Prediction: Self about to Switch Ellis On

  • JNewell has a story with this Bill Self comment on Perry Ellis:

    “I just think there’s a little bit going on with him from a confidence standpoint, or maybe from a mental standpoint that maybe he’s rationalized that it’s OK to be the way I am because the team is doing well, and I don’t think it is,” Self said. “I think he’s got to be our go-to guy, and I don’t think he’s far off. I wouldn’t be surprised at him having a big game and a series of big games very soon.”

    I have been writing for two weeks that Coach Self has been letting Perry “labor,” while Self worked with getting other pieces of the Jayhawk engine firing at D1 levels of power.

    Getting Oubre going took much longer than expected and even once he got going it took a few games to try to find the right role for him within the starting five.

    Then Self took on Cliff, only to have Cliff, expected to be one of the really big pistons of this engine, reputedly get caught up in nagging injuries. Cliff seems to get what’s going on now, even if he can’t execute without fouling every game. Getting it is about all you can hope for right now.

    Along the way: with the nagging injuries to The Big Red Dog, and Traylor having an indscretion with the law, then Self had thaw first Mickelson from the cryogenic tank; that did not go to Self’s satisfaction.

    Re-enter and retool Traylor for a face to basket offensive contribution; that took a few games.

    As Cliff’s fouling and injuries persisted, Self looked into the cryogenic tank and gave the order to keep Mickelson at absolute zero and to defrost Landen Lucas the last game. Lucas came in and didn’t do anything horrible, which is what you need when The Big Red Dog is hobbled, and Traylor is yo-yo-ing on you, and, well, you go to guy and most experienced big man, is laboring through your ignoring him and, well, having the kind of existential crisis you like to create for players in toughening boxes off the floor, only this time you decided, out of some expedient necessity to erect the toughening box ON THE FLOOR this time.

    Yep, Perry Ellis now holds the distinction–hell, in the word of Bill Self, its a kind of high honor–of being the most recent KU player ever to “play through” the toughening box on the floor.

    And so he has.

    Perry has actually looked on the floor the way many noteworthy KU players sent to the end of the bench for toughing have looked. His facial expression is locked in a permanent confusion, His body motions are tight and awkward, All the things that he is normally good at he is no longer good at, or no longer allowed to do. It is a hellish place–Bill Self’s toughening box–but it never fails to toughen players.

    Bill Self says he wouldn’t be surprised if Perry has a big game, or several very shortly. He says Perry is just a fraction away from being the player they had envisioned him to be.

    Bill Self says these sorts of things often around the time players look like their personalities have been depatterned at Gitmo.

    Bill Self says he is concerned about Perry’s body language, about the whole team’s body language.

    Sure, Bill, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

    Bill Self has now introduced body language into the lexicon of player analysis.

    Sure, Bill, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

    This is like saying Steve McQueen’s body language didn’t look to good after Papillon had been in solitary confinement for a few years.

    The clear translation is that Bill Self has decided that Perry has done enough time in the on floor toughening box and he is finally going to scheme some things that work for his best big man.

    If one listens closely, one can hear an electric buzz and a barred door sliding open in front of a mobile toughening box with the words Perry Ellis stenciled on it.

    Perry Ellis is going to come out of that contraption like a jack rabbit shot out of cannon aimed directly at the Hilton Coliseum.

    Perry Ellis is going to go ape-flipping-shit crazy in Ames.

    Do you recall the last Self man who fell to earth after a long stay in the hellish confines of Self’s forcing him out into the outer reaches of solar system of his discomfort zone?

    That would be Elijah Johnson.

    The man went off for 39 points.

    The man was like a cross between a radioactive cheetah and a greyhound with tobasco sauce enema.

    He was like an SR-71 black bird soaring up to 100,000 feet and then doing aerobatics in near space before powering in for a perfect landing.

    He was transmogrification on steroids.

    He was a man set free from a toughening box.

    Only Perry Ellis has been through something remotely comparable to what EJ went through.

    I am not saying Perry will hang 39 in Ames.

