Where are the Big Red Dog's Minutes?

  • Guys (and gals),

    Where are the Big Red Dog’s minutes??? I hate to beat a dead horse, but WHY is Cliff on the bench and Jamari getting all the minutes? Why is Landon getting almost as many minutes as Cliff? Get our best post player in the game, Coach!

    I wrote about this extensively a couple of weeks ago. We have now seen more of the same and it just does not make sense. Cliff needs 20-25 min EACH and EVERY game for us to win the game in question and improve in the process for end of season chemistry.

    What’s up? In my humble opinion, this is yet another game where more minutes would translate into a better chance to play well, win and not let the other team get so many second shots late…PLAY CLIFF MORE MINUTES!!!

  • Normally I am a Jamari fan but he played like sh*t most the game. TURNOVER city.

  • jayhawk 007 - I watched Cliff go 4/5 inside and play 14 minutes. He’s just flat better than Traylor.

    But more importantly – assuming we don’t play small or go all in on the four in, one out – we aren’t winning a national championship with Jamari Traylor playing more minutes than Cliff Alexander. It just isn’t happening.

  • I think Self is just trying to get Cliff to play harder, all the time. It’s a teaching thing. Clifford does dog it sometimes, and Jamari gets rewarded for his effort. Self is hoping that Cliff will get the message by tournament time. At least, that’s my interpretation.

  • We went through this with a young Perry Ellis. Remember how fast he got the hook as a freshman?

    I think Self knows best on this one. Cliff just hasn’t stepped up yet. He has basically fallen off the national radar. Remember just 6 months ago when he was considered head-to-head with Okafor? Man… those guys aren’t even on the same planet now! I don’t think Cliff getting more minutes was going to solve that. He just isn’t playing hard.

    This is a team. A definite team philosophy. These guys don’t play as individuals. And to some degree that is good and some degree that is bad. I know we like all the assists and these guys gelling as friends. It’s one big family. That’s the positive.

    But on the negative… it only takes a bad apple or two to spoil the team concept. Their energy is one! So if someone like Perry doesn’t show up, why will a young freshman Cliff show up?

    This is really a time when we need a leader. The guys sort of superimposed Frank as the leader, but he really isn’t the guy. Frank just proved that he is somewhat bulletproof and will fight if others do or not. That isn’t leadership.

    It would make a huge difference if Perry could stay stepped up on his play, and also be more vocal. I know we are all doubtful this will happen… maybe Wayne will do it. He is starting to get his game back.

    Who will lead this team? That’s what we need to know.

  • @drgnslayr I have to agree with much of what you wrote. Yesterday, however, since we were playing OSU I thought more to compare Cliff with Nash. Not from the style of play or their attitude but because of the initial hype they had coming in. After all that I heard about this great player for OSU I was way under impressed with him as a freshman and sophomore.

    He has gotten much better but he is still not the player that people thought he would be. He has occasional flashes of great play mixed with some not so good. Cliff plays similarly. He grabs a great rebound and then fails to block out. He makes a resounding dunk and then fails to close out on a shooter. He had a really good jump hook in the first half but he has not yet learned to play every play. I think much of that is having to play against people who he cannot dominate like he did in high school.

    It’s not that he doesn’t want to play well but his skill set and consistency are not yet they should be. Jamari played poorly yesterday. Self alluded to that in the post game when he indicated that Jamari didn’t bring the energy that was expected of him. However, he is still more consistent than Cliff over the course of a game.

  • Is Self doing Alexander a favor by limiting his playing time? Did Self promise Alexander limited minutes when he recruited him? Is Self denying Alexander the ability to develop as a player and play through his mistakes? Is Self treating Alexander the same as he treated Wiggins? Is Self trying to hold on to Alexander for more than one year? I am not sure of the answer to any of these questions, yet.

  • @HighEliteMajor I think the probability of winning a NC this year is extremely small anyway. A loss to anyone this year really isn’t much of a surprise. But if Traylor and Lucas continue to get as many minutes as they have recently, it would be surprising if they get past the first weekend.

  • @tundrahok I think your theory about Self sending a message and hoping that Cliff gets it by tournament time is a good one.

  • @Hawk8086 I think that’s the answer to Jesse’s article being discussed in another thread. Cliff’s upside could be so much higher if he’d just get after it all the time the way Jamari does.

