. If teams, and by extension players, were unpredictable, reviewing film would be a waste of time.

    After a team has played a few games, you know who is the go-to player, who is the scorer, who rebounds, who bring the ball up the court, who distributes the ball and what scheme they use. All very predictable. Look at the great players, such as Kareem, who were very predictable; whenever he got the ball near the basket, defenders knew he was going to turn sideways and unleash the sky hook, they knew it was coming, they prepared for it, practiced defending it, try to stop it and he still scored. Or Iverson and the crossover; defender had seen it thousands of times, practiced defending it, knew exactly when it was coming and still got a “broken ankle;” not even this player could do it when Iverson was on…

    Very predictable and yet very difficult o defend.

    The part that makes the game unpredictable is how well or how poorly the team executes the plan. The key for a defense is to disrupt the execution and make the offense play below it average. You know what the other team will do; you just need to disrupt their plan enough so they will play below averages. KU has had a knack lately of playing below average at the wrong time. @Ralster cited some examples such a Sherron going 0-6 or Tyrel 1-7 that illustrates the point.; had these player (and other) just played to their average, KU wins those games since it was the better team with aberrant performances.

    KU’s offense is by all account is a lot more complicated than most and takes players the better part of a year to become familiar with it and this is why the “one and done” players, so far have not performed to the expected level and why Coach Self had to dumb down the offense. In its full glory, the KU offense is difficult to stop because the many variations and options make it difficult for defenses to prepare for all the possible gyrations…defenses know what is coming, they just have trouble adjusting to all the variations.

    Is KU offense predictable? Sure, but then they all are. Just my 2 cents.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Let’s go with your conclusion for argument’s sake. Then, in large part, it is the adjustments that coaches make when faced with defenses that have employed an appropriate strategy to stop the otherwise equally predictable offenses?

    And don’t say it’s the players. Because if it were simply the execution of these otherwise predictable offenses, then coaching would not matter. You would just have to coach offense at the minimal, predictable level of all other offenses.

    Of course, I don’t agree here at all. But I’m very interested in your take (and anyone else’s) on my question.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Of course you don’t agree; I would be truly surprised if you did.

    Actually it is mostly the players not executing the plan. The coach can simplify the offense and make game time changes (up to a point) to compensate for a superior defense, but when either the players are just not executing the plan or the shots are not falling, there is nothing the coach can really do. What could have Coach Self done when Sherron goes 0-6 or Tyrel 1-7? or or Ellis and Traylor miss bunnies from 2 feet away? or Markieff keeps turning the ball over? It is not like a coach can jump in and play, and some have even tried that…

    Cal gets involved…

    …and it still did not work. In the end, it is usually the players not executing the plan as outlined by the coaching staff and this is either due to lack of talent, which the coaching staff has probable already taken into consideration, or lack of effort and/or concentration which the coaching staff can do nothing about. Also, when you are playing against a better team, chances are that you will lose regardless, as I explained in my previous post. ***Coaches do the bulk of the work before the game ***preparing the players and at game time simply make the needed adjustments. Coach Wooden, universally acknowledged as one of the top coaches of all time did not like to call time out during games because he considered that if players did not learn during practice, a time out during the game was useless. This is an excerpt from a review of his autobiography:

    "Those who were close students of Coach Wooden’s can tell you that he was famous for a peculiar coaching tendency: he rarely called timeouts. It might be tempting to dismiss this as a coincidence since his teams were often so dominant, but this simple explanation would deprive others of an important lesson. Coach Wooden rarely called timeouts because he believed that his job was to teach his players how to prepare, then to prepare them thoroughly for every game. Once the game started, he largely left it to his disciplined army of athletes to figure things out for themselves, often times even when they found themselves in a spot of bother."

    You wrote…

    And don’t say it’s the players. Because if it were simply the execution of these otherwise predictable offenses, then coaching would not matter.