    But I am saying that if I were Fred I would wear some fire retardant Nomex driving suit to coach in Saturday at 8PM because for the next 40 minutes of division one college basketball his going to see the world’s most stoic human being come flying by him like a low flying cruise missile in silks.

    Go, Perry, go!!!

    Welcome back to the world.

  • @jaybate-1.0 The cheetah line …i’m still laughing…LMAO…

  • Love it. Reminds me of Hunter. Can I call it gonzo!

  • @jaybate-1.0 said:

    The man was like a cross between a radioactive cheetah and a greyhound with tobasco sauce enema.

    amen @KUSTEVE … That’s pretty damn funny!

  • @Blown

    thx for the kind word.

  • I hope you are correct. I tend to look upon you as the man with the crystal (basket)ball. However, I also recall that Bill Self said , when Graham was hurt, that we were going to see more of Evan Manning. I am starting to take the things he says with a bucket of salt. Since I am one of Perry’s biggest fans and have been worried about him, I will be cheering loudly when this prediction comes true.

    There was a quote from Ellis in the same article that is very telling. He said he was trying to work on going out and having fun. It seems so like him to have to “work on” this.

  • @KUSTEVE and `@bskeet

    Glad I hit the funny bone correctly.

  • @lincase

    I wish I were. I thought Oubre would go off for 20-30 last game, but the basketball god decided to humble me on that one. But…

    I do think when players of great physical ability that have in the past done exceptional things, as the second bananas, go into extended tail spins as first bananas, either injuries, or toughening box tenure, usually explains the struggles.

    Self keeps signaling what he is trying to break free in Perry.

    But you have to translate Self-ese to recognize it.

    Here is the way I translate what Self wants in a basketball player.

    He wants a cool cat ready to explode under control in any direction to accomplish any thing needed on a basketball floor at any time.

    The methodical automaton, no matter how skilled he may be at his menu of moves, is not the player that plays Self Ball the best.

    Self Ball is about a pride of 5 big cats moving in for kill on a herd of whatever happens to be handy to eat.

    Have you ever watched a big cat in a zoo pace around his cage?

    That is what Self wants in a basketball player.

    Big cats have enormous presence as they seem to both look at you and beyond you in their utterly controlled, restlessness.

    Big cats can tangle with bears, or hunt impala.

    They look for the weakest link and try to eat him.

    But they will eat whatever is before them, even if it isn’t weak.

    Big cats prowl.

    They turn on the speed when its necessary, but only when its necessary.

    They stalk.

    They never stop stalking.

    They are relentless.

    They only rest after eating.

    They are fierce, but their emotions never get in the way.

    Notice that Self physically is a striking combination of thick brow, square jaw, and broad shoulders, juxtaposed with skinny hands and legs. He’s got some lion in him.

    He has a sweet smile, when he’s relaxed, but he also shows his pronounced fangs when he is amped up either smiling or venting.

    Self is a tension between his female side and his male side–that’s very feline.

    He is a tension between muscle and finesse.

    Self is a feline male that growls and purrs with an Okie twang.

    And he was never able to move like the cat he was inside.

    That’s why he recruits the kinds of players he does. He recruits big cats, long cats–what he felt like but never was.

    What did he say about Kentucky after losing the first game of the season to that 2012 ring team? He was practically oozing enthusiasm and envy even though they had just beaten him badly. He smiled admiringly and said, “Those are some long cats.”

    He wished he could coach those guys.

    But compare that with this years UK beat down of his team.

    No envy. No enthusiasm. This year’s UK players are not his kind of players. They are just four big, long plodders, and perimeter players that really aren’t cats at. They are just long types with talent, but no real feline killer instinct in them at all.

    Talented as UK is this year, there is no Anthony Davis, or Michael-Kidd Gilchrist among them. Those two guys were Self Ballers on the wrong team. The whole 2012 UK team were Self Ballers on the wrong team. They were space creators and then killers. They may not have had the experience and polish that Self adds to his cats, but they had all big cat thing down. They were born big, long cats. Cal got’em. It didn’t matter, because Self admires long cats, no matter who they play for. He doesn’t care if they are muscled thick like lions, or think like cheetahs. He loves long cats. On his own team, TRob was a lion. EJ was a cheetah. Tyshawn was super Cheetah. Create space, kill! Create space, kill!

