The Big Red Dog needs more minutes!

  • Coach Self and Staff:


    I cannot understand why he is on the bench? His “average motor” is better than almost all post players in the nation and in our conference and certainly on our team.

    Landon had a good game but my lord, what is going on??? Cliff will produce a double-double EVERY GAME** **if ****he sees the court. This is not “filling up the stat sheet”, this is a player who is superior to most of the competition and once again he is riding the pine because … (fill in the blank) … 15 minutes of court time???

    How can you allow our team to get out rebounded like that without our best rebounder - by far! - in the game? Come on man!


    This is the second time in the last four games (ISU and now TCU) where more minutes from the Big Red Dog would have produced a very different and better result for our team.

    Get real - it is so obvious…this not genius, master of motivation, above and beyond the comprehension of mere mortal fans who do not understand all the subtitles of how to manage and motivate Cliff.

    This is a poor coaching decision and the KU fans and our press corps needs to challenge our head coach on this point - big time!

    Open to hear other views but to me it is crystal clear that more playing time for Cliff will equate to more rebounding and scoring in the post, more blocked shots and a better chance to compete, especially this year when our bigs are so weak compared to years past.

    We do not have the luxury of bringing him along gradually. Now is the time and his play will improve as his court time expands. He needs time on the court, not on the pine!

  • @jayhawk-007 said:

    Coach Self and Staff: Read my lips: PLAY CLIFF 25+ MINUTES PER GAME GOING FORWARD!!! I cannot understand why he is on the bench? His “average motor” is better than almost all post players in the nation and in our conference and certainly on our team. , , Open to hear other views but to me it is crystal clear that more playing time for Cliff will equate to more rebounding and scoring in the post, more blocked shots and a better chance to compete, especially this year when our bigs are so weak compared to years past.

    I would encourage you to read JAYBATE’s 1.0 Post in the Blog titled “3 in 6 Campaign: Objective 1–Ft. Worth Is Ours, Sir” and maybe you might see something about “Strategy” !!! Winning the War is different than Winning a SINGLE Battle !!

  • @jayhawk-007

    Copy and paste RedRooster. 👍

    I have a hunch that you are going to get all of the Cliff Alexander show you want against ISU.

    Against Gipson on KSU, Self faces a decision. Landen bulk and Jamari’s explosiveness might be able to hold Cliffs minutes to 20-25 minute against KSU, which would mean Self could unleash Cliff BTWs for the full 40 of ISU. On the other hand, it would suck losing to KSU on Saturday and facing ISU’s bunch of trey bombers, if ISU were to happen to show up hot.

    My hunch is that Self will try to rotate Landen, Jam Tray and Cliff on Gipson to wear him down, and hold down the KU player’s minutes, then, as I said, come full on with Cliff versus ISU.

    Why all this time management related to Cliff, who is obviously so good?

    Self is increasingly asking his centers to run baseline to baseline and get to both ends BEFORE the enemy bigs, be they short or long. That takes a lot of juice for a big fella.

    Also, Cliff still doesn’t have a super BTB game, so his great strength is not going down and setting up on the spots for an entire game. What Cliff is so great at is running the floor and getting there BEFORE the enemy and bringing serious upper body force when he gets there. We don’t want Cliff, with his slender lower body, wasting his battery charge doing a lot of below the waist bodying. We want his awesome long stride, hops, and big shoulders as an MBMAP (mobile big man attack platform) dedicated to early arrivals in the paint on both ends, where he is most formidable.

  • Why could Cal only recruit a few draft choices for Memphis and UMass, but 10 OADs/TADs for one UK roster?

    Could it be simply that the merger made the sum better than the parts?

    I assume Self also was able to increase Toad’s (See I combined tad/oad) with more success at Illinois than Tulsa, and Kansas than Illinois. I have not checked on that though.

    All the southeast has is College football and Kentucky Basketball so with the massive media exposure, and the ego maniacal conditioning many of these kids receive by 18, it’s only natural to go to where they will continue to get that conditioned response.

  • Jesse has some good clips and detailed explanations of cliffs mistakes. I don’t know how to copy videos. Somebody will help us out here.

