This Is Horrifying

  • I just wanted to make sure that everyone saw this great article by @Jesse-Newell.

    It is astonishing how infatuated Bill Self is with Jamari Traylor while seemingly shunning Cliff Alexander for some unknown reason. It’s getting to the point where it is a detriment (along with many others) to this team reaching its ceiling.

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    Note that the categories that Traylor dominates are steals and assists.

    Interesting pair: Assists are about your ability to impact the rest of the team. Steals are super valuable because they benefit defense and offense (end a possession and create an opportunity to score).

    Given that Alexander dominates every other category, it’s probably not an excuse to hold him back, but that may be a part of it.

    My prediction is that he starts next game.

    Regardless of who starts, this team needs BOTH to play well in order to go deep in March. You can’t get to the promiseland with a backup who is dramatically weaker than the starter (or vice versa).

  • @MoonwalkMafia Thanks for posting. Further evidence of what most of us have been saying.

  • @bskeet I’m guessing that Cliff does not start as Self is hesitant to make such moves. I think he should…but I don’t think he will. But, we would hope that, given Jamari’s issues lately, Cliff plays more minutes than he has been.

  • I think the point is the difference between the two should be even greater! Cliff’s upside is huge. He really has the potential to be a difference maker. But he has to go at it, hard, all the time. Self is trying to encourage that effort through the only means he has, by rewarding effort with playing time and sitting players when they don’t give it their all. Sure Cliff’s numbers are better. But they should be WAY better, and I suspect that is the explanation for Jesse’s observation.

  • @tundrahok There’s no denying the energy JamTray brings. One would think that would be brought to Cliff’s attention as a carrot for more PT. Does Cliff think that his stats speak for themselves and not requiring more energy? Unfortunately we don’t have access to the inner workings of his mind.

  • @bskeet Thanks for posting the charts.

  • @tundrahok I don’t buy that one single bit.

    From the article, “Self is right in saying Alexander isn’t perfect. He’s not great scoring with his back to the basket. He sometimes messes up plays. He can get lost defensively. From a big-picture perspective, though, all that shouldn’t matter. KU has been a better team when Alexander is on the court, especially when he is in there alongside Perry Ellis. It’s time for Self to give his freshman big a longer leash — both for his team now and also to help its potential ceiling in postseason play.”

    Clearly, the entire point of the article is pondering why has Cliff not played more. In yesterday’s game, “In the first half, Traylor played 13 minutes had four points on 1-for-4 shooting with five rebounds and three turnovers in 13 minutes. Alexander, meanwhile, had eight points on 4-for-4 shooting with four rebounds and one turnover in 12 minutes. Alexander, clearly, was KU’s better player in the first half as the Jayhawks built an 11-point lead. In the second half, Self played Traylor 10 minutes and Alexander four. Traylor also was in during the game’s most important minutes, surrendering a turnover — his sixth of the game — that turned into an Anthony Hickey layup and doubled OSU’s lead from two to four with 2:32 left.”

    Jamari’s play cost us dearly; and while I don’t want to throw that loss on him, it’s hard not to put it on Jamari’s for the turnovers, and Self for letting him do so. This is not that hard. You put your best players on the floor. Cliff is young. He needs to play through adversity. I won’t argue that Cliff has had some low points, but I’m also not willing to surrender offensive capability with the game on the line for intermittent “energy” and perpetual turnovers from Jamari Traylor. Like I pointed out yesterday, if having a motor is of such vital importance, what do you call a bounce pass while running the weave? That was hard to watch. Also, you don’t feed the post with a bounce pass from the top of the key.

    This whole “energy” thing is the definition of a red herring. I saw Traylor’s hustle plays. I’m aware of what they mean and what they say about Traylor. But they mean very little in the grand scheme of things. They’re important in that instance, but when you look at the stat line from a game (like the one against UT) and Traylor has 2 points and 3 rebounds with 3 turnovers, I just don’t wanna hear it. Those kind of plays are great and characteristic of a six man. That’s what Traylor is. I just can’t help but think of how much better this team would be if Cliff and Traylor’s roles were flipped.

  • @MoonwalkMafia I’m just speculating on the reason for the disparity in playing time Jesse pointed out, given the relative productivity of the 2 players. I’m not making an argument for what should be.

    Self appears to value hustle, and seems more forgiving of errors when they are accompanied by great effort on a consistent basis. On the year Jamari has seemed a lot more consistent with his hustle than Cliff, who of course is a freshman and is still figuring it out.

  • @tundrahok I understand. And it is what it is. This is nothing new, because you’re right. Self does value hustle. But hustle, obviously in this case, does not equal production. And when you’re willing to swallow six bad turnovers for “hustle,” something is critically wrong with your (Self’s) philosophy.

  • @MoonwalkMafia I wouldn’t argue with you there. Then again, I wouldn’t argue with our pretty successful coach either. I could imagine our buddy @jaybate-1.0 suggesting Self may have purposely sacrificed this one game by playing Jamari over Cliff for the long-term benefits of Cliff getting it figured out by tournament time. But what do I know???

  • Good comments - the Big Red Dog needs more minutes, period.

