Self Admits To Negatively Affecting Shooters, And More

  • The Bill Self press conference offered multiple insights into the season. For years, literally, we have debated and discussed Self impact on shooters. My shared premise with many others was that Self, by way of the quick hook, negatively impacts otherwise excellent shooters by not permitting them to shoot with a free mind, without fear of being pulled.

    Now, the debate is over.

    In the press conference, when discussing Conner Frankamp, Self said the following (paraphrased):

    Conner, like many guys, was a high volume shooter in high school. Now, he might get three looks a game. When you have limited looks, there is a lot of pressure to make a shot. You stay in the game if you make your shot, you’re out of the game if you miss. No one said it to him, but that’s how it played out. That was the “silent message” CF got. We’d like to get him more opportunities to get more minutes, so therefore he will become a better shooter because he’ll be more comfortable and have less pressure.

    I am smiling. I’m happy. I feel complete.

    Of course, the reporter asking the question had no thought to follow up with the most obvious question: “Coach, if you see that an otherwise excellent shooter becomes a much poorer shooter because of the likelihood that he will be pulled if he misses a shot, why wouldn’t you consider giving a shooter a bit more leeway? Wouldn’t that by consequence give you a more productive player?”

    But my expectations are way too high. I would like to hear the answer. Self handles his players, his way, for a reason. That way is different than other coaches. On this issue, I would love to hear the explanation. Regardless, we know that Self agrees with the proposition, and he knows that his quick hook negatively impacts shooters – he knows that his actions makes them worse shooters.

    Other interesting information:

    1. Pressing/Pressure: Another topic we have discussed quite a bit is pressing and pressure. Self confirmed some of our discussions. He said firmly he doesn’t like to press - he said he’s not a big press guy. He stated that he does not press because with better talent, you don’t need it to win. He said that you can win games against lesser teams with superior talent, and you may not want to press better teams. Self said that he wants a consistent style of play that gives you the best chance to win in the post season. In the post season, you may not want to press good teams because they have good guards. You don’t want to be a pressing team against some teams, and then not a pressing team against others. He said that we need an identity that will work for us.

    2. Brannen Greene: I didn’t think Self sounded optimistic. Self said that Greene is in a dogfight with Selden, Svi, and Oubre for playing time. Greene had to “buy into guarding” and play defense.

    3. Graham: Self said that Devonte was a good leader, and would be “hard to keep out of the lineup.” Self believes Graham “will fight for starting minutes” and that his intangibles will allow him to play more early.

    4. Mason: I clearly got the impression that Mason is the leader in the point guard battle. Self referenced Frank being tough, referenced Mason before the other two and when discussing playing two small guards, Self said KU could do that because Frank can guard bigger guys. He also said that we could play Frank and Devonte, or Frank and Conner. Self mentioned that last year he took away some of Frank’s aggressiveness by making him think too much.

    5. Frankamp: On the other hand, I did not hear Self being as optimistic on Frankamp. He referenced more than once that CF needed to get stronger. He also said that as good of a shooter he is, he’s not good enough.

    6. Mickelson: This was odd. He said very clearly that Mickelson was a “prototypical 4”, and that he’s a face up guy. He seemed to make it clear that playing Mickelson and Ellis together wouldn’t work because Ellis needed a guy who could be the primary rebounder and guard in the post – again, inferring Mickelson couldn’t do that. He said he’d have to do some more things to compete for playing time. But he also complimented his shot blocking.

    7. Lucas: Self seemed pretty positive, saying Lucas and Alexander were competing for minutes. In what could be the Andrew White kiss of death, he said that Lucas had the best off season. He said Lucas was “going to play” and that he fighting for major minutes. On the other hand, when asked about redshirts, he said that Lucas couldn’t redshirt … first name out of his mouth; he then said Mickelson and Traylor couldn’t either, by name.

