What Are the Chances of Hunter Mickelson, or Landen Lucas, rotating backup, when the opponent has a 6-9 or taller post man?

  • Well…

    Based on Self’s 1999-2000 Tulsa team which frequently resorted to a 6-10 backup as its 6th man, and based on Self’s 2008 ring team, which resorted to 6-10 Sasha Kaun, who didn’t even have working knees that season, my current wind chill adjusted predictiont is that 100 percent of the time Self will rotate either, or both of Mickelson and Lucas in when opponents have 6-9, or larger 5s.

    Don’t misunderstand me. I would like to see Self play small ball for a season, just to see if he could pull something similar off to what he did in Tulsa, in the big time, and to have lived long enough to see another coach follow in Wooden’s 1963-1964 footsteps.

    But I just don’t think Self can resist the temptation of those two long men when Self is jaw-working, and shouting for a stop.

    I know @dragonslyr thought they didn’t play much hi-lo last year, but my recollection was that they played it almost all the time, except for the occasional show case games for Wigs, and even then they lined up in hi-lo formations and just let Wigs slash from a wing.

    For Self to get serious about small ball—and in turn for us to get serious about Self getting serious about playing small ball—Self has to jump shift his offensive set at least some of the time.

    You cannot really get serious about small ball by playing a small high and a small low. Sooner or later, you have to stop lining up in the hi-lo formation and you have to start lining up in a high post, or in Fred’s 1-4 no post, which my high school coach used to call a 1-4 double high post, because our center and power forward posted at both ends of the free throw line, and our 2 and 3 lined up on each of their shoulders, and ran scrape off screens on the double high posts to shake loose for a pass and imitation of play.

    But Bill Self running Fred’s no post, or the old double high post? This seems about as likely as Saturday Night Live changing to Sunday night.

    The closest I can see Self coming to this is everyone lining up in the conventional hi-lo formation and running a low post up occasionally to the free throw line and keeping the high post out high with him.

    But think how far the rebounders are from the caroms when that is done?


    I know Bill is talking a good game about marginalizing Landen and Hunter, but…

    I still cannot see Bill Self watching the small ballers getting out rebounded +5 and needing a stop against an opponent’s L&S 5 and Bill saying, “No, Kurtis, no Norman, no Jerrance, we are staying small and hoping for the best."

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I have to admit I don’t really know what we ran most of the time last year. It definitely didn’t seem like the hi/lo.

    I think back to other years and constantly remember the ball going in and out of the post on every possession. I just don’t remember it that way last year.

    I just recall chaos, disorganized offense. Guys standing around watching and hoping Wigs would do something.

    Except for a few highlight dunks, last year’s offense seemed the least entertaining in many years, maybe the worst during the Self era.

    I know it was just over half a year ago, and my memory stinks… but am I wrong with how I remember it?

    Can others weigh in on this?

    “I still cannot see Bill Self watching the small ballers getting out rebounded +5”

    There is no reason why we should get out-rebounded playing small ball, especially with some of the muscle-bound smalls we have. They should be trained on how to get position, and all our guys are athletic and quick jumpers.

  • Think about our match-up with Texas – Myles Turner and Cameron Ridley.

    Personally, I’d just take a page out of Steve Fisher’s playbook. Fisher terrorized our bigs with trapping on the block and the short corner. And it was not haphazard. It was very well coached, nice angles to the trap, perfect release points, etc.

    The fact is, we don’t have a rim protector. You can’t have everything. But you can cover weaknesses.

    The factor that many times gets overlooked is the “anchor.” That is, how well does a player hold his own space. Height, and more precisely length, is important down low. But the anchor is a huge key. We gang up on Ellis quite a bit, so not to pile on, but the reality is he had little to no anchor last season. Alexander seems to have an anchor. Traylor was average with the anchor, but we saw him get schooled regularly by post players with any sort of skill. Lucas/Mickelson, I don’t know yet.