    Coaches like Izzo that are all junkyard dog with spiked collars have his number, when ever they don’t give him and his cats room to work. They don’t bother with his paradoxes. They don’t care that he can scratch the hell out of them with his long cats. They just move in and latch onto him and his players, and don’t let go. A cat can growl and scratch and fling this way and that, but he can’t create space and kill, when a junkyard dog, or a bear, or whatever has him in his locked jaws and won’t let go.

    Its the law of the jungle that underpins all the fancy sets and actions, all the strategy and tactics, all the philosophy, all the x and y and z-axis stuff, all the micro-bursting treys, and back to basket talk.

    Long big cat?

    Or junkyard dog?


    Or Bear?

    Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali was a long big cat.

    Joe Frazier was all junkyard dog.

    Its not that one always has the upper hand on the other.

    It depends on the day and the energy in the dog and the cat and the bio rhythms, and the injuries, and the age, and the experience, which one prevails.

    Big cats don’t like confinement. Even when they are close, they are looking for space through angles. They want room to work inside, or out. Everything about KU’s schemes is about creating space to work.

    There is a whole subculture of basketball that is cat culture. Pitino is cat culture. Calipari is cat culture. All the space creators, no matter how they say to do it, are big cats.

    Big cats want create space because they are so quick in space. Its to their advantage.

    Junkyard dogs want to cut off space, eliminate space. They want it to be about nothing but their teeth holding onto your throat, or hamstring. They want to hang on and use their weight against your struggle to tear you apart.

    The only time big cats get in trouble is when they think they can be junkyard dogs.

    The only time junkyard dogs get in trouble is when they think they can kill in open space.

    All games like boxing, basketball and football are ultimately about these two primitive ways of competing and cooperating in environments of scarcity.

    Why is boxing more primal than either basketball, or football?

    Its not at all based on the hitting. Football is full of much more vicious impacts to the body. Boxing is only more severe to the brain, and as time passes, and science researches, we are learning more and more that football is very bad for your brain. You never see a boxer with a broken neck, or broken spine, or busted spleen, or a bone sticking out of his dermis. While not frequent in football, these sorts of injuries are not rare in football either.

    What separates football and basketball from boxing in terms of primal intensity is the scarcity of one ball in the ball games, vs. NO ball in boxing. Its the same with bullfighting. There is nothing to fight over in a boxing ring, or a bull ring. There is just the kill, or be killed. The ball in ball games creates one degree of freedom between kill or be killed, and we the spectators and they they players create psychic space to ease our tensions. The ball, though instituted to the scarcity of one among ten players in basketball, and one among 22 in football, is at least something to focus on OTHER than kill, or be killed.

    The ball in ball games gives us a crutch, something to focus directly on, whilst we take in the savagery at an angle, indirectly, if you will.

    But I digress (for @wrwlumpy, of course.)

    And the point of the digression was to lay in the nature of what Self is seeking to free in Perry Ellis.

    Self keeps saying things like Perry is exactly what you would want in a son, he is hard working, conscientious, methodical, a perfectionist. And Self says that’s all good off the court, but on the court it is not necessarily the best way to be.

    Recall what Self said about Brannen Greene, who obviously drives Self to near distraction because of his wild hairs, which big cats seem not to possess either. Self frankly paid Greene one of his ultimate big cat compliments. He said Greene had no conscience. It was a startling declarative statement in its literalness. Self was characterizing what it actually takes to be a great shooter. You can’t have a conscience to be a great shooter, because great shooters miss 60% of the time. If they stop to think about their misses, they could never be great shooters. Great shooters are like big cats. Have you ever looked in their eyes? Do they look like they are anguishing over what might happen if pounced on you and missed?

