"Who We Are" or the First Test Of small Ball

  • Assuming Self starts Traylor, the first substitutions five minutes in will tell one part of the tale of whether or not small Ball is “who we are.” Self will get to choose between going with Cliff, Lucas or Mickelson, or staying small by staying with Jam Tray. If Traylor stays in, then small is who we are. If he comes out, then Self is just using the short big Traylor to “shorten” the game for the big bigs to come in and play big Ball.

    My hunch is small Ball is really Self shortening the games for foul prone Cliff/Lucas/Mickelson committee of “who we are.”

    Use of Svi/Greene/Oubre will be the other tell of “who we are.”

    When Oubre gets serious and cuts the mane, Self will have to use his wrapped knees to keep the OAD valve on; that’s a given in the Big Shoe era. But where he plays is the second tell of small vs. tall ball. Oubre for Ellis at the 4 is staying with small ball. Ellis is at most 6-7, same as Oubre. If Self brings Oubre at the 4, this small ball may be real.

    @Crimsonorblue22 backfill twice here.


  • @jaybate-1.0 I posted this last night on another thread, fyi: "By the way, I couldn’t resist calling Hawk Talk Wednesday. I asked Self if the perimeter guy at the 4 spot was still possible ( since they didn’t do it in either exhibition), or if it was on the shelf. Self said it was “on the shelf.” He said that the main reason he was considering it was because of the logjam on the perimeter, but since CF left, that has changed. Sounds like that isn’t going to happen. Seemed odd that his rationale for considering it wasn’t really a strategic one, but more personnel based. "

    Before I asked the question, I kind of thought he could be hiding it for UK.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Conversely do you think he would slide Ellis down to the 3 and use a combo of our other bigs at 4 & 5? Especially against bigger teams like UK

  • @jaybate-1.0 I’ll be damned if I know who we are & thanks to Zenger I won’t have a decent idea until about the7th or 8th game unless I can get out to a BWW or Johnny’s & fight the crowds in the bar. The exhibitions I don’t give a hoot about but the real show starts tonight & I AM PO’ed. I think we should ship Zenger’s side show off to the Little Apple before he strikes out on another FB coach.

  • @Lulufulu Lulu, the squad is so packed at that 3 spot that I can’t envision him moving Ellis into the logjam. Self really has a heady task on his hands, figuring out the utilization of Greene-Svi-Oubre.

  • @globaljaybird gjb, we have bought into ESPN Fulll Court the past several seasons, so as to watch games not scheduled for CBS or regular ESPN channels. I think the cost this year is $110 for entire season. We get it via Dish Network; but I assume it is available via most other providers.

  • @REHawk I have Comcast up here in VT. I spoke with them about FullCourt but they dont offer it. Can I get it any other way?

  • @REHawk I was just saying he could go “big” with Perry at the 3 but I guess technically Oubre and Svi are just as tall and possibly longer.

  • @globaljaybird

    " I think we should ship Zenger’s side show off to the Little Apple before he strikes out on another FB coach."

    I put in my 2-cents with Zenger. Saw him 2 weeks ago and gave him my opinion as a KU alumni.

    I told him how much I like Bowen and his energy. We aren’t going to get some expensive outsider to turn Kansas football around. Those types of candidates are more concerned with their checks clearing than Kansas succeeding. Bowen will be happy to take the job at a fair price, giving him incentive (like he needs more) to make Kansas successful to further his career. I’m convinced he will be a better recruiter, too. He is a guy who would like to make Kansas his destination in coaching. If we really want to build a program, we need a guy like Bowen who will make Kansas successful, then stick around to make it permanent!

    Bowen cares about KU… when was the last time we had a coach who gave a rat’s ass about KU?

    Who knows… maybe he will become to us what Snyder is to the purple kitties!

  • @drgnslayr Thats awesome you spoke with him. Hopefully he will heed your advice!

  • @Lulufulu and twice as fast

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Nothing personal if he’s @drgnslayr friend, but my assessment of Zenger to this point is not even fast-more like half-assed. JMO

  • @globaljaybird ha ha! I was talking about oubre and Svi at 3 over Ellis.

  • @drgnslayr next time you talk to your old buddy SZ, tell him what KU fans-alumni, think about his tv deal!! Oh, and where to put it!!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    First, I love it when you take our humble citizen journalism into the arena and get first hand responses from the horse’s mouth.

