Bill Stirs the PG pot....



  • Apparently the emergence of Devonte Graham muddies the water for our 2014-15 Jayhawks. Hope this is an accurate speculation that comes to fruition. I think back to how the great flashes of freshman guard play like Chalmers, Russ, or further back even Vaughn made me salivate for more, more, more. But with any new guy that’s not a clear cut OAD, Bills’ rope just ain’t that long. Why will this be any different guys? C’mon, let’s stir the cauldron !?

    http://collegebasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/09/28/kansas-completes-bill-selfs-two-week-boot-camp/



  • @globaljaybird Interesting article. Self says he went soft on them in boot camp last year. Odd when I read that. But his glowing evaluation of Graham is certainly encouraging. If we can find consistent PG play this year we will be right there at the end.



  • @wissoxfan83 really excited to see these kids play! I have no idea how the rotation will play out. I think coach has a lot of options, hopefully we get to see some of them!



  • @jaybate There you go: Graham drew praise from the US Marines, as well as from Self! And we still have bulldogMason + sniperFrankamp. Should be a helluva unit!



  • Bill needs a point guard bad and he knows it.

    He is pushing all the buttons to intensify getting better by Mason and Conner.

    Self knows he needs someone that can dribble, make entry passes, protect, and make the easy plays ASAP, or Bill is looking at double digit losses for sure again.

    Might as well break out the Nomex suits for Devonte, Frank and Conner, because Self is going to use everyone on everyone to some how win another conference title with Self’s standing height version of Darby O’Gill and the Little People. :-)



  • @jaybate-1.0 Hopefully it doesn’t evolve to stumpy, grumpy, & dopey.



  • @globaljaybird Haha! I can see them singing on the way into practice; “hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go…”

    @jaybate-1.0 I think you’re right about what Self knows he needs. I also believe that he feels he needs two that can do all of that, to use in those games where we face extra pressure and still have a scoring threat in that “2” spot.

    That ability to work the ball into the post on time and in the right spot will be key to our post players ability to finish. Our perimeter player last year struggled with that, and it was masked by Embiid’s natural gifts. Also having a scoring threat on that wing to receive the ball on post double teams will be important. So…I don’t know, but if Frank and Wayne are locks, then out of Oubre, Greene, CF, Graham two or three need to be able feed the post, be a scoring threat, and at least halfway dribble the ball reliably.

    When you combine that with defensive matchup needs it’s just a big jigsaw puzzle. It will be interesting to see all this shake out. Putting the pieces together for this season, scheming, and coaching them up will be huge for the direction this team goes in. And, that’s not even assessing our post play which will be a puzzle in of itself. I expect a lot more coach speak and misdirection from Self to keep early season opponents off balance.



  • @globaljaybird

    Truly you are correct. For much of the conference season, you need to be two deep for Saturday Monday games, given the ebb and flow of injuries and flu.

    But in the tourney, when the level of competition ratchets up the final notch, going two deep is often a luxury one cannot afford to exercise, or does so only sparingly.

    Recall that Self only used Aldrich significantly once in the 08 ring post season. But it was crucial to have him there when he was needed.

    The fantastically high level of talent in the tourney after the first round means you mostly have to play through your best 7, often just your best five.

    But the fascination of the game is that there remain a few situations where some one between 8th and 1oth on the depth chart has to come in an play the game of their life for you.

    Its part of the great inherent drama of the game.



  • @jaybate-1.0 “that moment” was one of my favorite tournament takes!



  • @Crimsonorblue22 and @jaybate-1.0

    This group looks more likely to have a guy off the bench, have a moment like that compared to the last couple of seasons! :)



  • @jaybate-1.0 said:

    @globaljaybird

    Truly you are correct. For much of the conference season, you need to be two deep for Saturday Monday games, given the ebb and flow of injuries and flu.

    But in the tourney, when the level of competition ratchets up the final notch, going two deep is often a luxury one cannot afford to exercise, or does so only sparingly.

    Recall that Self only used Aldrich significantly once in the 08 ring post season. But it was crucial to have him there when he was needed.

    The fantastically high level of talent in the tourney after the first round means you mostly have to play through your best 7, often just your best five.

    But the fascination of the game is that there remain a few situations where some one between 8th and 1oth on the depth chart has to come in an play the game of their life for you.

    Its part of the great inherent drama of the game.