    We are not talking here about human confidence, when we talk about great shooters. We are talking about the confidence of big cats. We are talking about the absence of confidence. We are talking about no conscience at all. We are talking about just the ability and instinct to pull the trigger. There is no end to it. This is why there is such a love hate relationship between great shooters and coaches. I believe it is why many coaches find excuses not to play great shooters, or at least not to start them. Coaches are control freaks. They don’t like depending on players that truly have no conscience. I could hear in Self’s words when he said Greene had no conscience about shooting. He was both in awe of Greene and in horror of him. He knows Greene is exactly what he needs, and at the same time that Greene is exactly what he does not want. Greene is a highly specialized kind of long cat. He is a shooting cat. Shooting cats are the fundamentally undomesticated wild animals of basketball. The truly great shooter can never be domesticated, not really. They can learn a few domestic tricks, like guarding their man, or running some stuff, and they can fool you occasionally into thinking maybe they are domesticated, but deep down, they are no more domesticated than a mountain lion.

    Why do I go on so about Brannen Greene, when the issue is Perry Ellis?

    Because what Self is trying to release in Perry Ellis is what Self is trying reign in Brannen Greene.

    Perry is a paradoxical scorer. He is a scorer with a conscience. A scorer with a conscience, no matter how good of a scorer he may be, and Perry is a very, very, VERY good one, is no good to a coach bent on building a team of long, big cats.


    Because as I said, scorers, like shooters, miss fully 50% of the time. (Note: Shooters like Greene miss 60% of the time because their shots all come from trey. Scorers like Perry shoot inside and outside.) And a scorer with a conscience, especially with one as severe as Perry’s apparently is, is going to disappear about half the time in games after those misses, be they from just missing, or from having the ball crammed down his throat from someone bigger and stronger than him.

    I am convinced that Self did not WANT to send Perry to the toughening box this season. Perry is probably never going to be a lion type, or even a tiger type, that tears even the most ferocious bear limb from limb; that’s not who he is. But he can sure as heck be one helluva leopard.

    But Self tried short toughening stints his first two seasons. He got him a lot of exposure, yet he protected him and let him develop naturally too. But nothing seemed to extinguish his conscience about shooting and missing. No amount of experience and hounding and button pushing seemed to release the leopard in Perry.

    So: it is my layman’s guess that Self finally just said to Norm, “Erect the toughening box out on the court, put some wheels on it, and hide the key from me and don’t give it to me, no matter what he does, or what I say. Norm. Hide it.” And Self decided to leave Perry at the mercy of unschemed for competition in a D1 jungle of big men as big and usually bigger than Perry, for as long as seemed within the bounds of humane treatment of another humane being that you love and care about and want to help take it to the next level.

    Self apparently believes there is a leopard locked inside of Perry. And the lock and chain are his conscience, which is probably his greatest virtue and strength off the court, but may be holding him back on the sacred wood.

    That’s my take anyway.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I volunteer at the Kansas City Zoo and spend a lot of time at the various big cats exhibits. I know a lot more about big cats than I do about basketball. I really enjoyed your analogy. Big cats sleep 18-20 hours a day. Maybe Perry is about to wake up and go hunting. Hope so.

    Love the Roosevelt quote.

  • @jaybate-1.0 You know what else might happen is that Perry gets over looked because he hasnt been performing well at all. His percentages plummeted and they ( ISU ) might feel that he isnt the guy they need to focus on to stop. That might give Perry the room he needs to break it loose. My only question is can Perry contain Niang on the other end AND have a killer offensive game? We will need him to. Im betting that Oubre could switch onto Niang and contain him pretty well, so that might be an option.
    Ive seen it mentioned quite blatantly in everyones other posts on topic, and I feel the same. I honestly believe that to beat ISU AT their place tomorrow. Coach needs to be able to play inside out AND outside in. He needs to throw some curve balls at Freddy boy. Because it is for certain that curveballs will be thrown at HCBS and our boys too. With ISU losing its last game and not wanting to lose at home for 2 L’s in a row, its going to be a battle. If KU can keep it close in the first half and make a run at the end, They could come out with a W. I hope I am wrong but Im not seeing a win for KU this game. I think ISU is going to be locked in cuz they need this win more than KU does right now.

  • Self is just being hopeful … in a desperate optimism sort of way.