    To which I say your statement makes no sense…if coaching does not matter, then who do yo think teaches the players how to play the selected offense (and defense), predictable or otherwise? Should they just handed them a playbook and turn them lose? If that is the case, why is KU paying Coach Self more in one year that most will make in a lifetime? Obviously most see a lot of value in what Coach Self brings to the table and feel he earns every penny.

    We have all been posting here enough to know how we all think and it is apparent that you are not a fan of Coach Self. I am curious who you consider a good or superior coach? Maybe no one?

    There is an expression in business that goes something like…behind every successful businessman there is a wife telling him he is doing it all wrong. We can extend the concept ot sports and say…behind every successful coach there is an army of fans telling hims he is doing all wrong…of course reconciling the 30 wins per year Coach Self averages with inferior coaching is really a bitch, isn’t it?

    BTW, I wrote the above with no disrespect intended or implied. It is just my opinion and as Dennis Miller used to say…I could be wrong.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “There is an expression in business that goes something like…behind every successful businessman there is a wife telling him he is doing it all wrong.”

    You left off the last part… “and they are usually right!”

    Good post. Yeah, Wooden didn’t like to call timeouts, and a big part of that was because he taught his players to be accountable for their actions. I recall him saying… “who is going to call time-out for you in your life after Bruin basketball?”

    The best coach I ever experienced once taught us a lesson. During a big tournament game he left the bench. He went to the concession stand and had a hotdog and didn’t come back. He told his assistant and the other guys on the bench that he was going to take a break, since the rest of us were on break, too. He didn’t return to the game until we built a solid lead and we picked up the pace (considerably).

    This game is all about coaching.

  • @drgnslayr Nice story!

    Come March, anybody want to chip in with me on hot dog money for Coach? (Like he needs more money)

  • @drgnslayr Indeed … GREAT, Great Story !! I like it !! Double thumbs up !!!

  • @drgnslayr

    I think you missed the “successful” part. If he is doing it all wrong how can he be successful? Likewise, if a coach, such as Self, is doing it all wrong, how, in God’s green earth, can he win consistently and average 30 wins per year? Just sayin’ 🙂

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Definitely didn’t miss that part! And if he was unsuccessful I’m pretty sure Cindy would have straightened him out!

  • @drgnslayr

    Sorry slayer but I believe you are getting the gist of what I wanted to convey wrong.

    What I said was…

    “Behind every successful businessman there is a wife telling him he is doing it all wrong.”

    and NOT…

    “Behind every successful businessman there is a wife telling him when is doing wrong.”

    See the difference?

    What I was trying to say is that successful people are always being told they are doing it wrong (and not just by the wife) and yet they are successful by not paying attention to them; if they would listen to all the unsolicited advise from all the unqualified people (including the wife), they would not be nearly as successful; in fact, they would likely not be successful at all.

    Likewise, you can even see in this forum where some posters (who have never coached even grade school kids) are constantly second guessing Coach Self and claiming he is doing it all wrong, by playing or not playing certain players, or using this or that offense or defense, or playing too fast or too slow, or being too inflexible or pulling players too quick…you name it, and yet he continues to win…consistently, oh well, I am glad he does what he does and does not listen to the “armchair quarterbacks” or whatever the expression is for basketball (Lazy Boy PGs???) and continues to win consistently, including conference titles. I will guess most of us feel the same way.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I was trying to find a way to show what a great coach Self is during the season and how less than great he is during March, but looking at statsheet.com kind of humbled me a little bit.

    When you compare Self against the average among active coaches, he looks pretty dang good. Consider the following:

    Self - (all statistics are with Kansas) NCAA Tournaments -15
    Average active coaches - 2.2

    Self - FINAL FOURS -2
    Average active coaches - .18

    Conference Tournament Titles - 7
    Average active coaches - .96

    The one that really got MY attention was this:

    Average active coaches - 1.52

    As a somewhat out of control Jayhawk B-Ball fan, who expects to at least go to the Final Four every year, I’m often greatly disappointed in March ( I know - so are most other fans ) but these stats really did get my attention.