    I had great seats at the 2008 UNC-KU game and remember being nervous when Aldrich went in. He took his game up a level and then some-talk about quality minutes from the bench when we needed. He delivered.



  • @JayhawkRock78 said:

    @jaybate-1.0 said:

    @globaljaybird

    Truly you are correct. For much of the conference season, you need to be two deep for Saturday Monday games, given the ebb and flow of injuries and flu.

    But in the tourney, when the level of competition ratchets up the final notch, going two deep is often a luxury one cannot afford to exercise, or does so only sparingly.

    Recall that Self only used Aldrich significantly once in the 08 ring post season. But it was crucial to have him there when he was needed.

    The fantastically high level of talent in the tourney after the first round means you mostly have to play through your best 7, often just your best five.

    But the fascination of the game is that there remain a few situations where some one between 8th and 1oth on the depth chart has to come in an play the game of their life for you.

    Its part of the great inherent drama of the game.

    I had great seats at the 2008 UNC-KU game and remember being nervous when Aldrich went in. He took his game up a level and then some-talk about quality minutes from the bench when we needed it. He delivered.



  • @JayhawkRock78 That was such a triumphant moment in the legacy-Cole handing Psycho T his butt in the semi. Vindication from the Roy years & emergence of the Self dynasty was almost as sweet as Rose & Cal collapsing in the Final. Not quite…but almost !! Sherron’s steal & Chalmers shot was simply the ending that even Spielberg could not create. RockChalk !!



  • @globaljaybird I could certainly see a scenario where Graham is slowly inserted as the starter at point guard, and has the job for several years. I am wondering if his abilities prove to be such a notch above CF and Frank, he doesn’t immediately make a large impact on our team.



  • If Bill lets them play thru mistakes a little who knows? Sky’s the limit IMO.



  • @globaljaybird I really am looking for any excuse to anoint Graham as all that and a bag of chips…lol.



  • @KUSTEVE

    Self apparently picks his lesser talents for the roster based on a fellow possessing some phenomenal raw athleticism, or skill, and then tries to “coach up” the rest of the players abilities to minimum standard, so that he winds up with a bonafide specialty weapon that can be inserted without paying a huge price in the basics. Doing this gives Self “options” to play it anyway they want, and to create mismatches, and stretch defenses situationally to torn fabrics.

    Self picks a guy like Mason to develop up to minimum standard to get the “Quantum T” type speed to apply to an opponent that brings in a slow steady type at PG, or a long range gunner at PG that isn’t particularly fast, or as a response to an opponent inserting a lightening fast water bug to mix metaphors. FRANK MASON GUARDING AND OFFENDING EFFICIENTLY AT WARP FACTOR ONE FORCES OPPOSING COACHES TO GO WITH THEIR FASTEST DEFENDER ON POINT, WHO OFTEN IS NOT THEIR BEST SCORER OR BALL HANDLER, AND WHO IS OFTEN MISTAKE PRONE. THAT IS MONEY IN THE BANK FOR KU, IF ONLY FRANK CAN STEP UP TO THE NEXT LEVEL.

    Self picks a guy like Conner to develop to strrrrrrreeeeeeetcch defenses down the middle. Any time Conner can stay on the floor defensively, handle the ball without TOs, keep it from sticking, get it to a wing reliably for wing initiation, toss a well placed lob, and be a threat from 28-30 feet, it is like automatically eliminating an opponent’s ability to stop our bigs on the blocks from scoring at will. Their wings have to look to help on Conner. Their bigs have to stay on their own bigs because our wings will go to uncontested iron backside for a rim feed from Conner whenever they try to double down front side. And their bigs also have to anticipate long rebounds, which means that if they hold a standing height advantage that that advantage means significantly less, because they have to go horizontal to get the long rebound. And so on. Fans that say they don’t care if their PG can drain the trey just don’t recall the Trey Burkes and Sherron Collins enough. The trey balling PG is gold that can run. I cannot recall a team with a high percentage trey baller at point and some solid bigs that did not give teams fits.

