The Only Thing That Can Beat Us Worse Than Kentucky Did...

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    I’m lost.

    I don’t understand why elite HS players can come out in their first year of college ball and can play with the big boys.

    It rarely happened back in my day. Back then, players usually didn’t even play on the same team… schools had JV teams.

    How can it be? How can 18 and 19 yr old kids play to the level of 22 and 23 yr olds? How can it be?

    I know elite talent has some things going for them. They usually have extra long arms. They have experienced some extra coaching along the way. These are the top players, so…

    NO! It still doesn’t add up!

    Many of us would love to see a KU team without OAD players. But we all had to face the same facts that Bill Self had to (when he lost with a veteran team to a team with OADS); it ain’t gonna happen! We simply have too big a hill to climb if we don’t stock up with some OADs. It stinks that we just get to start knowing guys that turn around an leave. Next bunch in. Next!

    Back to why it doesn’t add up.

    Could there be reasons why the young studs come in an dominate the old studs?

    I wonder why players who play college ball for 4 years don’t totally throttle the newbies, regardless of their talent level. They should.

    Could it be that they don’t really develop as much as they should be?

    Could it be that they don’t spend the extra hours in the gym?

    Could it be that they have things outside of basketball distracting them?

    Could it be?

  • @drgnslayr My best guess is these days most kids grow up playing club ball from the get go. They get coaching with specific skill development early on.

    As you know, players develop physically different as well. My generation was bigger than my fathers and so on. I remember looking at teenage girls compared to 30 years ago, and they mature earlier too.

    And, we all played three or four sports. These kids play one sport year round. So, kids with talent are spotted earlier. Technology helps spot that and highlight that. I think the talent pool is much deeper this generation with the best of the best matched up frequently. The cream rises to the top. And nutrition, weight training.

    It happened with KU Football and Nolan Cromwell. He came in as a Freshman and was a starting DB by the end of his frosh year.

  • @JayhawkRock78 Look at a lot of the earlier Euro players to play in the NBA, they were a lot younger and were playing at an elite level.

    A lot of Euro players start at a very young age with club teams and are taught to play everywhere on the floor, when they get here they are very skilled.

    With that being said todays athletes have more AAU games, than they did 10 years ago let alone 20. More specialized camps, not just individual or team camps, but they have Big man camps, and shooting camps and so on.

  • @drgnslayr

    It’s the AAU ball, oddly enough.

    Long time ago, most players would only get 25-30 games of action in, basically their HS season, plus a few summer camps here and there. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, AAU teams started traveling, but again, the tournament schedule wasn’t that heavy (maybe one tournament a month in the summer) and two or three camps for the elite players. By the late 90’s AAU teams played all summer, with summer camps sprinkled around for not only the elite players, but also for solid players.

    That means that an elite HS player in the 1950’s or 60’s would have played, by the time he got to college, maybe 125 games max, with maybe 15 of those being against top notch talent. By the 70’s and 80’s, that was maybe up to 175-200 games, with probably 50 games against top talent. Today, the best HS players play as many as 100 games each summer against top talent from around the country. They don’t have to adjust to the jump in talent level as much because they have seen the top talent on the AAU circuit for the last four years traveling around.

    Think about a player like Perry Ellis, who followed something of an old school model in his development. He played AAU, obviously, but didn’t travel as heavily as some and certainly didn’t spend as much time at the elite camps as many players do these days. He was a historically great Kansas HS player. But the first year of his college career he had to figure out the speed and athleticism of the college game. At Wichita Heights, Perry played maybe 5 games out of the 100 in his HS career against a D1 caliber player that was taller than 6-6. That won’t prepare you to jump straight into D1 ball.

    Add to the sheer amount of games that many players begin lifting weights now in the 7th or 8th grade, and that many high schools have a full fledged weight training program. This means that in addition to getting more games in, these players are more physically prepared for college than players from even 15 or 20 years ago.

    Go back and look at the highlights from the McD AA games from the 80’s and early 90’s, then watch today. The players just look more physically developed. It’s a startling difference.

    You also have to remember that the vast majority of the juniors and seniors playing college basketball are non-elite players. As a result, the truly elite freshmen and sophomores can dominate because they are just better.