  • @nuleafjhawk

    Welcome to the dark…I mean the right side @nuleafjhawk

  • @JayHawkFanToo If there are any better you can likely count em on one hand unless…you complete the quip-LOL

  • @nuleafjhawk I’d love to see a scatter plot of the active coaches on each of those stats. My guess is that there is a clump of coaches at the extreme top that pull the ‘average’.

    For instance, the majority of active Div 1 coaches have 0 final fours. There are probably less than 15 that have 2 or more final fours and none that have more than 10. That’s a very clumpy distribution and it makes averages kind of misleading.

    Anyway, they are all good stats, but we all knew that Coach Self is above average. He’s got the best winning percentage of active coaches since he arrived in Lawrence.

    I feel like the question in most cases is how close to the top is he?

  • @nuleafjhawk

    Here is a stat on Self comparing him to the coaching herd that really stands out:

    Number of stupid remarks said by coaches that make them and the university look bad, get in hot water, etc.

    Self - 0

    I agree Self is a great public speaker but he has had a few notable gaffs, probably notable because they can be counted of a few fingers. The two that stick out in my mind are 1. ripping EJs senior team in the middle of their 3 game conference skid including TCU. Maybe that’s how you make men but I thought it contributed to the skid. And 2. Saying we don’t have a point guard about Naa. As others have recently said Self has his system, and that system has historically included ripping a few ppl publicly. Rush responded favorably to it. EJ and Naa appeared to not respond favorably. Maybe this is more an issue of Self not having PGs that he knows can take that kind of public heat from him.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Sorry I’m late back to the table. I can’t post on my work computer any more because some glitch related to the site.

    We do disagree a lot, but I do appreciate your thoughtful responses. Like you, no disrespect intended or even implied.

    Here’s what I’d ask you to do … try to free your mind. I’ll try to do the same. I am really going to reconsider my criticisms of Self after this post. But I’d ask you to really be critical, really analyze this. Don’t be afraid to criticize coach Self or anyone you perceive to be wiser than you. They’re just people.

    My response is two parts:

    First, you do realize that your citation of Coach Wooden and his approach to the game, apparently what you believe to be the most credible approach, is an apparent indictment of coach Self? You can see that, right? Never fear, though, I’m on the grand jury. No indictment is imminent.

    You cite Wooden for the proposition that his job was to teach player how to prepare, prepare them, and let them execute, citing the following, “Once the game started, he largely left it to his disciplined army of athletes to figure things out for themselves, often times even when they found themselves in a spot of bother.”

    However, Coach Self is a near control freak during games. He regularly uses all of his timeouts. He calls all sets, and all plays. He signals all in-bounds plays. He is universally known for his quick hook, and emotionally based substitutions. He strategically moves players in and out. When he has players in a timeout, he’s always directing. I agree with Self’s approach 100%.

    Of course, in all sports, coaches do the bulk of work before the game. You put that in bold as if that is some sort of revelation. That’s like saying the sky is blue.

    The other really incredibly obvious reference is to players missing shots or turning the ball over affecting games. Of course. That happens. And that can swing a game. The sky is blue.

    But the key that you apparently fail to recognize is that coaches do their most important coaching during games when the players aren’t performing and when their preparation has failed. Whether it is changing to a different formation in football, or switching defenses in basketball (like UK did vs. UConn in the first half), or bunting/hit and run in baseball, there are enumerable adjustments that coaches make during the game that decides the outcome, and those decisions become more important as the game moves on and there is less time to come back from a deficit.

    Coach Self calls a back door lob because the defender in the zone is creeping up from the baseline; he recognizes that a defender on an inbound play creeps to the middle on a throw in opposite, so runs the wheel around for a bucket; he notices that a player rotates backward each time after he tries to penetrate the baseline, so he instructs his help defender to shut that off, causing a turnover. It literally goes on and on. But it’s the players.