    8. Pressure: When discussing pressure, he identified five guys – Mason, Graham, Oubre, Svi, and Traylor. Just kind of made it seem like those are the guys he might throw on the floor if that were the focus.

    9. Toughness: Self again implied Tharpe was an issue, stating we had some issues with toughness last season. Won’t let that happen this season.

    Roster Power Ratings:

    (1) Ellis - Self said he couldn’t see anyone beating him out.

    (2) Selden - Seems like Self’s favorite.

    (3) Mason - Lots of positive comments - defense, tough, aggressive. All good.

    (4) Graham - Seems to really like the guy and wants him to be in the mix.

    (5) Oubre - Discussion of high talent. Said he won’t be hear very long. Prior comments complimented defense, in contrast to Greene.

    (6) Traylor - Seems to be a guy who has a clearly defined, first big off the bench role.

    (7) Alexander - Has talked about his toughness, comparing to TRob, but also referenced that fouling could be an issue.

    (8) CF - Self had seemed positive, but the strength comments and being so positive on Mason and Graham lead me to think CF is third in the battle.

    (9) Greene - The defense comments were concerning. Questioning whether he is buying in on the defensive in right now is clearly a challenge to him.

    (10) Lucas - Self seemed more positive on him, than on Mickelson. But the stated battle with Lucas could result in a lost battle, and no minutes.

    (11) Mickelson - Some have thought he might be a “5”; Self said he’s a face up 4, but also implied he wasn’t much of a rebounder.

    (12) Svi - This is the enigma, the “who knows”, the wild card.

  • @HighEliteMajor I disagree w/your quick hook, before you pat yourself on back anymore. I’m not looking it up, but I thought Coach asked if he wanted to be a player or a shooter. Meaning, IMO he’s got to improve in other areas, like strength and “D”. If he can’t go in and hit, he’s of little value since he doesn’t do the other things. I remember him having early looks and turning shots down, he was pulled for that too.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 The quick hook thing is something that has been discussed for years, and though I discussed it a lot on the other site, I’m doubtful that it was my original thought. It seems to be the majority opinion around here. Anyway, you do need to listen to it (don’t know why you wouldn’t – it is a great chunk of info). You are referring to a different part of the interview.

  • @HighEliteMajor self compared Cliff to a freshman TRob. A bit of a difference.

  • @HighEliteMajor I wasn’t going back to listen, already did and read it too.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Yes, he did compare him to TRob as a freshman … good clarification.

  • @HighEliteMajor great potential, might need to polish up a few years!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Go to the press conference thread here, at 16:00 minutes is the start of the CF question, and the info you reference. Then, at 17:10, Self refers to the topic I mentioned, and that segment ends at 17:45. Just real interesting.

  • @HighEliteMajor I listened to that part again. Still think he will be a better shooter if he gets more minutes, but if he can’t do the other things, and misses or turn down shots, he’ll get the hook, not getting more minutes. Jmo.

  • @HighEliteMajor Agreed. I think the reason goes back to the idea of a “combo” guard. It could be that he wants a player to be good at multiple things. So if a guy is an elite shooter, he doesn’t want that player to rest on his laurels. Tear him down, or at least marginalize the elite skill, to build back a player with more elite skills instead of one elite and other just serviceable skills.

    CF’s case is interesting in that, as JB reminded me last week, CF had an injury within the first few games. Plus, I was reminded of this too, he got sick last summer here at KU and actually lost 15lbs that he had to gain it back just before late night last year! So with sickness and injury hindering his development anyway, maybe that’s when Self decided to limit his minutes with unreal expectations and commenced to chip building. Building a chip on his shoulder to help him in the coming years. It paid off in one game last year and almost two, after giving the team the lead at half time against Stanford and then not seeing the floor in the second half until desperation time.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    My goodness… you are clearly on your game HEM! We haven’t even hit Late Night and you’ve sketched quite an assessment!

