What a Shame the Season Can't Start a Nanosecond from Now!

  • Among the Ukrainian chaos, the South Stream pipe U.C. under the Black Sea, the Russia to China pipe, the China Pivot, resuming massive, long term bombing of Syria, the Ebola case in Tayhoss, and attacking the ISIS guys we reputedly created in the first place, I desperately need Bam Bam to explode out of position ASAP and XTReme Slam one on Cal’s fleet of footers to reassert the right way.

    We need the right way now more than ever.

    I didn’t understand why I suddenly needed to write torrents about KU basketball again. No clue.

    UK is sailing at us like the Imperial Japanese fleet at midway.

    Chester Self has to pull out all the stops. He has to tell his Marines they have to keep doing the impossible against impossible odds in impossible places. Chester Self has to deploy his naval forces–his greatly outnumbered fleet–in ways that draws UK’s fleet of footers in close in search of a kill that then enables a concentrated strike administered by lesser numbers from an unexpected bearing.

    He has to faint about pressing. He has to talk about the lack of standing height and position his aircraft carriers unexpectedly. He has to send out deceptive communications that focus the enemy on Devonte.

    Chester Self has no choice now but to prepare against the odds to send his fleet into harm’s way for a victory.

    No wonder Self called in the Jar Heads for some discussions about the Marine way.

    I have been living in denial about Kentucky, displacing about health and personal issues, loved ones, pets, “Empires of the Sea: the Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World,” and Roger Crowley.

    I have been lolly gagging around writing, painting, bicycling, hunting for a good boat with hand laid fiberglass, or a plate boat.

    I have been thinking about cooking the perfect rack of lamb, and marveling at the ancient Aztec dish called Molcajete.

    I have been repeatedly watching Budd Boetticher westerns with Randolph Scott.

    I have even been stewing myself in the anti-heroic futilities of “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia” and “Chinatown.”

    I even briefly thought about KU football. Gads!!!

    None of it matters.

    All that matters now is…

    Kansas versus Kentucky.

    adidas versus Nike.

    Right way versus wrong way.

    Good versus evil.

    “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord…”

  • Let’s put ourselves in Kentucky’s shoes for a nanosecond.

    Pre-season #1. Probably the tallest team in NCAA history. A collection of top-tier All Americans, many who are back for a second season with laser focus on a national title.

    What happens if they don’t win? The rabid Kentucky fans have already made room for another trophy in their cabinet.

    What happens if this young Kansas team watches a tape of last year’s NC game and figures it out that “small ball” is the answer in March?

    What happens if the focus of this young Kansas team is to take care of the ball, hustle and force TOs on their opponents, while maintaining an underdog attitude to make sure they put out 120% effort all year long?

    What happens if Kansas and Kentucky fight it out in the finals? Thomas Robinson, in house for the finals and in the locker room inspiring these guys to not come up short.

    What happens if Kansas has to make room for a new trophy?

    Let’s put the season on hold for another nanosecond while we enjoy that dream and we figure out how to execute the right x-axis strategy of “small ball” that no one can beat.

    Here is the first discussion:

    The game of basketball is won or loss on the perimeter.

  • @drgnslayr You are absolutely right. Small ball gets teams to final fours and to rings. And as of his recent comments, Bill Self knows it also. He didn’t make his comments about ball handling and of past success with smaller guards. He has to know that that is how UConn has won its past two championships.

    Wouldn’t that be great if KU and Kentucky met again in the finals! The difference between this time and in 2012 is that, while this Kentucky time is very talented and tall, it doesn’t have the once in a decade talent that UK had with Davis and Kidd Gilchrist.

    I can’t help but think that Self has really spent some time this summer to contemplate what he needs to have more success in March. He also has had plenty of time to think about what the strategy is for beating Kentucky, because lets face it: that game is the most important game this season besides the tournament. It will show if the team has improved upon its weaknesses from this past year.

  • In regards to the early season Kentucky game, I think Self will put this teams best foot forward. But, I think he will have a few tricks up his sleeve that he will save incase we meet them in the dance later.

    That game should give us a good look at our style of play, but IMO, I think Self will make sure we show some flaws that he can use for motivation for this team to improve, win or lose. I think we play it straight up (no tricks) and if someone gets hot then we will keep feeding him.

    I know HCBS always has some tricks up his sleeve. I just don’t know how long that sleeve is! 😉 He will not show everything, and this will probably be the teams first experience at getting “geeked up” and “amped up” for an opponent. It should be a good learning experience for the team. Also, a good early test for the coaching staff at preparing the team. (scouting reports, special assignments, few in game adjustments, etc.)

    One way or another, it will expose us to what we need to work on. I think that’s a good thing.

    Any news coming out of practices yet? Anybody? Please…? 😉

  • KU in 2012, Wiscy last April, I’m tired of losing to Kentucky when it matters most.

  • @wissoxfan83

    I second that!

  • Thought this was interesting!

    Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk adjusts to life in Kansas with the help of his teammates By: Blair Sheade | @realblairsheady | Updated just now

    Ukrainian 17-year-old Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was so excited to play basketball at Kansas that he forgot to pack a basic necessity: pants.

    When the 6-foot-8 guard, who likes to be called Svi, arrived in Lawrence, he needed to go shopping. Svi’s roommate, junior Evan Manning, said sophomore Wayne Selden and himself took Svi shopping at Urban Outfitters.

    “We had to get him some pants,” Manning said. “He didn’t have many dress clothes or anything like that. So he had to get all hooked up with that. He doesn’t have much clothes to go out and eat with or hang out in at night, so we had to get him caught up.”