    Second, Self is very persistent once he finds a desirable action that fits resources (some call it stubborn, but I don’t since I am that way, too :-)) once he works it through and decides what will work best, and so what is worth working hard to achieve. He appears a very hard worker and hard workers don’t like to waste their hard work on suboptimal, or questionable strategies. They like a good plan, assume there are a couple that would be almost as good, settle on one the relies most on the most reliable players, and then they like to pursue it doggedly. This is why so many can come up with plausible alternatives to what Self does at any time, but Self keeps grinding onward with what he already has sunk costs built up in. He assumed at the start that there were a couple good ways to do it, but the way he picked is based on which approach made the most use of the most reliable players. It makes hard work purposeful and tolerable and easy to focus on. You don’t get distracted with second guessing about other reasonable alternatives. You are getting better while others are shifting gears. But Self recognizes a need to change quickly and decisively and effectively once the parameters that dictated the old plan change irreversibly. I really believe he invited the Marines in as much for himself, as he did for his players. The Marine Corp way is systematizing improvisation. It is making tactics themselves at decisive moments the new strategy. So: with Conner on the team, there was a certain kind of team that was strategically and tactically feasible, a kind of team that was well-suited to highly flexible tactics within a rather rigid strategy. The intent clearly was that tactics were to become strategy as the team went game to game. But that all hinged on the fact that Conner could be one of two low turnover ball handlers with him stretching defenses. This was crucial for obvious traditional high-low offensive reasons. But Conner’s critical importance to the scheme Self was articulating was Conner’s particular combination of low turnovers and defense stretching meant Self could move Selden anywhere from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 and add some combination of Graham, Mason, Greene, or Svi and achieve low turnover ball handling (Graham and Mason low TOs with Graham on the trey) and two 3pt threats (Svi and Greene trey balling, but not Greene ball handling); this is always the underlying requirement of Self Ball played through the high-low formation regardless of what kind of stuff they run. The moment Conner departed, Self could no longer achieve BOTH two low turnover ball handlers AND two three point threats out of the starting gate of the season, and with an ability to continue it during substitutions. It would take 2/3s of a season to get to that point, so Self quickly and decisively and soundly decided that the original strategy of moving Selden all over the floor, i.e., sculpting a small ball team with highly flexible tactics was no longer feasible. Now what makes sense is to limit Selden’s role to the 2 and 3 and see if Graham and Svi can get comfortable as a sub committee at the 2, and Greene can “get it” as a sub at the 3 yet.

    Oubre’s role is dramatically effected by Conner’s departure. Until at least two of Graham, Svi, and Greene prove they can protect AND shoot 40%, Oubre for all his reputedly great athleticism is a luxury at the 3 this high-low team cannot afford, and if Self is forced out of a high flexible tactic strategy into a traditional use of Selden at the 2 and 3, the team cannot really afford Oubre at the 4, except as a backup to Perry Ellis? Why? Because without a big, dominant, good scoring, rim protecting 5, the guy at the 4 has to be able to stretch the defense by stepping out credibly to trey ville. Oubre apparently cannot do that. Oubre is apparently kind of a very high profile, OAD equivalent of Kevin Young but without a Jeff Withey, or a Thomas Robinson to pair with, unless of course Cliff Alexander, who is going to be tremendous eventually, becomes tremendous suddenly, which there really is no reason to gamble on. Alexander will do best brought along slow to be ready to rock for the start of the conference season. This means that Oubre, who was likely to be instrumental in the high flex tactics strategy, when Conner was on the team, could ironically become odd man out until January, when by then Alexander is both dominant and not foul prone, so that KU can afford to really benefit from playing Alexander and Oubre together some at the 4 and 5, or 3 and 4.

    Of course, where I really think this is all headed is entirely away from small ball by late January.

    By then, I expect Mason/Graham at point guard, Selden/Graham at the two, Svi/Oubre/Greene at 3, Ellis/Traylor at 4, Alexander/Lucas at 5.

    And I think we will see Alexander increasingly at the 4 with Lucas/Mickelson at the 5.

    In short, Self is playing small ball to bridge into big ball.

  • @globaljaybird

    “Nothing personal if he’s @drgnslayr friend”

    This was my first encounter with Zenger, though I plan to bump into him again. He mentioned how hard he is focused on making football profitable and how tired he is of basketball having to fund football. After that, I went into full sales pitch mode for Bowen.

    I know that many of us will have a lot more patience (and attend a lot more games) with a KU man coaching our team!

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