  • @jayhawk-007 This is a poor coaching decision and the KU fans and our press corps needs to challenge our head coach on this point - big time!

    A bridge too far for me. I want Cliff to get 35 minutes, but I am willing to trust that Coach Self has a plan, knows what he is doing, and will stretch his playing time out when Cliff is ready. We’re 17-3. we’re leading the conference. it doesn’t mean that every decision he makes is right- but there has to be perspective associated with criticism.

  • One thing some people seem to forget is how Cliff has scored thus far. He has hit some 8-10 ft jumpers and is working on his jump hook. This is, however, not how he scores most of his points and especially those that we remember. He does that by getting free under the basket and putting in dunks and alley oops.

    This is very effective when the rest of the team is playing well. Frank and Kelly are shooting threes and driving. Wayne is hitting some threes and successfully getting to the basket (whether he makes them or not) and Brannen is hitting threes. When the others are not playing well Cliff does not become open and slams are not available. As JB pointed out, Cliff does not yet have much of a BTB game. For better or worse Landen can do this better.

    We can once again expend a lot of keystrokes arguing about whether Bill should play someone who is not effective in a given situation for the long run. That is pretty much a waste of time since he wants players develop while we are still winning. When Cliff develops a better BTB game and can consistently hit 10-15 ft jumpers he will get more time. Until then he is being used for situations in which he excels.

    He would also help himself by doing a better job of boxing out especially on free throws. A pointed remark was made after the game by Bill about people not doing this.

  • @Blown

    Ya know, he had DRose at Memphis that could be considered an OAD. That was a grand total of 1. I don’t recall him having any TADs at Memphis. That’s zero.

    Hmmm. Call it 1 OAD/TAD at Memphis in his best recruiting season at Memphis.

    At UK he has 10 OAD/TADs.

    That is a 10:1 ratio.

    Let’s see.

    Bill Self had not OAD/TADs at Tulsa.

    Bill had three exceptional players at Illinois, but I don’t think any of them were OADs, or TADs, were they?

    But let’s be generous and say that Bill had 1 OAD/TAD at Illinois in his best season. And let’s forget Tulsa. Let’s just compare Bill’s OAD/TAD ratio between Illinois and KU. Let’s say that Bill’s best situation is this year’s 3 OAD/TADs even though we know that Wayne is struggling and may turn into a 3AD. Let’s be generous and say that Bill really does have 3 OAD/TADs.

    So: the ratio is;

    Cal = 10:1

    Bill = 3:1


    That’s quite a difference in ratio improvement.

    I am having trouble attributing playing the SEC over the B12, or playing in the EST vs the CST to being the drivers of this extraordinary improvement in ratios.

    Hmmm, I believe we are not yet quite at a hypothesis that fittingly and adequately explains how Cal got 10 OAD/TADs on one roster.

    And I know some argue that Cal just tells players whatever they want to hear, but that does not explain why all the other unscrupulous coaches that tell kids whatever they want to hear (and there have to be at least 10 or so other utterly unscrupulous coaches out of 300+ D1 schools, and surely five or so of them must be a D1 majors and surely 1 or 2 must be a good programs. But none of them have 10 OAD/TADs on their rosters.

    This continues to be a vexing issue to me.

    Perhaps some summer game coaches, agents, and agent runners that Rick Pitino reputedly referred to in a couple of recent articles would like to explain how this sort of thing happens.

    As usual, I am assuming nothing illegal is going on.

    I am simply looking for the technique that is crucial to the phenomenon so that KU can have 10 OAD/TADs on our roster the legal way.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @jaybate-1.0

    The college recruiting-to-NBA game has changed dramatically in the last few years. We cannot compare the recruiting that was done 7-10 year ago with what goes on currently. Until last year we had only two OADs, one that was semi-ready and the other not ready at all; this year we might have 2 OADS. Just my 2 cents.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    The circumstances for comparison are actually pretty ideal, because Self’s and Cal’s baseline years were both in the earlier period that you note, and both their most recent numbers are for this year–the newer era. So: this comparison of ratios is just ideal for capturing the relative progression of both coaches from the old system to the new, and it highlights just how astonishingly anomalous Cal’s proportional increase in OADs is.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Jesse has some good clips and detailed explanations of cliffs mistakes.