    I agree that he admitted Conner had too much pressure to hit the shot last year. I do believe his hook works too fast and he should give guys time to settle into the flow… especially if their big asset is shooting the trey. I’ve been a believer that he pulls the young guys too quick from all spots on the floor.

    But… I see what he is doing. He is trying to instill in the young guys just how valuable those minutes are on the floor, so they better be giving it their all.

    And for Conner… Self really called him out on what it will take for him to really contribute at Kansas. Conner has two choices. First, to just be a shooter. He’ll get some limited minutes when we need to see if he’s hot and can pull defenses out more. Second, to be an all-around player and earn more minutes. And by doing so he will have a better opportunity to get into the flow of a game, get relaxed, and become a more-effective shooter. Self framed it right for Conner. That’s what it is going to take for him to contribute. It isn’t all about becoming stronger. It’s more about being able to contribute in other ways besides hit the long ball. Obviously, getting stronger is a key to being a contributor in other ways. Self is very cleaver how he did this.

    No one on this team is a bigger competitor than Conner. No one. That guy lives to compete. He did not commit to Kansas to ride the bench. Conner will figure it out… he’ll find his way to contribute and he will. He proved that in March last year. He was nothing but a skinny, weak kid but he kept us together after Naadir fell apart. That confirmed to me, right then, that Conner would find a way to contribute to this team and will ride out of here a decorated senior someday.

    Self laid out the road map for Conner. The rest is up to him. I’m not worried about it. He’ll get there. He’ll build more strength, but most likely, it won’t be the key factor that will earn him PT. What will earn him PT is his brain. He’ll figure out how to help this team… make other players better… hit shots… and figure out what to do at the right time. He did it last year in prime time and he barely played all year. The kid is a competitor supreme. I love him already.

    Self needs Conner to be more than a shooter. It would have hurt Conner’s development had he hit more shots last year and we gave him more minutes only because he was hot. This has all worked out just right. Self knows it, too. It made Conner realize that just being a volume shooter wasn’t going to work at KU. He was going to have to contribute in other ways. His cold shooting was a blessing to expose that in his game.

    Think back to '08 and our dynamic perimeter trio of Mario, RRob and Sherron. Conner will (one day) be one of those perimeter guys with others and we’ll become a real tough out in March!

    In some ways he has some of the spirit of a young Sherron. He may not have his athleticism, but he has his heart and desire. And without that we didn’t win in '08. It wasn’t Sherron’s size, strength or athleticism that created his magical steal and seconds later his 3 that was a big part of our comeback that created the opportunity for Mario to hit his magic shot. It was Sherron’s heart and desire. Conner has that some magic going for him. He’s going to perform magic at some point in his career at Kansas. May even be this year… who knows.

    I worry about Conner the least on this team. You could chop off his legs and he’ll still find a way to contribute!

  • @drgnslayr dang slayer, you have to be cf’s dad! Jk

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I might as well be his dad. I’ve watched him play for years now. I know what that kid is made of… and it’s all the right stuff!

  • Conner Frankamp is an outstanding D-1 basketball player. Coach Self did not give him a chance to play last year and he knows it. The problem last season was what to do with Naadir Tharpe? It was supposed to be his team last year. It didn’t happen. The year before, he was supposed to have been Elijah Johnson’s sidekick, it didn’t happen. The reason it didn’t happen is practice. Yes we are talking about practice. Not a game…practice (thanks for the assist, AI). Because on the practice court is where I am certain Mason and Frankamp destroyed Tharpe day in and day out. For Naadir to make mistakes and glance over to see two young men that were better than him, and he knew it, had to kill his confidence. We all know that lack of confidence leads to hesitation and he who hesitates is lost. The only proof we need is the Stanford game. Who brought us back? The kid that had been made to believe he couldn’t beat out Tharpe. Sounds like a made for TV Movie to me. Conner Frankamp and Frank Mason can play exceptional ball. The only person that can stop them is their coach.