    Finally, there is the physical, jack-of-all-trades, Swiss Army Knife, Multi-tool, Jason m!@#$% f!@#$% Kidd kind of point guard. This guy can so physically and mentally intimidate other point guards with an XTReme Combination of physical and mental toughness and cat like quickness that the opposing point guard, even though he knows the guy doesn’t shoot it well from outside, winds up a mentally intimidated, physical submissive by about 8 minutes into the game–the type that is looking at the clock frequently and praying he makes it to the end of whatever half he is in. It appears there is hope, expectation even, that Devonte Graham might be, or become, that kind of player. THIS IS THE KIND OF PLAYER, IF HE CAN MAKE THE EASY PLAYS, YOU START FOR SURE, BECAUSE EVERY OPPOSING POINT GUARD KNOWS HE WILL HAVE TO SPEND THE GAME THINKING MORE ABOUT HOW TO STOP BEING ABUSED THAN THINKING ABOUT HOW HE GOING TO CREATE THAT DAY.

    And then there is that rarest of the rare point guard types–the standing height freak point guard–the Earvin Magic type point guard–the point guard that can do all the things the ordinary point guards do but just happens to be 6-6 to 6-9 standing anywhere on the court. This type of point guard makes ordinary coaches appear to be exceptional. This kind of player makes Jud Heathcote look like Albert Einstein playing an occasional game of soccer. This kind of player makes Pat Riley look more savvy than he actually was as a young coach. This kind of point guard means a coach actually has to actively LOSE a national championship.

    Guess what. Self has Svi who everyone swears could never play a minute at point guard ever in his KU career, just as everyone that had not followed Magic closely doubted Magic’s ability to keep succeeding at every level as a PG. Of course Svi lacks the combination of strength and athleticism and basketball IQ and ability to get better that Magic had, but so has every other point guard in the history of basketball. But a standing height point guard freak does not have to be as good as Magic to be a phenomenal “option” for a coach like Self. Oh, and Svi has reputedly been playing point guard most of his career already!!! I know Svi did not look very good in the FIBA feeds we saw of him, but the fact is he was staying on the floor with international level competition at the age of 17 as skinny as he was. Add Hudy, stir, and Svi becomes a dream option. How long did it take you to muscle up? That rate is a combination of maturation timing and want to on the weights and agility drills. Svi could easily be maturing as we speak and three months of Hudy could make him quite ready to dominate by February. Or Svi might not mature, like Elijah did not mature, till his junior year.

    Among this bunch of “options,” Self basically has a coaches wet dream of possible choices, but he has to wait for the season to find out which are premature fantasies, which can go live under the lights, and which sadly just don’t have what they appeared to have.

    KU would be “blessed,” with an emphasis on the word blessed, as African Americans often say it, if any of these four options came to full fruition. They would be killer point guards were they to achieve minimum standards and bring their unique XTReme skill to bear.

    It is both exciting and mysteriously perilous. The team needs for two to become street legal D1 point guards to spell each other. One reaching that level seems very likely in terms of probabilities. Two is more of a stretch. My guess is that Self will get one to blossom, and then have to mask the back up spot with some committee play that plays the leper with the most fingers in any given tactical situation.

    Rock Chalk!



  • @jaybate-1.0 your “blessed” comment is a little weird to me! I’m super blessed! I hope you are too!



  • I just love the evolving uses of languages and adore trying to adopt them in all kinds of ways and occasionally call attention to those uses that I think are being under recognized and under appreciated for their liveliness. Being receptive to the language use of others is like being a glue player on a basketball team. It means you keep the usage from sticking. You catch it and move it on. It makes the language feel so alive. And spreading the use of language is one of the small ways anyone can make our culture more inclusive. One of the great virtues of English the last few hundred years is its

    In contradistinction, your use of the word 'weird" is so hackneyed, contrived and lifeless in its application to my post. :-)

    JK to borrow from you, if I recall correctly. :-)



  • @jaybate-1.0

    Hey jaybate i have a question for you. I always enjoy your in depth breakdowns, but have you always been able to pick apart the game like you do, or is it something that you have developed over the years.



  • @jaybate-1.0 I am lifeless! I do adore your post. So what word would you use instead of weird?



  • @Crimsonorblue22 backfill here?



  • @jaybate-1.0 did you explain why African Americans commonly use blessed?



  • @jaybate-1.0 Street Legal guards. Me likey. I love the pace that Graham plays. He never sweats, never panics, always in control. His quickness reminds me of Tyshawn. He is very adept with the ball, is a great passer, has great court vision, and is considered a great defender. I think Coach is going to have trouble keeping this kid off the court. Love the SWEE take. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him catch a few minutes defending one of the Bobsey Twins in our match up against the Mildcats. Hopefully, we can make them scowl and cry all night.