    I tend to think that you watched the Stanford game and truly thought it was 80% on the players. Your citation of our players in the UNI and VCU games demonstrates that you have a lack of accountability directed at a coach. So in your book, Self prepared his squad correctly, his games plan was fine, his personnel choices fine, his in game adjustments all fine; it was just the players. That is simply comical. It is convenient. But it is a cop-out.

    I will very confidently say that you simply do not appreciate, or really understand, the role of a coach during in-game situations. That to me is obvious.

    You state" … you can even see in this forum where some posters (who have never coached even grade school kids) are constantly second guessing Coach Self and claiming he is doing it all wrong,"

    My disagreement with you is from the perspective of a guy that has coached over 50 seasons of youth baseball, basketball, and football, all at the top levels of each sport.

    You say when you “… are playing against a better team, chances are that you will lose regardless.” Really. That is another indictment of coach Self, right? Somehow, we have found ways to lose to inferior teams in the tournament over and over. I’m sure UNI, VCU, Bradley, Bucknell, Bradley, et. al. would be considered “inferior.”

    But knowing how you approach an argument, you’ll go circular. You’ll go back and say, see, the players failed. You have attempted to cover yourself from both ends. But it really comes down to a lack of appreciation for in-game coaching.

    Second, you fall into a common trap. My perception of your post and defense of Self is that simply because he is the coach of Kansas and makes millions, that he undoubtedly knows best at all times. As if he’s beyond reproach. Meaning, that the opinions of us mere peons’ are just uninformed and worthless.

    I reject that completely.

    I have used this example before. Marty Schottenheimer, great football coach. In 1997, Elvis Grbac got hurt so Rich Gannon took over. Gannon led the Chiefs on a great run, AFC West title, home field – Schottenheimer made the fateful decision to start Grbac over Gannon in the playoff game vs. Denver in Grbac’s first game back, and the Chiefs lost. Broncos go on to win the Super Bowl. Probably the Chiefs best team ever.

    Most Chiefs fans felt Gannon should have started.

    Schottenheimer admitted later that he made the wrong decision.

    The point is that coaches make mistakes, and coaches admit those mistakes later. They are human. They make decisions for the wrong reason. Schottenheimer made the decision because he didn’t feel Grbac should lose the job because of injury. Flawed logic, to be sure.

    Your shortsighted approach to criticism of coach Self ignores that coaches are dead wrong many times. Thus, if you accept that premise – that coaches are dead wrong many times – criticism and analysis are reasonable. The generically most informed and intelligent person on a topic can make the wrong decision.

    Now, does that mean that anyone of us would be a better all around coach than coach Self? Of course not. So don’t confuse the two.

    It does not take a rocket scientist (in a hoops sense) to see that coach Self did nothing against Stanford to free up his best player, Andrew Wiggins, from a strategy designed to stop him (when his real best player, Joel Embiid, was out). Multiple strategies that coaches employ when teams try to take a great player out of the game. Self did nothing. And lineup decisions, pregame and in-game are crucial. In hindsight, would you have started Naadir Tharpe vs. Stanford? I said before the game that we should bench him and not play him one minute. Who was right, me, or coach Self? I also suggested before the tournament that given that Embiid was out, we should have switched to a small lineup, attack, play fast, etc. That with Embiid out, it was our only chance to win the title. Who was right, me, or coach Self?

    I have also made some pretty stupid suggestions. And my stupid suggestions are far more vast and wide that any of coach Self’s decisions. I know that. But that doesn’t mean that perhaps some of my suggestions, and other’s that post here, are better than coach Self’s ultimate decisions on a particular topic.

    Scrutinizing certain aspects of his decision making, that may not be his strong suit, is certainly reasonable. That’s all this is. Isolating areas that seem to be weakness, and analyzing the decision making, the thought process, the scheme, the strategy.