  • I interpreted most of Self’s comments the same way that you did. Mason is the odds on favorite to be starting PG, Greene needs to work on defense or Oubre will start / get more playing time. I would like to add that I have heard Self make statements in the past about players being in the mix for major minutes only to have the playing time not pan out as you would think based on his comments. Graham might be an example of this. Self wants him to be in the mix for major minutes, but when the games start and he makes a few mistakes…Self doesn’t trust him enough to give him much playing time.

  • @drgnslayr - you said, “And for Conner… Self really called him out on what it will take for him to really contribute at Kansas. Conner has two choices. First, to just be a shooter. He’ll get some limited minutes when we need to see if he’s hot and can pull defenses out more. Second, to be an all-around player and earn more minutes.”

    Both you and @Crimsonorblue22 have correctly identified this challenge. This press conference, quite possibly, was shrewdly calculated by Self to be heard by his players. His words are challenging to CF, for sure (and Brannen Greene, for that matter). I too think that Conner can be a big factor. I kind of think that CF will simply demand playing time. Not vocally, but simply by events on the court and by his strengths.

    When discussing the consistency of the style of point guard play with @jaybate-1.0 a while back, there was the discussion that Graham and Mason are likely more similar in style of play (from all we’ve heard about Graham). His thought was that, as result, they are the most likely pairing. CF is conservative, takes care of the ball – to me, this singular quality seems like it will demand at least situational playing time.

    However, the playmaking thing is a large part of the discussion in the off season. CF ain’t a playmaker. He safely delivers the ball. Personally, I think that is a great compliment to a player like Mason. But as @jaybate-1.0 pointed out earlier, can our team handle such a start change in approach mid-game? I’m starting to agree more with @jaybate-1.0’s line of thought there.

    Random speculation – I kind of wonder if Self’s comments on strength could be simply a preseason explanation for what Self might be anticipating – that our two small guards are most likely Mason and Graham. Is the strength thing really that important? Is it a red herring? How strong was/is Stephan Curry? Or JJ Reddick? Lots of skinny, relatively weak guys have played this game exceptionally well, especially the ones that could shoot.

    @Hawk8086 - You’re right on being skeptical about the Graham comments. And really, that goes for everything Self has said. It’s just talk. Self has an idea of what he wants, but as he said, the real practices haven’t started yet.

    @KansasComet “We all know that lack of confidence leads to hesitation and he who hesitates is lost.” — Great quote. I kind of questioned whether Self believed this before his comments. But I think now we know that he does believe it. He just doesn’t care – or more precisely, I think he does care, but just not that much. He values other things much more than catering to the concern that a shooter might hesitate and because of pressure, and be a worse shooter. I’m intrigued really by that concept.

  • Ben Brust is Wisconsin’s all time 3 baller. He has always been allowed to shoot. And some games he’d miss 6 in a row, But then he’d hit one, then next time down, another. Now he added other things to the game, like 6 rebounds a game, not bad for a 6’1" guard, but he still was given the space to regain his stroke the few times it was really lost. Connor could be that kind of shooter too, I suspect Brannen has the same potential. Good to hear coach acknowledging this.

  • @drgnslayr

    Is not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog that makes the difference…or words to that effect?

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I agree. Mason and Graham are play makers and thus more natural PGs, where Frankamp is a good passer and great shooter and thus a more natural SG. However, the issue is that more and more SGs in college are now much taller and Conner would have a hard time guarding an agile SG that has 4 inches or more on him or shooting over that player, unless he can learn to create his own shot or KU uses screens to get him open. The SG and SF positions on this team seem to be (at this time) interchangeable, with Selden, Oubre, Green, Svi and even Ellis playing them, all taller and more athletic and decent shooteers, which would naturally leave Conner the odd man out. Thoughts?

  • I am Bill Self.

    I know what to do and I don’t do it.

    I know what NOT to do and I do it.

    Everything is crystal clear from late March to mid-October.

    (@jaybate-1.0 - what’s the tag line? No malice, all BS - pun intended)

Log in to reply