    Yes, Cliff is making mistakes and sometimes is out of position on D and sometimes does not do exactly what the game plan said to do, and sometimes does not block out, etc. But my point is that only by playing will he improve these weakness, not by sitting on the bench. Cliff will learn more by doing than by watching or being told what to do. And he is still our best option.

    @KUSteve I want Cliff to get 35 minutes, but I am willing to trust that Coach Self has a plan, knows what he is doing

    Between the 15 min he played at TCU and the 16 min he played at ISU…and the 35 you are suggesting, there is a whole lot of minutes. Here are Cliff’s stats: on average: minutes per game - .18:39 ; points - 8.6 ; rebounds 5.9 ; he is also leading the team in blocks. Simply put, he is far and away our best low post player and rebounder and scorer and athlete.

    You do the math: what would his numbers be with 5 more min per game, or with 10 more min per game? Double-double and a better team with more upside - and he will het better and better with more playing time.

    Yes our Coach is one of the very best and yes he does know better than any of us board rats, but if Cliff is not hurt or in foul trouble or have a poor attitude or missed tutoring or…(fill in the blank), then why is he not playing more minutes???

    Yes there is a difference between strategy and tactics, winning the war and winning the battle (btw…the war analogies are a little overdone in sports and way overdone on this excellent blog post site), but something is strange in the decision to play Cliff less than 20 minutes / game when he is our best low post player. Did Coach Self say after the ISU game, “I was mad at Cliff?” What does it mean, “His motor was not very good?”

    My point and pardon my harsh tone (but I am mad at Coach) is that Cliff needs more minutes to continue to improve and is our ONLY chance to be a contender in the post season, and even to win another title.

    Guys - it just seems to be to be so obvious he should be on the court a lot more minutes (25-30 / game). Sit him more often but just for a few minutes, then get him back in the game, not for long stretches when the other team gets 26 O boards.

    I repeat: What’s up?

  • Have you seen the clips? Do you think he should get more minutes if he is not playing hard? I understand what you mean, but I understand what coach is seeing. Perhaps coach self knows what he is doing? I think we all want Cliff fired up and playing team ball.

  • @jayhawk-007

    I think Self would love to play Cliff for 35 mpg… if he was hustling and listening to his coaches.

    Cliff’s issue is largely hustle and execution. I’m mixed on this but I’m going with Self on this one. That he needs Cliff to kick it up a notch and keep it there.

    I remember when Perry went through this with Self. He still is sometimes. Perry gets pulled for not hustling.

    It is crystal clear that Self is trying to get these guys motivated, and for whatever reason, he is having one heck of a time achieving it!

    Gosh… I look at that game with TCU… Self calling timeout, and ripping the guys as they came over to the bench. Self’s face is almost KSU purple!

    How do these guys not get motivated from that?

    I think we either need to replace Snacks with a southern baptist minister, or send Snacks to one of those southern churches for lessons. Someone needs to be able to keep these guys motivated.

    I am willing to bet that Self would trade some of his knowledge for the ability to better motivate his guys. Maybe Bobby Knight can give him some pointers!

  • @drgnslayr said:

    Maybe Bobby Knight can give him some pointers!


  • I have not seen the clips form TCU or Jesse’s special edition but I do watch the games attentively and re-watched the ISU game. I saw Cliff did not always close out on the three point shooters and at times got beat down the court…not unlike everyone else,

    He does not hustle like Jamari but who does? Maybe Kelly? But he is not dogging it and he is not deliberately lacking effort or showing bad body language or not listening to Coach. He does sometimes have poor court position and/or execution. He is a freshman. But I do not believe this is a hustle issue. Could he do more? Sure, but the royal path is court time, not pine time.

    He simply needs more game time minutes and if there is a momentary let down, pull him, sit him for a few, then get him right back in the game with a little slap on the backside. I repeat: Cliff with an average motor is still our best option and he will get better and his “motor” will improve with more time on the court than on the bench.

  • @jaybate-1.0 you suggest a “reset” was needed during/after the ISU game and Cliff was overloaded/overwhelmed . Maybe.