    I heard Bob Knight one evening suggest that Kansas was not using the dribble drive enough. Ok, perhaps one of the best coaches in history critiquing one of the best coaches in history. But if we say the same thing here, that coach Knight said, it is worthless, right?

    I reject that completely. Jim Boeheim won a national title running the 2-3 zone. Self won’t do it. It’s not valid to suggest that in 2013-14 that using a zone, with that team, with our defensive holes, might have been the better option – like I (and others) suggested in late November?

    Coach Self failed us against Stanford. Joe Montana failed the 49ers a few times too. He made some bad decisions. Threw some interceptions. But he is still arguably one of the greatest of all time. Coaches are the same way.

    One last thing … if you’re still with me here. I’ve posted this before. Coaches get arrogant. They get tunnel vision. They think their way unequivocally is the best way. It happens in all walks of life; the arrogance of leadership. It does not permit the leader to free his mind and make the best decision for his team. It’s why many bad decisions are made. But it’s also why they’re successful. there’s a balance. I just don’t think coach Self has that balance.

    It why we all chuckle when coach Self says we could play small, but in the same sentence says that we then couldn’t guard anyone. He thinks it, talks himself out of it, and reverts to his tried and true – his theory of the game.

    You say that “it is apparent that you are not a fan of Coach Self.” That is the furthest thing from the truth. I have posted many, many times over the years that I would not trade coach Self for any other coach. And I wouldn’t. My analysis is related to my perception of how he could improve as a coach. Really, as I’ve said before, “just tweaks.” Opening his mind that his way, his tried and true, could stand some adjustments here and there.

    Again, I appreciate your position and the discussion. Though I tend to get blunt, no offense intended. I’ll try to rethink my position a bit.

  • @HighEliteMajor Sorry HEM, thought this was fixed. When I upgraded the board, I went to 0.5.1, then reverted to 0.5.0 when I had login problems. This appears to be the fix they made for the 0.5.1 login issue https://github.com/NodeBB/NodeBB/issues/2043. I’d upgrade again to 0.5.1 but I think I’d prefer to wait at present, provided you can login at work.

    Is it possible you still have the cached version of the site in your work browser, and could you try to Ctrl-f5 on the site next time you try (or flush cache) next time if not? These kinds of issues are the downside of being bleeding edge I guess… Most times its something minor, but login problems definitely stink. Let me know if it can’t be resolved and if so I may upgrade to 0.5.1 early and confirm major functionality looks good.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    First, I will start by saying that I don’t believe Coach Self or any other coach for that matter is perfect and does not mistakes, they are not and they do make mistakes and grow large egos; however, I have an issue when just about everything Coach Self does is second guessed, even when his record indicates he is doing it mostly right and not the other way around. You have indeed said that you would not trade Coach Self for any other coach, and yet all you post about him is criticism and not “just tweaks” as you wrote; you can see why there is a disconnect between what you say you would do and what you actually post, don’t you? This is the reason why have asked you (more than once) who do you consider a good or superior coach, better than Coach Self anyway, and you have yet to answer; maybe no coach meets your lofty standards.

    I thought about writing a long, long post refuting every red herring argument you have thrown into the discussion such as…

    ***You say when you “… are playing against a better team, chances are that you will lose regardless.” Really. That is another indictment of coach Self, right? Somehow, we have found ways to lose to inferior teams in the tournament over and over. I’m sure UNI, VCU, Bradley, Bucknell, Bradley, et. al. would be considered “inferior.” ***

    Did you actually read what I wrote? “Chances are” implies a likely but not an absolute outcome, and it is valid any way you look at it. The entire gaming industry has been created based on that principle. Yes, inferior team do win but that is by no means the norm; this is why it is called a…guess what…an “UPSET.” If KU plays all the teams you mention 2 out of 3 , or 3out of 5, or 4 out of 7 or any other series of games, I am confident KU wins all those series; by the same criteria, KU does not win in '88 either. Perhaps this is why I do not place the emphasis you do in National Championships since, IMHO, winning one involves a much larger dose of luck than winning a regular season Conference Title does. It stands to reason why most sports other than football (logistically not feasible) opt for a series of games to decide winners rather than single games and take most of the luck out of the process.