    For example, If Anthony Davis were in college right now, he would be a senior and would probably be unleashing an absurdly dominant season on college basketball right now, given that he is averaging 25 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks a game in the NBA right now. He averaged 15/10/4 at Kentucky as a freshman. Let’s say his numbers improved by 10% each year. He’d probably be throwing up a 20/13/5.5 right now. You think UK’s current bigs are good? How would Davis look in college right now? It would be flat out unfair.

    The college talent level is trimmed from the top every year. The best freshmen are likely better than the best sophomores, who are likely better than the best juniors, who likely are better than the best seniors, because for the most part, their best peers are already NBA players. There aren’t very many truly elite seniors in college basketball. There are some elite juniors, but only a handful or so. Most of the truly elite players are freshmen and sophomores, and those are the guys that dominate.

  • Good reads in here.

    I’m looking at these guys and wonder why most of the them don’t know what a ball fake is. Something so basic. Something you know how to use, to bluff a guy into the air so you can draw a foul. Something you use when a guy has already smoked your shot before. Something you know you need when the defender is overplaying your shot. Something so friggin’ basic in basketball. Something I used in junior high. The game has not advanced past the ball fake. Or the head and shoulders fake.

    Back in my days, young players got schooled by older players. We didn’t need AAU. We got the college-bound guys to play street ball to pickup their toughness, to learn from the old guys (sometimes, as others have mentioned in here, to learn some bad habits, too). That’s where I had the opportunity to play big name players who went on to big NBA careers.

    We discussed this before… the meltdown of street ball.

    Another point I was making in this post is video games. How youth would rather spend their time strengthening their thumbs than putting out the extra effort in something that will help them. Our guys all talk about video games. I know they need something to also relieve themselves from everything else. But does it go too far? Are these guys really developing enough of their game in 4 years?

    Think of it this way. Does the medical student have time to play video games and become a doctor? I seriously doubt it. Well, these guys pretty much ALL want to take their game to the next level. NBA money (to some degree) equals medical money (for a while). These guys need to become “Doctors of Basketball” to make it to the next level. That is the level of commitment they must make to get there. And though they would also like to be kids and enjoy their youth playing… they need to make a bigger sacrifice if they want to reach the top. Unless they are born with the extreme height or extra long reach, they need to gain their advantage by working hard pretty much all the time.

    I think this gets into who really LOVES the game. Who really LOVES to train. Only SOME really have it in them.

    I don’t know if Perry LOVES the game. I do think he LOVES to train. I think he’s a guy that could easily write his own NBA ticket had he been exposed to street ball in his youth. It would have toughened him up. He would have earned some needed swagger. You can see the missing piece in his game.

    @JRyman - Right on about euro players. Euro players are a unique breed. Basketball does not have the social level it has over here. You’ve got to really WANT to play basketball over there. And you have to SEEK OUT clubs, and even more important, SEEK OUT the few coaches that know how to develop. The problem in Europe has always been coaching. It has constantly improved over the last 30 years, and the networking has definitely improved. So if there is a young talent, it is much easier for him to get connected into a good coach (program) where he can improve. Plus… many euro players come to America to go to basketball camps.

    The one constant with euro players… they always (and still today) watch NBA ball. They idolize players and their skill sets, and they tear down the moves, study them, practice them, and incorporate them into their games. It’s a much bigger deal then what players do here. Many players here don’t really even watch NBA, even though they want to play it. They’d rather play video games.

    If I was a D1 coach, I’d always have at least one Int’l player on my team. Just to help educate the others how hard they had to fight to get to where they are at. Svi is a tough kid because he had to fight for what he has. He’s only 17 and for the most part, he can school everyone on this team, including coaches. That doesn’t mean he isn’t being schooled on other parts of the game. He is. He also has a lot to learn on how the game is played over here. It remains a team game, so he has to learn to mesh into the game here.

  • They can come in and dominate because there aren’t elite players (generally) who are juniors and seniors because those elite players have moved on.

  • @drgnslayr said:

    We discussed this before… the meltdown of street ball.

    I blame this on “White Men Can’t Jump”, every loud mouth chump thought they could then play, and two and this will shock everyone, but one person really hurt the game of basketball as a team game, Michael Jordan.

    Remember the Lakers v Celtics v Pistons, those were all teams, Bird and Magic didn’t need to join a big 3, they had 4 All stars/HOF’s on their teams already. MJ played clear out ball, one on one moves. He was so talented he made it look easy, made every kid want to be like him. That was great in their driveway against their little brother, but then they tried that crap on the real court and whoops.