  • @RockChalkRedlock

    I have been interested in how and by what rules teams move around the floor from an early age. Dancers also fascinate me in the same way, but I had no dancers in my family. :-)

    I learned about basketball offenses very generally from my Dad around the age of 8. I learned about a specific offense, Bruce Drake’s Shuffle Offense, at age 10 from my brother, who was learning it from his high school coach. I became kind of obsessed with basketball as a result of trying to figure out why Wooden and UCLA could beat everyone, especially my Jayhawks, all of the time, whether Wooden had a bunch of guys under 6-5 that no one had recruited hard, or when Wooden had some of the most talented teams of all time. Remember: he had undefeated seasons with both kinds of teams.

    My ability to learn from others about offensive and defensive schemes has been there from the beginning. If you would tell it to me, I could spit it back with just a bit of insight about it. But, frankly, few either knew, or cared to teach me as much about it as I wanted to know. For most of childhood, I had no idea why I wanted to know so much about spatial activities and seemingly few others either wanted to know the same things, or didn’t want to share what they knew.

    So I pretty much played the game just for the love of it, and kept all the thinking about it to myself. Alas, I wasn’t very good, so I didn’t get to play long. I got cut my senior season for a lot of reasons, and limited talent was certainly a contributing factor. :-(

    But once when I was young and broke I took a job surveying to try to save money to finish grad school. The guys on the crew were some of the roughest sons of bitches you could imagine. An Army Vietnam vet back in country three years with alcohol and anger management problems and post traumatic stress was my crew chief. Another guy was a Mexican illegal that had worked on a survey crew in Mexico before coming to America the hard way. Another guy on the crew had been a lumber jack in Idaho, fled a hit and run and had come to the southwest to lay low. Only the crew chief had been to college and he had only had a year. But all of these poorly educated, maladjusted, borderline crazy guys could use trig, a theodolite, a line rod, a chain, and maps, and find their way from brass caps at the edge of town 10-20 miles into the mountain wilderness, work as a team, and find a section corner marker on range and township baseline buried maybe since the railroad surveys of the mid 1800s and get back again without getting lost. This impressed me and, after first thinking they were a bunch of yahoos, I desperately wanted to be accepted by them as someone who could be relied on to hand signal right, calculate the expansion of the chain, and contribute to closing a square within an eighth of an inch going around the perimeter of a section, or two, while watching out for snakes and scorpions. They could do it, but I could not concentrate steadily enough. I was too sloppy. I day dreamed. I was thinking too much. Finally, they threatened to kick my ass as a group and leave me out in the desert if I didn’t get my shizz together. I did. And was shortly accepted, though never respected because I was trying to save my money to go back to school. School was for pussies that could not cut it in the real world. Anyway, what I learned from these guys was that there was a small subsegment of human beings that are spatial attuned. They can think spatially, even if they can’t read a detective mystery, or a newspaper. They can read maps and they can teach themselves trig, even though they can’t, or won’t, balance their check books. Out in a 108 F desert holding a line rod I learned that I was a spatial person that had been trapped in schools learning reading, writing, and arithmetic and some grossly oversimplified history all divorced from space. It was a big moment for me.

    Over the years I have gravitated toward activities that have required an aptitude for spatial analysis.

    Over the years I began to think more and more about basketball as a spatial game, rather than just a fun game, and about offenses and defenses as kinds of complex, high speed, surveys through space and time; things that might even be translated into mathematical algorithms.

    Then I got a dose of feasibility and statistics in another grad school. It was all greek to me until I found a statistics professor that translated statistics into a probabilistic study of spatially distributed data points that in combination constituted a topology that was in effect a topographic map of quantities in place and time. Voila! Statistics all made sense suddenly! No more boredom. Relevance. A way of dealing with the uncertainties that crop up in spatial relations.

    Then I got a dose of game theory along with informal strategy and I made the connection between spatial distribution of stuff, the movement of that stuff, the probabilities associated with the movement of that stuff, and the ways strategy and tactics could alter an opponents ability to anticipate and match up with that stuff, and the connections between topologies and topographies and so on.

    It all hurt to learn each step of the way, because I kept having to surrender thinking I understood things, decide I did not, and then learn some more.