    But I do think that you could see a combo of Lucas/Mickelson/Alexander in the game together (two of the three), for stretches against bigger teams. If for no other reason than that is the way Self has done it in the past.

  • @drgnslayr

    I think what you saw was the hi-lo being run by guys that did not get how to run the hi-lo very well. 🙂

    Seriously, last year was an anomaly and not something to worry much about. We can explain it pretty easily, if we analyze it, but the fact is this year’s core team is an entirely new cast without much overlapping capabilities. So your early, wise and frequent focus on the x-axis and on small ball and becoming 40 minutes of toughness has been really, really productive and insightful for the fan in me, anyway.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    You are right, but these are things most Self teams resort to under most referee calling most seasons in the past, except for the last one. And the last one had a rim protector and a cast of players that were very limited in their help abilities.

    This team should help a lot. And i believe Self is signaling to Hunter that if he wants to be apart of things, his lateral quickness has to step up. His focus has to broaden in terms of guarding the post AND helping others. My guess is that Landen is a bit more agile side to side and has been getting the idea of exploding out of position to help. Hunter just may not be very explosive and, if Self is planning to give the team a theme of explosiveness then Hunter has to fit that theme, or the head coach/author of this basketball team/novel is going to toss out those scenes involving Hunter, not because he is not a good post player, and shot blocker, but because he is not adapting to the team theme of explosiveness.

    At the same time, my post is an argument that coaches/authors carry themes to their productive limits, but then have to recogonize certain situational dramatic needs and break their own themes when needed.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Texas and its size is going to be a challenge. We can play like we did last year in Austin (very bad) or like we did in Lawrence (very good). If you cannot match up with their bigs inside, then trapping them and denying them position is an excellent tactic.

    Ken Pom (I guess he now writes for ESPN) still has KU winning the conference…

    Ken Pom link…

    But others such as Dino Gaudio have Texas winning the conference and Barnes as Coach of the year…

    Dino Gaudio link…

  • @jaybate-1.0 “At the same time, my post is an argument that coaches/authors carry themes to their productive limits, but then have to recogonize certain situational dramatic needs and break their own themes when needed.”

    Ah, you mean flexibility. My comment is a touch sarcastic, but Self has shown the propensity to add size when necessary (like with Kaun at times in 2008 ), or go small to adjust (like vs. Mizzou in 2012 when they played small).

    @JayHawkFanToo Another thing on trapping bigs that we’ve all seen. When you trap, and trap again, then don’t trap, that can be distracting/confusing too. Texas will be a load inside. But somehow, I think we’ll manage.

  • Turner is light as a feather. Wayne can shut him down in the post. He isn’t really a “back to the basket” player and prefers to bomb from the perimeter. He wants to be the next Durant. He is a mega-talent, but he’ll need several years to really be effective in D1 and he’ll probably already be gone.

    I’m not sure we really gave up anything by not signing him. If he was 50 lbs heavier and a real post player (like Embiid was) then we would have really lost a needed asset.

    I kind of have the feeling signing Turner would have just created a big mess for our offense because we always need to keep the OADs happy, even when they don’t fit into Self’s system. We would have twisted our offense around, similar to what we did last year for Wigs, and just created a big, chaotic blob offense.

    Then consider a player like Cliff, who fits directly into Self’s offense.

    I know I’m glad we got him more than if we would have signed Turner, just because he is a better fit and he already has a body built for D1 (and even NBA). He should be a positive impact player from Day 1.

    I’m looking forward to watching Myles in Texas… let’s see what Barnes comes up with to make him happy.

    Texas is loaded with talent, but I’m skeptical they will be able to put it together into something cohesive. Players are pieces, and pieces need to fit properly to make a puzzle complete. I sort of just see a big unfinished puzzle at Texas, and I’m not optimistic that Barnes will put the pieces together.

  • @drgnslayr

    Bringin’ out the manhood challenger stick for the Myles mon.