    Most of us concluded sitting of the Big Red Dog was why he exploded against OU and UT, i.e. he had “learned his lesson” I thought it simply had more to do with more minutes played. Now we are back to the 15 min / game playing time. What’s up?

    I’m sorry but I just don’t get it. Maybe his body is not as well as we think and he is sore and not ready to play full time. This is the only reason (not the hustle issue which is valid early season) which makes sense to me this late in the season.

    Let’s monitor this simple stat: minutes played / game, it is the first one I look at when I check the box score. Here is my opinion:

    The Big Red Dog needs more minutes!

  • @jayhawk-007 So what you are saying is, it’s time for Self to start lowering his standard’s. Cliff has dropped of the Draft board’s as scouts are starting to see his deficiencies. He dunks and makes Sport Center. You and HEM need to schedule a meeting where you tell coach to keep Cliff in and get the ball to him inside and HEM can tell him to do the opposite. Another board rat think’s Self is stupid for ending a game or a half with a Mason isolation. If only this team could be run as a group effort by those of us who could really show the old man how to Coach. Damn, let’s also get rid of those stupid fans with the “Self for President” signs. Lunardi and CBS have KU as a 1 seed. If coach would only listen.

  • Sorry, I can be a sarcastic SOB.

  • “Keep it simple, Fellas. Big Dog whining about practicetime elbow to his sternum. He’s slowly learning to MAN UP!” Wm. Self

  • @jayhawk-007 I agree with jb-Bills sandbagging on Cliffie with 3 games in 5 days. Cliff may also have some nagging boo boos to contend with also & face it, we have some depth & we’re getting the W’s. There’s more than meets the eye for those that scrutinize beyond the obvious. I posted late In the 2nd half"Where’s the BIG RED DOG" on the game chat Wed. He promptly replied with a flush. I’ll drink the kool aide on this one that Bill really knows going forward all the way to March & hopefully April, what he’s doing with player management. Game strategies vary vs each different opponent & he’ll need Cliff more against the big guns like OSU, & WVU on the road & at home vs ISU when come up. Maybe he’s trying to get these kids to peak at the right time too, plus not hit the dreaded proverbial “freshman wall” either. 30-35 games is a lot for a kid straight outta HS. JMO

  • I think we are over analyzing this a bit. Self has things that he asks (demands) that players do given their abilities and the need to win games. I don’t think that he is trying to “toughen” people or that they are in his dog house. When players don’t perform according to his metrics they sit. He does this with all players. Kelly played a few minutes and was unable to deliver. This may have been because he was sick or for some other reason. I don’t have a clue nor do others, but nonetheless he sat.

    The point is that the everyone must perform to whatever level they are asked. Also let us not forget that he is coaching a team. I a reasonably sure that most of the people on the team know what is expected of them and equally important what is expected of their teammates. If you were a member of the team and know what is expected of each other and for whatever reason others do not perform but still play what would you think? I also do not think that a competitive player as hopefully all of the team are would want to be coddled.

    How many times have we heard people say after they are done playing that their coach was hard on them and challenged them but that in the end it made them better players and better people.

  • @wrwlumpy We’re actually still a 2 seed on Lunardi’s bracket right now. Jerry “Rosey” Palms has us as a 1 seed on CBS. Speaking of cupcakes, look at Lunardi’s projected West Region, with Dook having the easiest path of any team known to man. It’s a freaking conspiracy, I tell ya. One day, the truth will come out how they stack the deck in Dook’s favor.

  • @sfbahawk I’m sorry. I can’t resist. Is there one highlight of Lucas making a back to the basket play where he actually scores?

  • @jayhawk-007

    K.I.S.S. Principle–long bench first game of 3 in 6.

    Modified KISS–add Lucas played well and was a good matchup for Russian Karviar Shepherd.

    Double Modified KISS–add “play OADs least, because of their sickness and injury.”

    Svengali KISS–add “reduce minutes to motivate for KSU and ISU and wake up Cliff to FT block out goof…”

    Zimmerman Not Coming KISS–add “develop Landen as much as possible because Cliff is jumping and Zimmerman isn’t signing, nor is any other big.”