    Learning hurts. Don’t let anyone fool you.

    But man does it feel good once you do learn it. :-)

    Each step of the way, I have been able to see a little deeper into the game, even though I was learning that stuff for other things. I have been able to recognize more and more what coaches and players are either intentionally, or accidentally doing on the floor.

    I am still bumfuzzled a lot of the time, just like anyone else.

    But I have the spatial tools to analyze what is going on and eventually get it, if I keep after it.

    I don’t know if non-spatial persons can do it or not.

    I only know that I am a spatial person and that if I work at it, with the tool box I have, I can wade through and get it eventually.

    But let me tell you: it helps a whole lot to have other folks around contributing their bits and pieces of insights. Sometimes they say something in just the right way, something you have thought, or heard, a hundred times before, and you just go, aha, that’ the missing piece I have been looking for to fit into this bigger, or smaller puzzle I have been thinking about.

    What I like so much about Self is that he throws out a few bones to all of us arm chair analysts about what he is doing. He is probably almost a savant like spatial thinker. Way the hell over my head in that regard. I would bet that he actually has trouble saying exactly what he knows about certain parts of basketball, because basketball is a spatial activity with a lot of n-dimensional simultaneity to its processes, where as language is a very linear accretion of subjects, verbs and objects. A spatial thinker talking about basketball is kind of like a musician talking about music. He can sort of explain what he is doing and thinking musically, but not really. Same with a mathematician. Unless you speak math, some of it is hard to relate in English. Same with translating any language and way of thinking into another language and way of thinking. Some things get lost in translation, but maybe the big picture gets through, if the person doing the translating works hard to get the essence through.

    So, the answer is: I could always do this some, but I have gotten better at doing it as I have learned more tools for dealing with space and what goes on in it.

    Hope that helps.

    Rock Chalk!



  • @Crimsonorblue22

    No, I can’t explain it, but I bet some one that has lived their culture more than I have could. It probably goes back to usages a century or more ago. Who knows? I could also be wrong! Maybe I think I hear a different emphasis on the word blessed and it isn’t really there; that’s where science would have to weigh in. I am responding on a poetic level. I know this is not about racism, because I am sensitive to these sorts of things in most subcultures, plus my ear picks up these sorts of distinctions in languages I do not even speak fluently. In Baja, Spanish is very hard and stoic and definitive. In the Carribean, especially Cuban folks, it becomes very sing songy. I have heard Baja Mexico folks laugh about Cuban accents and love how sing songy they are. And of course we hear sayings and phrasings among folks from the south of USA that delights our ears, whether or not we can emulate and use them correctly ourselves, without seeming ridiculous. I love “Y’all.” But I have lost my ability to say it without affectation. More’s the pity.



  • Nice read Y’all.

    In fact I enjoy reading all y’all.

    Translation for Northerners who haven’t moved south.
    Y’all can be one person or more than one person you are speaking with or a group. Y’all lost to Texas.

    All y’all, short for all of y’all includes everyone. All y’all are welcome to the BBQ.

    And yes, they mix and match it’ so you just let it slide. You guys get that?



  • @jaybate-1.0 last years team didn’t have very good spacial skills, especially on D!



  • @JayhawkRock78 "Nice read Y’all.

    In fact I enjoy reading all y’all.

    Translation for Northerners who haven’t moved south. Y’all can be one person or more than one person you are speaking with or a group. Y’all lost to Texas.

    All y’all, short for all of y’all includes everyone. All y’all are welcome to the BBQ.

    And yes, they mix and match it’ so you just let it slide. You guys get that?"

    The correct way to tell if a person is a real Texan is to ask them to say the word " yeah". If it has at least 2 syllables, then they are from Texas.



  • @KUSTEVE I’m curious. Would that 2 syllable pronunciation be like “YAAAA’-uh?” I am accused from being an Okie quite often & is common for me to say it that way when around friends or family to enunciate total agreement/conformance, etc; also to playfully confirm my heritage is true Kansas redneck. Fact is, that just can’t be denied.LOL



  • @jaybate-1.0

    “Bill needs a point guard bad and he knows it.”

    You nailed it. It isn’t that he doesn’t have several talented guys who can dribble, pass, etc…

    But the issue for Kansas this year will be about winning the possession battle.