    Takin’ a young man to task for de minimus cojones in the pre-season.

    Makin’ him a batch of digital sigint doubting his ability on the blocks of macho.

    Shoutin’ small at his cup size.

    Sayin’ he not be enough of an hombre to guard his own borders.

    Callin’ the family jewels paste.

    Yodeling that Wile E Coyote is lacking gravitas in the fur pouch where the sun don’t shine.


  • @HighEliteMajor

    Self is a walking inner war between pretty and tough.

    He loves the running and jumping, but he deeply respects the grinding and bumping.

    “He is a walking contradiction/ Partly fact and partly fiction…” –Kris Kristofferson, Silver Tongued Devil (if I recall correctly)

    Like a Fuller tensegrity, Self’s flexibility is in tension with his rigidity.

    “Flexidity.” You read it coined here first.

    When it works, it is a self reinforcing pattern.

    When it doesn’t work, the structure comes down like, well, like the puppets of a marionette, when the strings get cut by a wise guy that sneaked behind the box.

    (Note: I forgot to put “back fill here.” My apologies to JayHawkFanToo.) 🙂

  • @drgnslayr

    You have Wayne playing in the post? Maybe you meant Cliff? 🙂

    Turner might well end up being an Isaiah Austin type of player; a very good defensive player but in offense he was basically a SF who did not really play inside and his height was pretty much wasted, On the other hand and with 20-20 hindsight, maybe staying outside was the best thing for him in view of his health issues. Amazing that he could shoot 3-points (.320 in conference) with only one eye.

  • And here.

  • And here.

  • And here.

  • And here in triplicate.

  • @HighEliteMajor said:

    Fisher terrorized our bigs with trapping on the block and the short corner. And it was not haphazard. It was very well coached, nice angles to the trap, perfect release points, etc.

    I’m afraid the OAD phenomenon will make this kind of execution a thing of the past. I give you last years’ Jayhawks as evidence. A world of talent without enough practice to execute well.

    And then there were the injuries

  • @Careful-you

    This team picture suggests lots of interesting aspects and perhaps some intentional deception. 🙂

    The team appears lined up perpendicular across the midcourt stripe. And the camera is set up about 10-20 degrees to the right off of straight on. This makes figures in the right part of the picture appear slightly taller because they are closer to the lens. Figures on the left appear slightly smaller because they are farther from the lens.

    Not surprisingly, Self and the camera man put his two tallest players on the paint stripe for some symmetrical effect at the center. But notice who is on the right, where they look bigger than they actually are: Frank and Devonte,

    And notice that reputedly 5-11 Frank, looks about 2-3 inches shorter than 6-2 Devonte, which is reassuring. But recall that 6-0 Conner is on the small appearing end, and he looks almost as tall as Devonte. Hmmmm. Oh, well, Conner looks about a half inch shorter than 6-2 Tyler. Could it be that Devonte has some KU inches?

    Now to the bigs.

    6-10 Hunter looks two inches taller than 6-10 Landen and Landen looks the same height as, or a half inch shorter than, 6-8 Cliff. Hmmmm. KU height is a very strange system of measurement. Maybe Landen’s sore knee is a cause?

    Notice the pivot point of the top of Hunter’s arms are higher than Jam Tray’s but just about the same height as Landon, while Cliff’s pivot point top of arm might actually be a hair higher than Landen’s, or Hunter’s!

    Next 6-7 Oubre and 6-8 Cliff. Look at the pivot points of their shoulders. Cliff’s pivot point looks a good 3 inches above Kelly’s. And Kelly beneath the tall hair looks 2-3 inches shorter than Cliff, and Cliff is standing slightly farther away from the lens, which means he is actually a little taller than he appears.

    Now to the “LEFT”. 😉

    Jam Tray looks 2-3 inches shorter than 6-10 Hunter at the arm pivot point and at the top of head.