    Self Getting Early On-Set Alzheimer’s KISS–add “Bill just forgets who he has on the bench sometimes.”


  • @joeloveshawks

    No, that comes next season. 😸

  • @jaybate-1.0 That business about Zimmerman or no other big signing with the Jayhawks, I find it difficult to analyze or explain. I suppose it is just too early; big kids in such demand that they are waiting to see how lineups shake out, come spring. But, hey, with Jayhawks to represent USA in summertime World University Games? Just imagine the exposure. What’s the holdup for the likes of Zimmerman et. al.?

  • @jaybate-1.0 I did not think of that angle. Nice approach.

  • @sfbahawk

    “When players don’t perform according to his metrics they sit. He does this with all players.”

    I’m not sure it is that robotic. I think there are other factors.

    Wayne is a good example of that. Wayne hasn’t played near up to snuff this year in almost every category, yet he still receives a big share of minutes. I think Self feels like he’s making an investment. It is hope that Wayne comes through later in the year and definitely in March.

    This idea will be completely tested when we go to Morgantown. If I was coaching that game I’d prepare Devonte ahead of time and tell him this is his shining moment. We need him to work closely with Frank ahead of this game and he will start. If we expect to have a prayer of winning that game, we need a strategy, and that strategy should be putting the ball skills and basketball IQ of Devonte in the starting rotation, perhaps just for that game.

    This gives Devonte time to not only work on beating the press, but also getting totally pumped up for this challenge. He is the guy that can beat WVU, almost single-handed, by beating the press and creating easy baskets in the process.

    Devonte having a great game here and clearly helping us secure a victory just adds more motivation for Wayne to step up after that. Devonte has a great attitude, and he just wants to help his team. He won’t get all ruffled if he has to slide back in the rotation after this game.

    If we don’t see this… we see Self back to being stubborn and “not changing who we are for an opponent.” You would never ever ever hear that from a NBA coach. Their game is about changing who they are to give the best shot at beating each team. They often recruit a player in just to have a good match up against one of the better teams in their division.

  • Coach started using the 8 on five full court press drill when Mike Anderson was at Mizzou. Huggy’s press will be scouted and I hope we get a lot of dunks because of our breaking it. However, WVU also has the best Point guard in the Big 12 and he will rack up a lot of fouls on who ever guards him. Start stop start stop, so you give him space and he’ll shoot a jumper. We just got Bragg, so let’s get a point guard like Staten. Cliff looks like he might be back next year.

  • @wrwlumpy I think we already have our guard like Staten and by his Senior year everyone else will see it too. What is the difference between Frank and Staten? Staten has some better decision making maybe, he is a better scorer. Frank will never score as much as Staten because he won’t be asked to, but by his Junior/Senior year he will be every bit as good of a scorer. He’s already our rock as a sophomore playing ridiculous minutes. I agree we should go get another guard for the future but Frank is and will be our point guard until he graduates.

    On Cliff, I still wonder about his conditioning. He is very fast as many have pointed out and has done well in the games where he has had more minutes but when you look at him at the end of those big minute games, he is really huffing. He is a big boy and it may just not be feasible for him to play 27 or more minutes a game. I do think he should play more but not 35 a game for sure. Frank can barely do that and he is a lean mean fighting machine.

    When considering why Selden seems to get “a pass” while Cliff and Kelly have had to earn their minutes might have something to do with motivation. It is easier to motivate beginners with positive feedback. Put them in situations where they can be successful and succeed and then praise them for it. Selden did not get this treatment last year simply because there was no other option. Now that he is more seasoned, he is more likely to be motivated by negative feedback. Let him make mistakes and present criticism so he can know what to work on to reach his goal. This is a delicate balance that Self plays with each and every player. When are they ready to receive the harsh criticism that will motivate them to get better? When do they need the positive interactions to help build their commitment to the pursuit of the goals laid out for them?

  • @benshawks08

    It has been great having you post regularly in here. Very good content!

    Self did give them some compliments after Texas. And other times he gives criticism. So he is a coach that mixes in both sides.

    I have a hard time understanding why he can’t get his guys motivated for every game. He seems to be doing the right things. Maybe it’s who he recruits? I don’t even pretend to understand what is going on with that.