    He has this team at 14-2 without Ellis being what we had hoped. That should tell him something.

    @Jesse-Newell wrote a great article today providing the stats that support what we all have seen with our eyes – Ellis is getting a much greater percentage of his shots blocked this season. Here is the link [link text](link url)

    What you’ll see is that Ellis is getting 16.1 % of his shots blocked at the rim, vs. 9.3% last season. It’s near double. It feels like double. Lots of players get shots blocked at the rim. But when your “go to” post scorer is struggling this mightily, the entire dynamic of your team changes.

    Importantly, the eye test demonstrates that Ellis struggles against average opponents. Not only is he getting his shots blocked, he’s less secure with the ball.

    Jesse’s article points out the absence of Wiggins and Embiid. I think it’s only about Embiid. Opposition can collapse more and focus more on Ellis. Teams squeeze the spin move – it’s the lead item on their scouting report.

    Regardless, something has changed of the reason. But it is that change that demonstrates the truth: Ellis cannot be our “go-to” guy.

    Quite simply, if he could be, he would be. But he’s not. The change in the dynamic has exposed Ellis’ weaknesses. Still, can he execute in crunch time? Can he be a guy we get the ball to? Yes on both counts.

    But only situationally, when a match-up permits. Self continues to utilize Ellis much of the time like he’s TRob. He’s not. He’s not half of TRob in the post. But Ellis is twice TRob on the perimeter.

    The only guy holding back Ellis is Self. Exploit him. If you want him as your go-to guy, then exploit his strengths. Then you might have your go-to guy. At present though, in large part, Self is trying to make his something he can’t be on this team – maybe if Embiid was still here, it would be different. Or if we had landed Okafor instead of Cliff. But neither are true.

    Not surprisingly, Self just talked this week about Ellis being a “fraction” away from breaking out. I have no idea what game Self is watching – if if he’s even serious. Again, Ellis could break out – but situationally. 30 points in Ames wouldn’t mean anything. One game does not a break out make. And I’m sorry, Ellis isn’t a fraction away from changing what we’ve seen in the post.

    The problem here is not Ellis. The problem is a system that does not exploit and capitalize on the strengths of the players. The players must fit the system. The system does not mold to fit the players. Same story, 42nd verse. Without a competent compliment down low, Ellis will continue to struggle.

    Self even alluded to this before the season – he said Ellis needed a tough presence down low with him that could rebound and defend. He mentioned this when stating that Mickelson and Ellis would not play together, saying that Mickelson was a face up four. The was a foretelling of Ellis’ weaknesses.

    If Ellis were permitted to play on the perimeter as a four. Maybe even as a pick and pop four. You might see a break out. Ellis’ best performances have been when he’s in fool’s gold territory, away from the basket.

    Really, it is a Cliff “break out” that my lead to an Ellis break out in the post. Cliff’s developmental curve is the key for Ellis down low. No one fears Traylor offensively. Or Lucas. What would you do defensively if Ellis got the ball on the block?

    This continues to be our offensive dilemma. And Embiid isn’t walking through the door. Cliff has to step it up. Or perhaps, just perhaps, Self can exploit the strengths of this team. The jury is still out on that.

  • Not sure ISU needs the win more than we do because if things go well with the other games in conference play we could have a 2 game advantage on everyone. That would be huge even 4 games in. The most likely reason KU loses is because of playing on the road in a hostile crowd.

    We played one dud road game at Temple, played well in spurts at Georgetown and grinded out a physical game against Baylor while shooting terribly. What Jayhawks will we see tomm? Will we see an aggressive team that understands what it needs to do, or will we let them make everything and go home with our heads down?

    I should be able to say we will need to ride our vet’s or the guys who have played their before but I’m not sure our vets are the ones we can rely on. Selden and Ellis will need to step up and come to play. We know Mason will be doing his thing and Mari has played much better since starting lately. Can we ride Mason for a W?

  • A terrific post, even though I am holding out hope that when Self schemes for Perry we will see him break out scoring.