    Again, I could refute every point with a coherent explanation…but why? The good posters of this board have probably had enough of the subject and every thing that can be said has been said ad nauseam, not only in this thread but many others before, wouldn’t you agree? Members are smart enough to have their own opinions and likely have had enough of ours.

    Having said that I guess it is time for us to just agree to disagree and leave it at that…and this is my last post on the subject.

  • There just isn’t an exact definition of what it takes to win a National Championship. A dash of this, a dash of that…

    Look at Kentucky this past year. From a talent point, even though young, they were stuffed with talent, and that helped. But they got lucky in several of those games that was on their path to the championship game. Their talent remained right through the championship game… but they didn’t quite have the luck in that final game. Oh yeah… maybe it was lack of experience!

    Good coaching, talent, experience, a good floor general, no injuries, no situations that divert team focus… and luck… This would be my dash ingredients if I was baking a NC pie.

    There are other things that could happen. A player with tons of potential could just suddenly figure out part of his potential in March. That could happen to several players. The twins at Kentucky definitely figured out parts of their game in March.

    Knowing this shouldn’t take away from the goal to have great coaching and talented players. It is hard to win without them. Even a guy like Calipari, who isn’t known to be a good Xs and Os coach, is (obviously) learning how to get the most out of OAD talent. I expect he will be back in the FF soon… quite possibly this year!

  • @JayHawkFanToo – I did read what you wrote. Very closely.

    Your response is odd … you cite my quote of your statement, “… are playing against a better team, chances are that you will lose regardless.” Then you take great pains focusing on the term “chances”, and ignore the “lose regardless” part, claiming you didn’t mean “absolute.” In context, in your post, your focus was on the “lose regardless” part. You focused on minimizing the in game coaching, and that players decide games.

    I guess I don’t understand why folks … you in this case … feel the need to rationalize our tournament failures. To be honest, these rationalizations sound like MU fans. Everybody plays in the same tourney. But you ignore that we are dealt a much better deck of cards in terms of talent than all but a few teams, every season. We have a stacked deck. The precise item you cited – “better teams.” That stacked deck is evidenced by who exactly wins titles – it is the top programs. You are right. Talent is a major, major factor. My issue is why, when we have such tremendous talent – elite talent – we just happen to be disproportionately unlucky then?

    See, I see the top teams as having close to the same talent. What are the other factors? Luck. And coaching. Some coaches might suggest that you create your own luck, many times. Some coaches might suggest that preparation leads to performance. Some coaches might suggest that their approach can help determine whether their players play tight, or play loose. Lots of things beyond sheer talent.

    But no one will debate that we have top talent on the floor nearly every season. Why doesn’t that talent enjoy a proportionate rate of success in the tourney?

    It is a fine line. If coach Self has just one more title, say in 2011, I’m not discussing this. So I recognize the luck factor, and I recognize that a lot of this is nit-picking.

    Also, you said, “however, I have an issue when just about everything Coach Self does is second guessed, even when his record indicates he is doing it mostly right and not the other way around.”

    Well, welcome to fan forums. I would say that on this site, the criticism is informed. It’s not random, ridiculous complaints. Sure, there is some anger or disgust after a big loss. But the discussion is about how we can improve – that doesn’t lend itself to pats on the back all the time. I think most of us start from the premise that we have a great team, a great coach. Now, how can it get better.

    As for if a poster have had enough of a particular subject or discussion, they can choose not to read if the topic is boring to them.

  • @drgnslayr Like we were saying, this is a national championship season … until it isn’t!

  • Good stuff…I feel like I’m in basketball class. One question comes to mind : is the hi/lo offense simply too complicated for freshmen?

  • @KUSTEVE no! High schools run it.

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