    Gone is the big post presence for rebounding.

    Gone is the big post presence for shot blocking.

    We’ll need other advantages to win the battle of possessions, and none can be won more than from the PG position. We have to have a PG that will protect the ball while attacking at the same time. Throw in a few steals would be great, too!



  • @jaybate-1.0 Great story, great read!

    “One must first understand how to learn, before they can learn”

    This is what I love about your post, they make me think and evaluate my own preconceived notions before moving on. Every once in a while you drop a gem that really opens my eyes, and you did it twice today! Rock Chalk!



  • Is hard for me imagine that baby face Graham was a ‘tough guy’ at Boot Camp. Sure hope he was & Bills not just trying to stir competition alone. Is he the 3rd guy from Brewster that Bills had? I know the last one (Na) didn’t end up so peachy.



  • @drgnslayr Don’t forget about Mickelson. He was one of the best shot blockers in the country at Arkansas and is considered one of the top centers in the country. Now I’m not saying that he will as good as Jeff or Joel, but I think the combination of him, Jamari, Perry, and Big Cliff will be enough to get the job done. JMHO



  • @DinarHawk good pt! I think we’re all waiting to see him play, reserving judgement till he passes the eye test.



  • @jaybate-1.0

    “One must first understand how to learn, before they can learn”

    True “Woodenism!”

    Very nice read, JB. Love your focus on the spatial aspect of everything, especially pertaining to basketball.

    X-axis basketball is all about taking advantage of space. Focusing on the game beyond just the vertical height and leaping ability because only a small part of the game is played up there above the rim. Most of the game is below the rim… most of the game is from around the 6’ area on down. That height owns most of the passing trajectories, screens, ball handling, fakes, positioning for rebounds, passes and scoring… even running.

    We’ve all fallen in love with the high-flying jams and blocks. It has warped our sense of understanding. It makes us scratch our heads every time a team like UCONN wins ANOTHER National Championship.

    The game of basketball is nothing more than a game of logistics. Find a way to take a basketball and run it through a hole as many times as possible while trying to stop your opponent from doing the same thing. It really starts there (and ends there, too!).

    I’m surprised more people don’t study the math behind it. And how about more creativity with positions. Isn’t it one big game of chess? I know many football coaches get that. I know Andy Reid gets it… and he sure used it last night when he blew out the Pats.

    Let’s take what sounds like a ludicrous idea (with our current concept of “slam-jam basketball” ) and try to defend it.

    We are playing a team with a star 7-footer in the post, and our post player is getting dominated.

    Is it possible that our best match-up on their big man is none other than Conner Frankamp? 165 lbs, 5’11" (without KU inches).

    Let’s say that Conner is now the same scoring threat as he was in HS. Bombing those 3s…

    Now, is the 7-footer going to be able to contain Conner from the perimeter? I doubt it. Will Conner be able to contain the footer in the post? I doubt it. The post basket is 2 points. The perimeter basket is 3 points.

    Granted… the game isn’t this simple. Or is it? Chances are, our opponent will shuffle their defense out of their M2M and go zone, or flip defenders on hot Conner. Will that work? Maybe. Maybe not.

    The key is the complexion of the game can change quickly if the coaching perspective changes. That’s what Andy Reid did last night to play the most dominant half of football Belichick has ever faced. That was the reason why KC smacked NE.

    Utilizing a weapon like Frankamp can do the same thing. It creates a challenging juxtaposition that sometimes can not be overcome by opponents.

    Checkmate.



  • @DinarHawk Not to nit-pick, but Mickelson his sophomore year was way off the radar with blocks, just 1.2 per game. Wasn’t much of a factor there. But his freshman season was better, he was a ranked 36th in the nation, appx. 2.25 per game. So there is some optimism there.

    Now, Mickelson being " considered one of the top centers in the country" – let’s just say I’m cautiously optimistic there. Perhaps not holding my breath. But wouldn’t that be a cool thing to have happen? That’s the kind of thing that changes a team’s season.



  • @HighEliteMajor I had said Mickelson would be first BIG off the bench and many of the guys around here said it would be Traylor. Mickelson has 2-3 inches on Traylor and there will be many times that they need his height to match opponents. I am interested to see if he starts just to grab the jump ball right off the bat? If he had stayed at his last school he would be a senior. After a year in the KU system and having been at the D1 level for going on 4 years he should dominate in the paint. Training with our trainers and lifting properly adding 5-6 inches to his bounce! Mickelson should be ready for a break out season… Another thing to throw out there is he is the only 4 star ESPN top 100 BIG left on the bench after Cliff and Ellis.