    Svi said he showed up in Lawrence with only athletic gear to play basketball with because that’s all he cares about. Everyone on the team said Svi is really dedicated to playing basketball, and a lot them have funny stories of his love for the sport. For instance, junior Perry Ellis said Svi injured his leg on his recruiting trip on May 16, but still went to the gym everyday to shoot around.

    Over the course of two years, the University men’s basketball team has recruited international athletes such as Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, but both Wiggins and Embiid played high school basketball in the United States. This season, coach Bill Self recruited Svi, who hadn’t been to the United States before his recruiting visit in May.

    Grasping the Language

    Manning has helped Svi acclimate to his new lifestyle as any good roommate would. Besides helping Svi get a new wardrobe, Manning said Svi asks a lot of questions about living in Lawrence and speaking the English language. Svi knows Ukrainian, Russian and French, as well, but he said French was the hardest language to learn.

    “For me it was French because for me it’s more hard,” Svi said. “English was also hard, but I’m studying it for 11 years.”

    Even though Svi studied English for the past 11 years in Ukraine, he said he needs to improve by taking three basic English classes at the University. Manning tries to help him with his English homework, and Svi tries to teach him Russian.

    “He came up to me with some homework, and it’s actually really tough for me for a person that speaks English,” Manning said. “He’s taught me a little bite of Russian, but I’ve forgot it all.”

    Svi’s Eastern European accent has caught the attention of the team. Junior Jamari Traylor and Selden said Svi’s accent makes them laugh.

    Self said Svi doesn’t speak or understand English as well as Embiid did, but the difference between Embiid and Svi is Embiid acted like he didn’t understand English, and Svi acts like he does understand.

    “Joel [Embiid] understood [English] perfectly, but he always acted like he didn’t,” Self said. “He was a master of that.

    “Svi isn’t as bright as Joel in that regard, as far as being a con. Joel was great at it. You know, when things are going good, Joel understood every word. When things were going bad, ‘Oh, Coach, I don’t understand at all.’ But Svi isn’t like that. I think Svi gets it and he understands.”

    Away from the Court

    Svi might not know English very well, but he likes the American culture. Manning said Svi fits in perfectly with the team because he loves playing video games.

    “Since he’s been here, he’s already beat Grand Theft Auto,” Manning said. “[Svi’s] pretty good at video games.”

    He also enjoys another form of popular American entertainment. Svi said he likes old-school rappers like Tupac and Notorious B.I.G, but he likes the current rap stars, as well.

    “I like Kendrick Lamar, Drake and The Game,” Svi said.

    Bonding over Basketball

    Freshman Kelly Oubre said Svi and him connected instantly because they are both dedicated and love basketball.

    “We go at it everyday in pick-up and practice, and I can tell he’s a young guy, but I can definitely tell we’re going to gel as teammates and brothers,” Oubre said.

    Oubre and Svi are known as the two best shooters on the team. Everyday in practice, Oubre and Svi compete against each other in shooting drills to see who’s the better shooter.

    “We aren’t tied,” Oubre said. “I think I’m up one. So I’m going to give myself the benefit of the doubt of course.”

    Oubre said Svi is very talented shooter, and will be a major part of this Kansas team. Svi says his best skill is his shooting.

    Welcome to Boot Camp

    Svi didn’t know anything about Lawrence other than basketball, and that’s why he showed up without pants, but Selden said Svi has adjusted well to the Kansas basketball lifestyle. The first task Svi had to overcome was boot camp.

    “Walking straight into boot camp had to tough for him, but he’s adjusted perfect,” Selden said.

    This season’s men’s basketball boot camp was two weeks long and included a Marine officer, who put the team through military drills to whip the team into shape.

    Svi said he’s never been through anything like boot camp before, and it was really hard.

    Despite overcoming jet lag, Svi said other changes came easily because of his maturity. At the age of 17, Svi becomes the youngest player to ever play in the Big 12 conference. Despite still being a teenager, Manning said Svi is really mature.

    “If I were to meet him and not know anything about him, I would think he’s a lot older than he is,” Manning said. “Physically, he’s a pretty strong dude, but the way he acts around people, he’s a really classy guy.”

    Translating his Game

    Svi has to adjust to the American style of basketball, he said.

    “For me it’s like the first days are very hard because [his teammates] are more physical than me and stronger than me, but I keep working hard, and I think we are a good team and we will be good,” Svi said.

    The difference between the European and American style of basketball could benefit Svi, as well. Manning said Svi’s ability to play in the 2014 FIBA World Cup for the Ukrainian national team gives Svi a leg up because he played again grown men including the U.S. men’s national team. Svi scored three points in 11 minutes against the U.S.

    “Over here, you don’t see many guys with his height and that young don’t have that great of ball handling,” Manning said. “He can handle the ball really well and has great passing ability.”

    Self said Svi will be a big part of this Kansas team no matter how well he can communicate, and Oubre said Svi’s English won’t matter come game time.

    “He doesn’t have to speak the best English because his game speaks for itself,” Oubre said.

    — Edited by Brian Hillix

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Thank you for posting this. The random meeting and deep connection of Oubre and Svi from different worlds and is one of the greatest things about sport. Young men are receptive to new friendships at that time and when they form they are life changing and last a life time often.

  • “Oubre and Svi are known as the two best shooters on the team. Everyday in practice, Oubre and Svi compete against each other in shooting drills to see who’s the better shooter.”

    Somewhere, Conner Frankamp is saying, “What about me, it isn’t fair, I’ve had enough and I want my share …” or something like that.

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