    Let’s face it by the time MJ and the Bulls won a title he was finally on a team, surrounded by a post player, a second scoring option and a shooting guard.

    The Big 3 or Pierce, Garnett and Shuttlesworth, again changed the game, now James, Wade and Bosch did it. Now they are trying it in Cleveland, they don’t have the guys who want to be teammates there, they all want to be the man. OKCity had their chance and got rid of their third wheel in Harden.

    I know I have went off the rails a little, but lets face it, the Spurs and the team play they play works for basketball. It might not be flashy or the in thing to do, but to me it’s what the game is about. Five guys working together, competing as one.

  • @drgnslayr Popovich’s roster has a majority of players on it who are not Americans. It’s worked out pretty well for him!

  • @wissoxfan83

    Right on!

  • @JRyman

    “I know I have went off the rails a little, but lets face it, the Spurs and the team play they play works for basketball. It might not be flashy or the in thing to do, but to me it’s what the game is about. Five guys working together, competing as one.”

    Couldn’t have said it better!

  • Most coaches will tell you that they spend the first month of practice teaching new players the basics of team ball and weaning them of all the bad habits acquired in HS as a result of bad coaching or individual-oriented AAU play.

    In this respect Euro ball is well ahead of us, they might not have the raw athletic ability but they sure have better fundamentals…maybe because they do not have the raw talent. I think we can see a good example with Oubre and Svi, one a super athletic freak with (apparently) poor game fundamental and the othe,r a not as athletically talented player, but with much better individual and team fundamentals,…how is that working out for KU?

  • @JayHawkFanToo an ex KU asst coach told me it was shocking how little some of these kids have been taught, bb terms, drills and mostly anything about defense. Speaking of ex KU coaches, Manning is playing Minnesota now on espn u.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Point well taken!

    Guys in Europe are much better at time management. Their studies are a lot harder, requiring a lot of time to study. Most Northern European countries now require students to be fluent in at least 3 languages.

    The rest of the time, they play ball, not video games. The discipline is at a much higher standard. And when they practice, they practice… little just playing around.

    We take so much for granted over here. So do players. They have access to all sorts of opportunities for development, but few take advantage of it. Like file tape.

  • “There is no one thing that is true. It’ is all true.” – Ernest Hemingway

    Everyone has pointed out some truths.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Part of that is due to the shifting dynamic of collegiate ball.

    For example, let’s take the 2010-2011 KU basketball team. This was the team with Selby as an OAD that eventually fell to VCU in the E8.

    In college basketball, you are assembling a group of players that, up to that point in their basketball lives, have been stars and are relearning or remaking themselves as role players.

    Selby was an on ball scorer in HS. Markieff and Marcus were the two main scoring options in high school. Conner Teahan was a star at Rockhurst in KC. Mario Little was a star in high school in Chicago, and was one of the top juco players in the country after that. Royce Woolridge once tossed up 40 in a high school game. So did Travis Releford. Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed were both big time scorers and stars in high school. Elijah Johnson was a ball dominant scorer in HS.

    That’s almost the entire team! And that doesn’t include two of the better players on that team - Tyshawn Taylor, who was probably the 4th or 5th best player on his high school team, and Thomas Robinson, who was primarily a rebounder/ garbage basket guy in high school.

    Brady and Travis both had to transform themselves from primary scorers (HS) to defense first players in college. EJ and Selby both had to move off the ball. Tyrel had to convert to a spot up shooter. Woolridge rarely played. Little had to convert to a garbage basket guy.

    College teams are made up of high school stars (primarily) because the role players are not good enough to move to the next level. But only the very best high school stars can continue to be stars in college. The rest have to recreate themselves in different roles.

    We saw it this year with Conner Frankamp transferring. Kid can play. He averaged 37 points a game in high school. But at KU, they aren’t running plays for Conner Frankamp every time down. They probably hardly ever would have run a play for him. So he has to find a new role that puts his best skill (shooting) on the back burner. That’s tough for a lot of guys.

    It took Travis three full years to come into his new role. It took Brady two and a half. It took EJ two years to get off ball and he never got his on ball skills back in line.

    @JayHawkFanToo is correct that poor coaching at the HS level also contributes to this. Most coaches are just happy to have a D1 level prospect on their roster, so they don’t spend time working with those guys to develop their skills in other areas to prepare them to not be a star at the next level.

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