    Some guys just have great motors. It didn’t take much to get Kevin Young or TRob to spend a bunch of energy. Those guys were only equipped with “on” and “off.”

    I’m kind of starting to wonder if motivation is something hardwired into people. And maybe it will always be a battle for some of these guys to stay motivated. Gosh… being a star basketball player soon to have the potential to make millions sounds like plenty of carrot on the stick!

    I’m motivated just by having another human being standing across from me ready to challenge. That’s all I need to run until I drop.

  • @drgnslayr I’m the same way. But I deal with kids everyday who just aren’t. There are all types of people in this world. As I teacher it is my job to try to figure out what makes each one tick and it is different for almost every kid. Even then it changes. Motivation is a very tough thing to unlock. It takes deep understanding of an individual, of a group, and of yourself to truly be successful in motivating others. That’s why the movie “Whiplash” grabbed me. This guy, who is the exact opposite of a good teacher (to me) is able in his own way to motivate this young man to greatness. I know you take issue with Self’s ability to motivate. I think he is better than most. And I prefer his method to WSU’s “play angry” which I know you like. Angry is only one way to be motivated, and I would argue one of the least productive.

  • @benshawks08

    Once again… great post!

    You seem to have a lot more experience with this issue in a broader context.

    I’m guessing people react most to what they are used to. I was brought up with strict discipline and experienced my fair share of the “end of a stick” kind of discipline.

    I’m a very competitive person, but only when I see something as being a competition. In other areas of my life I’m very relaxed and not trying to outperform people on everything. Sports… I’m all in! Driving a fancy car? Naaaa… I’m thrilled that my friends drive nicer cars, some even into the classics. I think it is great that I can experience what they like with them, and not turn it into a competition!

  • This is probably why we see so many inner city low-income types on our team. We get so many stories about the struggles these young men have endured to get to this point. Self seems to have a way with the Jamari, Darnell Jackson, Chicago, big city, types of players. That could also explain the difficulty we saw last year with a team that just wasn’t that way. Not that Wiggins and Embiid are less motivated than others, maybe just that Self had a harder time identifying how to push their buttons.

  • @drgnslayr Also, thanks for the encouragement. Praise has always been what motivates me!

  • @jaybate-1.0 OH, I definitely assume there is something illegal going on. But, I kind of like conspiracy theory anyways. 😉

  • @jayhawk-007 said:

    on average: minutes per game - .18:39 ; points - 8.6 ; rebounds 5.9 ; he is also leading the team in blocks. Simply put, he is far and away our best low post player and rebounder and scorer and athlete.

    You do the math: what would his numbers be with 5 more min per game, or with 10 more min per game?

    Didn’t see if anyone had covered this; I only browsed through all the posts and it didn’t look like it. You can’t simply project out a player’s stats by saying “if he played twice as many minutes, he’d get twice as many rebounds” or looking at his per minute stats and then extrapolating them out to X amount of minutes/game. Call it the law of diminishing returns. It’s an economic term but in short, there is a point in which increasing Cliff’s minutes will yield decreased productivity. That point likely occurs sooner for a freshman that has not undergone an off-season of Hudyization.

    We have to remember that Cliff is just a freshman, and elite D1 ball is rough on freshman, particularly post players. They go from playing as high school seniors against kids 14-18 (and a lot of the times against significanly shorter and smaller bodied kids), to playing as college freshman against men 18-22. In practices as well as games.

    If you don’t like the winning the war versus winning the battle analogy, just consider looking at it big picture. There are multiple reasons to manage Cliff’s minutes, and the biggest one ties into what I’ve been talking about. He’s a freshman, and there’s not only a point of diminishing returns within the individual games, but there’s also a cumulative point where he will wear down and not be as effective later in the season. It is quite possible that Self is saving Cliff so that he is still fresh late in the season.

    This is to say nothing of the injury factor. Last season we had much of our hopes pinned on JoJo, just to watch him suffer one injury that led to another, likely dashing our title hopes. Maybe coach is trying to limit the wear and tear on the Big Red Dog to ensure his presence in the dance.