  • @jayhawk-007

    If I were Self and Cliff were going to jump, and I had Perry, Traylor and Lucas returning, plus Bragg committed, but all the other OAD bigs possible but not probable, I think I would just play Cliff about half time, and develop Traylor and Lucas as much as possible for next season. If Cliff were to commit to next season, he would be playing 30 mpg. But the harsh reality of this OAD stuff is that OADs are using coaches and coaches have to use OADs. I just don’t see anyway around it. Self has no choice but to deal in what appears to be the current system: adidas apparently cannot deliver OAD stacks the way Nike appears to be able to do. So: since he is not really in the running for most of the OADs bigs, he has no choice but to work with what he has. Who he has right now now are Ellis, Traylor and Lucas now and next year. He has Cliff now. Cliff is more productive, but if Self can use Cliff for 15 mpg to subsidize the development of Traylor and Lucas, he pretty much has to do it. We know that there is a way to use Cliff to make this team net better. It is not b2b. and it is not attacking from outside on the dribble. It is running him end to end and beating the opposing team’s bigs for a few open seconds on each end. If he keeps Cliff fresh Cliff can do that at the end of the season AND Self can develop Traylor and Lucas for next year. For Self to do more with Cliff he would have to develop Cliff a bunch this season without a payoff next season. It is hard, but it adds up to me. Self owes a player nothing that isn’t coming back. And what was Cliff’s alternative? He was going to go to UK and play half time as a backup, too. For all we know, it was part of the deal of Cliff coming to KU that he would only play 15-20 mpg, same as it was apparently part of the deal for the OADs going to UK. It increasingly appears that OADs don’t WANT to play 30-35 mpg their first seasons and leave it all on the floor. Injury risk is not something they want to take what with a certain pay check in less than 6 months, if uninjured. The only question in my mind about Cliff, however, is injury, or sickness. Every time they show close ups of him, his eyes look puffy and his skin color looks a bit odd. But the possibility of injury and/or sickness seems low probability. The more likely dynamic is Oubre has committed to coming back and Cliff has not. Oubre is worth developing and Cliff is not, or so it would appear. Once Bragg signed, unless Cliff were to commit to another year, what Cliff can give you without further development over the next two months (and he probably can’t improve much over the next two months), he can give you whether you develop Traylor, and Lucas, with 20 of his minutes, or not. The productivity numbers indicate that Cliff would be playing if other things were equal. But as I have laid out above, other things are not equal. Self has gotten the team to 19-4 and in the lead of the conference, developing Lucas and Traylor and playing Cliff sparingly. To Self everything is increasingly about concentrating on winning, not on other things. If you can win with Cliff only playing 15-20 mpg and develop Lucas and Traylor for next year, you would be a damned fool not to do it, when you’ve got Bragg committed to replace Cliff. KU might have beaten OSU yesterday with Cliff playing 30 mpg, or Cliff might have gotten fouled up, or made more TOs than Traylor under pressure. We won’t ever know that counter-factual. But what we do know is that KU had an off game, that it lost by only 5, that its still in first place, and that Traylor and Lucas got a bunch more PT and they both sure as hell need it, with Perry coming up soft again, Cliff apparently leaving and Bragg and other newbies probably needing half a season to get their acts together.

    My guess is we will see Cliff’s minutes go up sharply whenever KU’s lead in the conference standings shrinks appreciably, as it just did, and shrink sharply when that lead increases. Just as Self spends leads in the scores of games to shorten the games, I believe he now spends conference leads with increasing player development minutes. You only need to win a game by one point. You only need to win a conference title by a half a game. Next season always has to be prepared for, as surely as this season has to be played.

  • Jamari and Landon are good players and wonderful teammates. But Cliff makes our team so much better in rebounding, rim protecting and offense in the low post.

    Cliff’s numbers in points and rebounds per game are considerably better on average than Jamari’s, and yet Jamari continues to receive more than two min per game more court time.


    Cliff’s on the ball D is not very good and he is sometimes out of position and his foot work is average at best but he is not dogging it. Even an average Cliff is a better option in each game going forward and certainly as we look to peak in March.

    I think Coach is a master of player development but his rotations this year have not been as stellar as year’s past. One thing is certain, The Big Red Dog needs more minutes NOW!

Log in to reply