    Svi and Jam Tray look the same height but Svi’s a good 2 inches lower at the arm pivot point. Avi looks a little taller than Brannen looks, but an inch shorter at the arm pivot point.

    Inference: a good 1-2 inches of Svi’s height is in his long neck and so useless.

    Next, notice that 6-4 Selden slumping forward and seated in the beginning of the region that looks smaller than he is, is almost as tall as 6-2 Self sitting up. Fine. But next notice that the slightly slumping 6-2 Self is almost as tall as Perry Ellis AND his shoulders appear about as wide! Maybe Self’s suit is fool us on shoulder width. But what about height?! If 6-4 Selden and 6-2 Self were to have set up straight, They would be about as tall from the seated waist up as 6-8 Perry Ellis!!! Wow, I guess either Perry has some seriously long legs with a short trunk, or he is maybe not quite 6-8. Remember, slumping 6-4 Selden and slumping 6-2 Self are seated where they should look smaller than they actually are, relative to Perry who should look slightly larger than he is relative to them. Now there is a case to be made that leaning forward buys you a little size relative to the camera at the same time it shrinks you, so let’s call that a wash. Whatever, it looks like either Selden has grown up to Perry’s 6-8 over the off season, which could spell killer MUA for Big Wayne, or Perry may be a wee bit less than 6-8. Or some of both. What if Wayne and Perry were now about the same height. Why not let them both swing 2-4 and 3-4 and 2-3? Further, what if Oubre were the same size as as Selden and Perry, which it appears he might be? Then what Self is saying might start to make a whole lot of sense. Basically, height wise, these guys are interchangeable, and where you put any one of them at any time–the 2, the 3, or the 4–just depends on where the best matchup advantage exists for each guy giving opposing personnel.

    And, of course, this might be especially true, if the 4 position were no longer really a high post position at all, but just one of three perimeter positions.

    Beyond the above, it looks like Hudy was having a good hair day, Fred Quartile was very bubbly, Snacks was texting a recruit and the young woman on the right end of the front row appears to be engaging in auto-mind meld with herself, or just starting to move a stray lock of hair aside.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “You have Wayne playing in the post? Maybe you meant Cliff?”

    I’m just making the point that I think Wayne could stop Myles in the post.

  • @drgnslayr no way

  • From what I’ve seen of Myles, he isn’t a post-up scorer.

  • @drgnslayr

    Chances are Turner will not play the post and will play the wing instead, since he likes to play outside and Texas is loaded inside anyway… At 7’-0" he certainly will be a tough match up for just about anyone. So there is indeed a chance that Selden will guard Turner but not a the post but at the wing where Turner will have a 7"-8" height advantage; honestly, I don’t think Coach Self would want that match up.

  • Really, I think a guy like Oubre – 6’7" with length – is probably the best match-up we have for a guy like Turner. Don’t know well Mickelson could handle that. Ellis might be more in his element with Turner. Meaning, he’s not much of a on the block defender, and chasing a slower guy on the perimeter (compared to a true 3) might fit.

    The best way to stop Texas would be to play zone – good zone. Not a thrown together, three days of prep zone.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Where did you see the team photo?

  • @DanR it’s under anticipation

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Muchas gracias for telling DanR the proper “current” location of the photo. I had forgotten. It seemed to move from one link to the other yesterday, and I posted one place, then moved the post to another, when I saw it there. But it could just be some confusion on my end. I recently updated my OS and since that moment, there have been a lot of glitches in the way this site functions on my desktop. 😞

    What I am really interested in is who took the photo and where it came from? I wonder who knows? It sure does not look like one that was meant for commercial publication, given some of the appearances of some of the figures in the photo. Maybe someone took it while the professional photog was posing the group for an official photo?

    Anyway, it is an interesting photo to try to analyze. And without knowing who took it, my remarks on it were intended hypothetically of course.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @DanR

    Whenever you have questions about me, @Crimsonorblue22 follows me rather closely and you can expect help if I am tardy. 🙂

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Oubre also has freakish 7’-2" wingspan. Wiggins and LeBron have what are considered huge wingspans, and they are both 7’-0".