    And one last thing to consider on this point is that we are in a stretch of playing 3 games in 6 days. Pretty sure this has been mentioned by others, if not on this thread than on the TCU thread. Again, strategy. Big picture. Self steals a game against TCU - the weakest of the 3 opponents - without taxing Cliff with heavy minutes. Self also knows the ISU game is the most important since they already have a win against us, and that is the last of the 3 games. So perhaps taking steps to ensure we have some fresh legs for that game is more prudent than having Cliff pad his stats against TCU.

    I get the idea of letting players improve with game minutes, but let’s not kid ourselves that this is the only way players improve. Especially with freshman. Kelly Oubre anyone? He rode the pine a lot early, until it clicked. Until he was able to do enough things sufficiently that he could be trusted on the court to just go play. You ask “what does it mean, ‘his motor was not very good?’” Well Self explained that in the days following the ISU loss. It doesn’t mean that he wasn’t trying hard. It means that he is thinking too much (as opposed to just playing), thus slowing him down. Kelly reached the point where the game slowed down for him by playing less minutes and learning in practice, so this could very well be another of Self’s reasoning for playing Cliff less minutes.

    Another thing I’d disagree with is the statement “We do not have the luxury of bringing him along gradually.” Quite the contrary, we very much have that luxury. Aside from Texas, the Big 12 is not full of big, bruising front lines. And Self already has a win in his pocket against the Longhorns in Austin. He can get by in most of the other games with Jamari, Landon, & Hunter, all the while playing Cliff the amount he deems is necessary for both his development and long-term viability.

    I’m not debating that Cliff is our best rebounder. Our most legit low-post presence. I’ve discussed many times that Cliff is the only player that can be paired with Perry to make him better, which in my opinion may very well be the key to the entire season. But this is anything but a poor coaching decision. It is a very measured strategy to not only win another conference championship but also to, as you put it, be a contender in the post season.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    This is a list of Cal’s players at Memphis that went to the NBA:

    • Dajuan Wagner (6th, 2002 NBA Draft)
    • Earl Barron (Undrafted, 2003 NBA Draft)
    • Antonio Burks (36th, 2004 NBA Draft)
    • Shawne Williams (17th, 2006 NBA Draft)
    • Rodney Carney (16th, 2006 NBA Draft)
    • Darius Washington, Jr. (Undrafted, 2006)
    • Derrick Rose (1st, 2008 NBA Draft)
    • Joey Dorsey (33rd, 2008 NBA Draft)
    • Chris Douglas-Roberts (40th, 2008 NBA Draft)
    • Tyreke Evans (4th, 2009 NBA Draft)
    • Robert Dozier (60th, 2009 NBA Draft)

    He has been recruiting good players all along, even at semi-mid-major Memphis. At UK, arguably the biggest/richest/sleaziest college basketball program, he has just taken recruiting to a new level.

  • Very good comments - I appreciate the thoughts and will reconsider my criticism of Coach’s decision for Cliff’s playing time vs bench time. However…

    I still think he needs to play more minutes if his body can hold up (not 30-35 but maybe 20-25). And I still think he will learn more and improve more by playing than sitting. And yes, he is the key to the season and yes he does make Perry better.

    The Big Red Dog has had a few plays this year where I literally jumped out of my chair (and almost spilled my beer_, especially rebounding with one hand high above the crowd and of course “the dunk” (followed by the flex, followed by the T, followed by the bench).

    There is clearly benefit in resting Cliff for the long haul and getting Landen and Hunter into the game.

    Rock Chalk beat K0State Hawks!

  • @jayhawk-007 I get it. I want to see him out there more too, especially when watching how ineffective our post play has been with other players garnering significant chunks of minutes.

    But to me it’s like you said: it’s obvious. It’s obvious to everyone. It’s so painfully obvious that Cliff is head and shoulders better than the other options. This is unlike almost every other discussion we’ve had on these boards (and the other boards) where we debate the merits of one player’s minutes versus others (Brady vs. EJ/Releford, Oubre vs. Svi. vs. Greene vs. Selden vs. Graham, etc.). There’s really not a debate about who is better and who makes the team better. It’s obvious. And I can’t fathom that it’s not obvious to coach Self as well. But I can understand the reasons.