    I think you nailed it with the Mickelson connection. The team had to face 2 basket buys and only one of them play and it was going to be Perry, which meant The Big Red Dog has to come through.

    @HighEliteMajor said:

    Really, it is a Cliff “break out” that my lead to an Ellis break out in the post.

    That’s it in a nut shell.

    What I think is going on, however, is that Cliff cannot be counted on, and the thaw out of Landen Lucas signals another change of plan.

    Self is now determined that he has to committee the 5; that Cliff is NOT going to become a 30 minute man this season.

    Self is now saying that whenever Perry is in the game, the player at the 5 is going to playing very rough and picking up a lot of fouls, so that Self can scheme action for Perry’s finesse game. We are now done seeing Perry trying to go it alone either B2B, for F2B. When Perry is in, its either Perry outside, or Perry finesse moves inside coming off action. The 5 is going to be muscling Perry’s man, back picking him, and so on. This is what Landon Lucas can do. Traylor and Lucas have no offense on the low block. And Cliff has great offense that cannot be counted on because of his fouling. I really think the offense is going to tilt hard to Perry coming off action. No more playing THROUGH Perry; that has not worked, either outside, or inside. Now they are going to play TO Perry.

    Playing THROUGH Perry is getting the ball to him at different spots and having him initiate.

    Playing TO Perry is creating looks for him and getting him the ball to score.

    All last season and early this we were playing TO Perry. He was getting shots blocked, but he was scoring at a pretty good clip nonetheless.

    When neither Traylor, nor Lucas, could generate offense B2B, and Cliff could generate offense but only in short spurts, Self began to play THROUGH Perry in hopes that getting Cliff more PT with simpler duties, i.e., not being played THROUGH, then there was an uptick in Perry’s scoring and then the double teams set in full time. Since then Perry has labored initiating.

    I believe Self maybe shifting gears and playing THROUGH Frank and Oubre, and having them play TO Perry.

    Frank and Perry have been doing the bulk of the scoring the last few games, with one other person chipping in with a decent night. But it has seemed to me that Self was trying to play THROUGH Frank, Kelly and Perry. And I think that Self saw that the team seemed to play a little more comfortably with big Landen in their being a big man presence, even if not a very impactful one.

    So: I think in Ames we are going to see everything run THROUGH Frank and Kelly and we are going to see plays run FOR Perry for the first time in quite a few games.

    But even though I think what I am saying is likely true, it does not diminish the validity of what you are saying.

    The season’s stats on Perry indicate that he is not a good guy to play THROUGH because of his inability to create against persons his size, or bigger.

    But he is a scorer and who CAN score if shots are created FOR him. His spin move can be created for him. Outside trey looks can be created for him. Driving lanes can be cleared for him. And so on. He can even go low block and get on a spot and receive a feed, but he needs someone to come over and pick his man., for him to make a spin move.

    And Perry is going to be double teamed unless he is on the move, so the logical thing to do whenever Perry is not taking open looks is to put him in motion back and forth across the lane, and up and down the lane with the 5 clearing away, and Wayne picking his man, or Kelly picking his man. Wing picks are the best way to shake Perry free–to create a mismatch for Perry. It does not good to pick him with a post man, because the post switch will leave a big man on him that Perry cannot create a shot against.

    But again, none of this diminishes my thinking that outside in is the more logical way to play.

    I am just trying to articulate the next way I think Self is going to try to try playing inside out.

    This could change if Cliff suddenly discovers how to be the low block presence that Perry requires, but I just don’t think Self is holding his breath any more for that this season.

    There will be nights all season long where things

  • @HighEliteMajor

    One more thing. The reason I think Lucas is now back in the picture has to do with playing TO Perry more.

    With Perry running more action he will be rebounding less. 😞

    So, as you have pointed out, since Traylor lacks the rebounding gene, and Lucas has at least a modest one, Lucas becomes more necessary in the line up.

  • @lincase

    18-20 hours?

    Man, I want to come back as a big cat in the next life…in a wild life refuge of course. 🙂

  • @jaybate-1.0 Yep, 18-20 hours, and if you come back as a lion, the females of the pride will do all the work of hunting.

