• We’ve all been reading about Coach Self considering a game of “small ball” this year. I’ve applauded the concept for offering something new to run at teams and to focus on true x-axis basketball.

    But if we are going to consider playing small ball, might we also consider other themed lineup strategies, too?

    What if we run SMASH BALL?

    My concept is to run our roughest, toughest, scrappiest group of players at the start of each half so we set the tempo of playing aggressive ball throughout the game. Our other key players will come off the bench and still get plenty of minutes, but they will do so in a game where we have already set the atmosphere of aggression.

    Here is my starting 5 for SMASH BALL:

    Frank Mason

    Wayne Selden

    Kelly Oubre

    Bam-Bam Traylor

    Cliff Alexander

    This is a group of tough, muscle-bound players that know how to hustle and can hold their own.

    Imagine a player like Perry coming off the bench, capturing minutes perhaps at the 3 and the 4, but now with extra drive as he steps onto a tougher court?

    I can exchange all our talented guys on the bench and ask the same question.

    The start of each half will be a big factor with this young team. It will impact their confidence and playing style for all 20 minutes.

    Let’s treat every game like a street fight. Bring the heavy blows right from the start, then never look back while we stay on the gas!

    Self mentioned wanting a tougher team this year. This is a strategy to push toughness from the tip-off until the final buzzer!

  • @drgnslayr

    You are suggesting Self get into tempo setting.

    But how does a guy who tries not to set tempo in order to beat you any way you want to play by coming up with the counter to your tempo setting square doing this within his apparent personal philosophy and apparent operational creed of embracing “BOTH-ness”?


    He just embraces setting tempo some times and not others.

    In fact, he needs to do this for the same reason that he needs to intersperse some pressing with his half court game.

    In order to be neutral one must sometimes be positive and negative also.

    In order to play half court well one must play full court well.

    In order to squirt, one must also ooze.

    In order to play hi-lo well, one must also play some single post, or better yet no post, well.

    In order to slow down, you must speed up first.

    In order to speed up, you must first slow down.

    In order to attack, you must first retreat.

    In order to retreat, you must first attack.

    In order to flank, well, you must first attack the center.

    In order to attack the center, you must first attack the flank.

    In order to cut off the head, you must first fatigue the body.

    In order to man-up well, one must also woman-up well.

    In order to woman-up well, you must man-up well.

    In order to X-Axis well, one must also Y-axis some.

    “The deeper you go, the higher you fly. The higher you fly, the deeper you go.” –Lennon-McCartney

  • @jaybate-1.0

    “In order to squirt, one must also ooze.”

    I like that one!

    Why not have more than one strategy in a game? Why do we have to view 40 minutes of basketball through one single lens?

    My idea of SMASH BALL is a strategy to get us started in the right direction in both halves… but after that first 5 minutes, we might go right into small ball, hi/lo, match-up “Mayor ball”, or whatever else gets the job done.

    We experienced starting problems a lot this past year. It really showed how inexperienced we were and how we lacked leadership. We should be a bit better in both of those areas this year, but why not take the most-aggressive attitude towards the game? Start the group that is going to fight the hardest which should help prevent us from having slow starts.

    Last year, you could see many of our losses coming from just the first few minutes of ball.

    This year… let’s go out and start every game by punching our competition in the face. While they are adjusting to that, we can start injecting fresh talented legs off the bench to continue the beating.

    I think our motto for this year should be:


    Relentless pounding for 40 minutes. Turn the tide from recent years of playing soft ball.

    I see huge potential in starting Cliff with Bam-Bam… the new “Bruise Brothers.”

    We really haven’t set the tone in most games since '08. We’ve let our opposition set the tone and we always try to adjust to it to win.

    There is no other team out there than can put such a bruising team on the court. Not Kentucky… no one…

  • @drgnslayr I agree, there is probably not a team in the country that can be as physical as KU.

    The most fundamental aspect of winning is simply playing more aggressively than the other team.

    This is basically part of. how UConn won the title last year - they were tenacious and very intense.

  • @DinarHawk but then there is… The dreaded refs!

  • One of our hallmarks has been shooting percentage defense. Until last year anyways I think. Instead of the smash ball idea, let’s go back to the principles of defense that Self’s teams are known for. That’s how we win games, make it hard for the other team to score.

  • @drgnslayr If we’re going to “POUND, POUND, POUND” (I’m talking about offense now) they’d better spend a helluva lot of time practicing free throws this year.

  • @nuleafjhawk

    I can see KU playing physical but “smash ball” to me brings images of Big 10 basketball where the games sometimes resemble football games and take away from the beauty of the sport. Maybe I am old fashioned in this regard.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I hear you… but that really isn’t the way we need to play. We will be limited by refs from our conference and then March refs later.

    I don’t mean we should become hack monsters. But we will have so much muscle on the court, mixed with speed and athleticism. Certain areas should show some finesse while in other areas we should be scrappy as all hell. We can identify how refs call games, and they let plenty of areas of the game go because they (basically) focus in on silly tick-tack armbar checks, etc.

    I’m talking about play 100% legal ball, but using strength and hustle as our main attributes. Done right we should be drawing a lot more fouls than dishing out.

  • I think the aggression you are talking about with the 5 you listed is catching fire with the rest of the team. For example go re-watch the highlights of late night and witness Conner Frankamp actually driving to the basket! BIG Improvement and I think it comes with confidence and getting comfortable playing at the D1 level .

  • Whatever they expect you to do, do something else.

    And once they expect you not to do something, do that.

    –Lao Tse jaybate 1.0, from “The Tao of Iron Rings and Wood”

  • @drgnslayr Jamari piled up the fouls last year, and I anticipate Cliff will have a learning curve on that as well. Hopefully, better perimeter defense will cut down on those drives to the basket that put all our big men at risk of foul trouble last year. Frank HAS to make his free throws, as it was all downhill after the Dook game ( 14 out of 16 the first two games of the year, 58% the rest of the way). I like the “bruiser” option as a stark contrast to last year, and wouldn’t be the least surprised to see that lineup, at certain times, in every game. Maybe it’s just me, but I think we’ll be adding Devonte to this list at some point this season.

    @jaybate-1.0 Spewed the coffee on Lao Tse remark…lolol…

  • This post is deleted!


    All good points, including adding Devonte to the mix.

    Bam-Bam and Cliff will get minutes, and both pose foul potential… might as well get them out there in the beginning and try to build some momentum, even if they foul, though they will both need to learn to play hard without hacking.

  • @drgnslayr I think there’s a different mindset with this team. After Joel went down last year, our team was never the same. Tough is good. Tough wins games. I didn’t see tough down the stretch last year - we couldn’t dribble, we couldn’t pass, we couldn’t defend. We looked taut as a trot line full of turtles.

    What I take away from the team photo ( on another thread) is that Perry and Wayne flank Coach. I don’t think that’s by accident. I have hope for Perry, even though he’s been softer than a marshmallow. I think Perry is still growing as a player - i think he will show improvement on both ends of the floor this year, and will probably lead us in scoring. Hopefully, the defense gets better.

Log in to reply