    I have one other theory, a conspiracy theory, and while I don’t believe it, it has crossed my mind. It’s a very long-term, big picture approach. It goes like this: Self has come to two realizations: 1) his own team does not have the sufficient talent inside to compete for a national championship this season, especially when considering the other realization. 2) Kentucky is just too loaded. Reinforcements are coming in the post next year, with at least Bragg and possibly others. He probably will still have enough pieces on the perimeter, even in a worst case scenario of losing 2-3 players to the draft, transfers, etc. Given this epiphany, Self has decided to sandbag Cliff’s draft stock to ensure he comes back next year. Cliff will be much better next year, with a year to learn and to get Hudy-ized. So Self is making his play for next year by holding Cliff back just enough to make him seriously consider another year of college development.

    Of course I don’t think Self would intentionally do that. And Cliff might be coming back regardless of any conspiracy theory. And that is probably in his best interest. But in the dark corners of my mind when I see Lucas playing 24 minutes, I at least briefly consider (again, before immediately dismissing) if Self could really be that shrewd and calculating.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Thanks for posting the list of players. That looks quite reasonable for recruiting in those days, even for these days at some non stack schools. Mostly 1 or 2 draft choices per season, and then the one year of three, the same year Self had Rush, Chalmers, Arthur, Jackson and Kaun, though Kaun elected to go to play in Russia.

    But Rose seems the only OAD on Cal’s list. Or was Evans, also?

    How many of Cal’s draft choices were OADs and TADs? Rose seems like it by my count.

    If so, the ratios I set up for Cal and Self seem supported.

    Very interesting.

    Thanks for the assist.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Self Getting Early On-Set Alzheimer’s KISS–add “Bill just forgets who he has on the bench sometimes.”

    This comment made me laugh out loud…it does happen even to the best coaches in the heat of the battle.

    @ icthawkfan

    If there is any criticism about the coaching decision not to play Cliff more, it is not a conspiracy. But it could be stubbornness, and if Coach does not get his way with a player, then he could take the ball out of Cliff’s hands and go home and pout.

    I have seen this attitude in our Head Coach before but it is usually (always?) early in the season. There is value to teaching the young hot shots a lesson about playing good D, blocking out, not turning the ball over, listening to the scouting report, etc.

    But this is something different, especially in the ISU game where we lost and could have won and the TCU game where we won but could have lost. Not having the Big Red Dog play more minutes was confusing to me. He is a really good player - by far our best low post option - and needs more court time to learn to play his game (all aspects of it) and develop chemistry with his teammates. No tanking this season! Another conf title and a final four is our expectation for this team!!!

    Let’s wait and see how many minutes, on average Alexander the Great gets going forward and how the next two months play out…and let’s watch for his conditioning and overall health. I agree the wear and tear esp for the bigs in their first year has to be absolutely brutal. Cliff makes our team so much better when he is on the court, even with an “average motor”…

  • @jayhawk-007 Just to clarify, I was in no way saying that criticizing or questioning Self’s coaching decisions equals a conspiracy. I was just likening my final theory to one of a conspiracy theory.

    One of the many things I like about these boards is that we do question, examine, and criticize his decisions. If we didn’t, it would be a board of cheerleaders. Not that there’s anything wrong with heaping praise on the guy; he’s very successful and has done a great job overall in my opinion. But we dig deep into the minute details and find things we disagree with or would like to see done differently. Which leads me to the another thing I really like about the group commenting on these boards - we criticize and disagree with coach Self and aren’t met with a bunch of “do you know more than coach Self?” rhetoric.

    So I definitely applaud you finding something you’d do differently and expressing it. You’re right - no conspiracy here 🙂

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Glad to be of help. Keep in mind that recruiting at Memphis vs Kentucky is like trying to pick up a girl with Chevy vs a Ferrari. 🙂

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Don’t forget the explanation we used to hear about why Cal at Memphis could beat Self at KU out for some of the same guys at Memphis. My favorite was: U of Memphis had more African American women students and Memphis had more African Americans in town. I still shake my head every time I recall those rationalizations. 🙂

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