  • @lincase that figures!! Jaybate you roar!

  • @lincase

    I’m all in on this then. 🙂

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    As you wish, madam.

    ROAR!!! 🙂

  • Usually, this time of night, I can produce a tiny touch of offense; some nights, even some defense. However, somewhere along this thread I got stranded on an icy bluff among the mountain lions. As I posted somewhere earlier today, or perhaps it was late yesterday, I’m patiently but earnestly waiting for Mr. Flex to shine. Sooner or later he will…probably later. When he does, this team will catch fire.

  • @jaybate 1.0: “sacred wood” – Love the reference to TS Eliot.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Self looked into the cryogenic tank and gave the order to keep Mickelson at absolute zero.

    That’s just awesomeness. Bravo 👏👏👏

  • @HighEliteMajor After a sound night’s sleep I just re-read all the posts on this thread. I think that this is one of your most comprehensive posts, to date. I concur regarding Cliff. If Ellis is to succeed in Self’s traditional system, Cliff has to see the light and respond accordingly. I’ve the feeling that Self will actually swing 30% toward adjusting his offense to meet his current squad’s strengths. If so, Perry’s numbers will ascend. Self has commented on Embiid’s intelligence. All of us were startled last season at the rapid pace of his development, how he so quickly supplanted the much more experienced Tarik Black and captured not only the stat sheet but the imagination of NBA scouts. Cliff’s ascent has been slower, and he does not have the mentorship or back of Black to lean upon. The loss of Embiid’s length and fantastic progress has, in some ways, shattered Bill Self’s scheming for this current squad. Just imagine how our post would look with the pair of Embiid/Alexander! But as you succinctly stated, Embiid is not going to walk back in the door. Self is adjusting somewhat on the fly. The “go to” guy of preseason planning is hobbled while Cliff gradually makes progress. Self has shown signs of allowing Ellis to step outside his box to produce points. To have survived this far against such heady competition, and with only 2 losses, Jayhawk Nation has already watched one of the mightiest coaching efforts in Bill Self’s KU tenure, probably his entire career. I really find it fascinating, watching how he seems to be driving by the seat of his pants, steering this machinery down the pike. At this juncture, it seems to me that Perry is not nearly the problem as are Cliff and Wayne. When those two players settle into steady beat, the motor will run much more smoothly. Everyone will forget that Perry’s production has been thwarted by so many other engine malfunctions, the entire machinery not yet quite in sync. Yet, still winning! This game today in Ames is bound to tell us a lot about how far along the team has come, and how well the coaching staff can continue to adjust…on the fly, so to speak. We don’t absolutely have to earn this win in order to see where we are and where we are going. Iowa State will be playing balls-out in order to avoid consecutive losses. If Self and Co. can pull out a victory, posters will earn a reprieve to relax somewhat, even though this league warfare will keep Jayhawks in the trenches through late March. This is a fantastic season for Big 12 Basketball.

  • @jaybate-1.0 " “Have you ever watched a big cat in a zoo pace around his cage?”

    Yes jb, Thanks for asking.

    In the late 80’s while watching an elegant & ominously beautiful white Siberian tiger circle & patrol her garrison in the atrium entrance at the spanking new Mirage Hotel & Casino, I instinctively noticed something awry. Her male companion was calmly snoozing away in the palms & yuccas quite oblivious to the literally hundreds of observers in the 300 ft long, full glass catwalk snapping glossies with each other, the kids, & grandchildren & total strangers alike for the shot of a lifetime, For 10minutes he nervously circled, swirled & spun until her tail finally elevated perfectly vertical, swiftly backed into the proverbial rebound block out position, & promptly & with authority flushed her deposit over the edge of the impeccably flawless bedrock shoreline directly into crystal clear waters of the surrounding moat to complete bewilderment & utter shock of those who witnessed this fateful calamity. I swear jb, I’ve not ever, & mean ever, in my lifetime laughed so hard as I did then. Truly no fiction folks, I almost whizzed in my britches.

    Again old friend, thanks for asking & am glad I could share some light on your question !!

Log in to reply