  • I have a feeling that we are going to see a lot of Hunter and Jam Tray, at least for the first couple of months. While I’m sure Cliff is a beast I don’t know if he will start or even play major minutes in the first half of the season. I hope I’m wrong, but I think he is going to get into foul trouble just like Tarik did at the beginning of last season. Refs are going to be watching a big physical player like Cliff and it’ll probably take time for him to adjust. Hunter has a good amount of experience as does Jam Tray. They are two different kinds of players, but most likely be the first bigs of the bench. To be honest Jam Tray has such a high motor I wouldn’t be surprised if Self starts him early in the season to set the tone and also to make Cliff work for that starting spot.

    There is a lot of talk of this team not having a rim protector, but Hunter could be that guy. He looks to be every bit of 6’10’’ and that’s without KU’s measuring adjustments. Early in his career he put up a lot of blocks and from what i have seen his timing seems pretty good. He has lost weight since he has come here and i would speculate in better shape than he ever has been in his life. So don’t be surprised when you have flashbacks of Cole or Whithey when Hunter starts swatting, because he really could turn into that rim protector this team needs.

    Landen Lucas, Landen Lucas, Landen Lucas, Ohhhh Lando. I really wish i knew how he will fit in to the picture. The guy has been with us for years and has put in a lot of hard work, but I just don’t know if he is going to make that leap this year or maybe ever. I think he would be playing for almost any Big 12 school, but this is Kansas. It never helps to start a season with an injury and that means missed practices and a drop in the pecking order. We already have a plethora of guards fighting for playing time and lets be honest Bill Self will not have an 11 man rotation, even 10 seems high. Once again I hope I am wrong because Landen seems like a very capable player and i hope to see him on the floor.

    One thing is for sure. Its great to be a Jayhawk. At least we have options when it comes to bigs, just gotta love it. ROCK CHALK!

  • @RockChalkRedlock

    At media day, Coach Self pretty much implied that Lucas was ahead of Mickelson and I would not be surprised if he gets more playing time than Mickelson.

  • @JayHawkFanToo think the injury has pushed him back?

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Lucas could have been ahead of Mickelson, but Lucas has a stress fracture in his lower leg and is out for a couple weeks.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Yes, that is freakish length. I’m excited to see the guy on the defensive end.

    As for Lucas, I fall back on the “Self knows best” thing there …

    Lucas is a really, really likeable guy. Product of an excellent family (it appears). Only a sophomore. Low ranked. An after thought – the result of missing on Tarc. He’s insurance. Anything better than a serviceable back-up as an upperclassman is gravy.

    I do trust that Self will play him if he deserves it, if he’s better than the other options. I do think Self will play the best post players – it’s his approach to perimeter guys that I (respectfully) question sometimes. But when comes to guys in the post, it’s been hard to argue.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “Turner will have a 7”-8" height advantage"

    True… but that doesn’t mean he can score. I haven’t seen any of his mechanics concerning back-to-the-basket scoring in the post. He’s light, and light guys typically don’t do well at scoring in the low post. Selden could be the best defender on him in the low post if he knows how to body up without fouling.

    Do we remember a young Jeff Withey and how he got pushed around in the low post?

    Good match-ups don’t always seem to be logical. Often, the mistake is to go same-for-same on match-ups when the right thing is to consider specific aspects that make a difference. In this case, maybe Selden can just edge Myles out of the paint with his lower body… Or put just enough body on him during his post move to make him brick the shot.

  • @drgnslayr

    Everything I have read indicates that UT is loaded inside and Turner will play the wing, where he prefers to play anyway, so the chances of him playing the post are slim and the chances of Selden guarding him in the post even slimmer; there is no way that Coach Self wants that match up. Keep in mind that Turner was top 3 in most every ranking so he is no slouch…even if he plays the post…

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