  • @HighEliteMajor Like you, I will be cautiously optimistic regarding what he can do. That said, I think he will be more productive than what most predict. It would be a great benefit to have a decent rim protector and solid rebounder. His overall game should be improved immensely from his Arkansas days since he has improved his vertical by six inches. He may not be Jeff or Cole, but I predict he will have a very good year.



  • @HighEliteMajor

    If you look the numbers, the only one that was really down was the blocks, all the others show only minor changes. I believe part of the reason is the emphasis Anderson placed on Mickelson gaining weight to better match with the opposing centers in college. He went from his stated 185 pound in HS recruiting sites to 220 pounds in his freshman year and to 245 pounds in his sophomore year. As we all know, Anderson likes to have all five players press the ball all the time, and while he could do it at 220 pounds, the higher 245 pound weight was too much and not matched by the needed increase in muscle and power and was mostly dead weight; this is one of the main reason why his blocks went down quite a bit.

    At KU and under Hudy’s tutelage he has transformed those fat pounds into muscle pounds and as result he has increased his vertical jump by 6 inches; all of this bodes well for him and for KU. If he has indeed shown good improvement over what he did in his freshman year, then we might be in for a very pleasant surprise and I would not be surprised to see him start at center.



  • @JayHawkFanToo Ok … you and @Statmachine and @DinarHawk had me sold until your last sentence. Start instead of who? Ellis or Alexander?

    And I’m a little skeptical of him leap frogging Traylor. If Mickelson is that good, we could have a true 4 man post rotation.



  • @jaybate-1.0 WOW!! This would be two full posts on the old site. Go jb, go, Rock On !!



  • @jaybate-1.0 said:

    It all hurt to learn each step of the way, because I kept having to surrender thinking I understood things, decide I did not, and then learn some more.

    That, my friend, is part of life that we all need to " get ".



  • I don’t have a clue as to what players will start or get meaningful minutes. I am looking forward to it. Should be another exciting season. I feel like we are loaded and experienced in every position. The young guns should do fine.



  • @HighEliteMajor

    Most likely Alexander. Keep in Mind that Embiid did not start until several games into the season after Tarik had s few poor games… If Mickelson starts and play anywhere close to Withey, then we will be in really good shape at the bigs.

    Biggest unknowns coming into the season: who will start at PG, and how much have Mickelson and Lucas improved over the Summer; the first one being the $64k question.



  • @JayHawkFanToo BUT in Embiids case experts we calling him raw, and a project with a high ceiling. He didn’t have the hype Alexander carries into this season.



  • @Statmachine

    Before the start of the season, he had already played in the Nike Hoops Summit USA vs the world game and the Jordan Brand Classic where he had 5 blocks, including one that had Randle reeling. His stock was way up and had been upgraded to 5-stars and anointed a lottery pick. Don’t forget that Coach Self values experience, in 2012 he started veteran Kevin Young over McDonald All-American Perry Ellis,



  • Ahhhhhhhh!!! I just want the season to start already!!! Gosh darn darn!



  • @JayHawkFanToo you are correct. All I have to say is that this season is going to be fun if our Bigs on the bench produce! I am not half as concerned with back court. They will have someone who can run the point I mean supposedly Svi and Selden can play a little point guard and we have 3 actual point guards.



  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “…he has increased his vertical jump by 6 inches…”

    If that is true then he will be a completely different player, most-likely, much improved.

    Back in my day, I had a big developmental year where I picked up probably 3 inches in vertical and it transformed my game completely. A 6 inch increase is insane!

    The vertical increase is just one form of measurement used to indicate “athleticism.”

    So imagine if Hunter increased his vertical by 6 inches… what did his new body do for his lateral movement? Straight-line speed? Perhaps he is quicker off his feet? Perhaps his timing has improved because his movements are quicker?

    I’m thinking he is a completely different player than he was at Arkansas.

    He’ll be one more fine example of how Kansas can develop players.

    Is it any wonder that even NBA KU alums come back to Lawrence in the summer… not only because it is an awesome place to hang, but also a great place to train!


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