    We cannot win at a higher level against better competition with Cliff playing 15-20 min per game. He needs to be on the court 20-25 min per game, maybe more, and it is too late in the season to be explained away with the “teaching him a lesson about effort and hustle” argument. Besides, Cliff has a good attitude and does hustle. He plays hard and is a good teammate.

    Truth be told, Coach Self is stubborn and a little pig-headed. Once he is convinced of something, he will run full speed into a wall rather than re-think it (examples: his continued belief that the hi-lo offense is the best option, two point shots are better than threes, feed the post systematically, etc.). We love our head coach but his court time/pine time use of Cliff is baffling as are the rotation minutes in several games this year. What’s up? (Svi should see some court time, for example…)

    Another example: surely we can break a press and attack with numbers 2-1 or 3-2 instead of pulling it back out and setting up our offense and running our standard plays. This was the good solution with inferior 3-5 year players back at ORU and Tulsa (his baseline for coaching philosophy).

    This is not the solution with OAD and TAD who do not have time to learn the system and therefore do not see the court b/c they have not yet mastered Coach’s system, even if they are our best options. They do not yet understand the intricacies of the system but they are better players (even sometimes out of position on both ends of the court).

    This is also why Jamari is playing more than Cliff: he knows the system better. He is not more consistent nor a better player nor a difference-maker like Cliff. But he does know Coach’s system better.

    Coach: this is not about you and your system! We love you and respect you, but you are right: we coached them poorly on Saturday. Re-think your rotations, sir!

    Coach has had some movement this year - by the force of the obvious (remember UK game?) - but still not enough flexibility in his core philosophy “you do it my way and only my way and always my way or you will not play”. We are shooting a few more threes, early in the shot clock, and penetrating more rather than pass around the perimeter inside=out.

    But Coach needs to adjust more and play his best playersbolded text. Teaching time is over - time to play and get ready for post season!

  • PS Glad to see a member of the KU press finally call this out - bravo Jesse!

    This issue of Cliff’s limited playing time was a little obvious a month ago, obvious two weeks ago and blatantly obvious today.

    This is not b/c of the loss to OSU or ISU or Temple, same thing in several games which we could have lost as well.

    Coach: play the Big Red Dog more minutes!!!

  • Coach Self needs to adhere to the Papa John’s philosophy - Better Players = Better Basketball.

    Starting Jamari at the beginning of the season was probably prudent as Cliff got acclimated to college ball. However, Cliff is the better player, so he should be playing more, whether he is starting or not at this point. If you are giving Jam Tray more minutes than Cliff at this point, you’re literally costing yourself points.

    Right now, our best six players are Mason, Selden, Oubre, Greene, Ellis and Alexander. Those six should be playing 75% of the minutes. Graham needs to get more minutes just to take some of the load off Frank. Traylor should be our third big because he’s so active.

    I’d say 20 minutes each for Graham and Traylor, with the other six splitting up the remaining 160 minutes (25-30 each). That’s the ideal rotation right now, with maybe Svi or Lucas grabbing 5-10 minutes here and there.

  • There are so many factors involved when parsing PT minutes. Many of the factors none of us see, like what happens in practice.

    I’ve defended Self on this but I’ve ran out of rope.

    Usually by this time in the season Self has shaken down his team minutes and pretty much sticks to them because he knows he needs to develop that chemistry for the all-important final games of the year. If you consider that, then he doesn’t have Cliff as a player who will potentially make key contributions in March. It is hard to imagine this team doing anything in March without Cliff being a factor. Yes, he does have his weaknesses… but sometimes players need to play through those to improve.

    This is vintage Self. Putting a fast hook on a freshman for philosophical reasons. This gets to what I’ve been saying for weeks now… the main difference between NBA and college coaches. NBA coaches are only about winning. College coaches are about winning, but from within their philosophical context. Self is as much a teacher as he is a coach. This is why I’m certain he would never make a great NBA coach. I say that but Coach Pop is in this camp, too. So maybe I’m wrong!

    Right now, he is not putting his best players on the floor because he is teaching his philosophy. At the heart of his philosophy is the “Self doctrine”… defense… defense… defense…

    Cliff doesn’t get his minutes because he misses defensive switches. He is a long ways from understanding team defense. He just isn’t getting it yet. And this is the area where he could (defensively) really help his team out. He should be getting a respectable amount of blocked shots. But he doesn’t because he is 8 feet away from his man who is scoring the easy dunk. This drives Self into a frenzy. At the very heart of good defense is the team concept that the defense is no stronger than the weakest link. Cliff is often exposed as the weakest link. And that costs us not only a few points, but it is part of what is weakening this team’s spirit and strengthening our opponent’s spirit. Giving up the easy basket is just not in Self’s DNA.

    Okay… we get all of that, and it appears, we get it better than Cliff. But at what point are you willing to continue to throw the entire team under the bus to prove a point? Cliff isn’t getting it. Maybe it’s time his teammates help him get it. Maybe he needs every player on this team to teach him, too, and not just the coaches.

    Stats do not tell the only story. BamBam earned minutes because he is focused on what Self is looking for… hustle. And when BamBam makes plays like he did in Austin, the entire team feeds on that. But where has BamBam been lately? His energy is the only part of the game he owns over Cliff. Now it is time to look at the stats. The weight is all on Cliff’s side. BamBam better create a lot of big momentum-changing energy plays a game to match that. He isn’t doing it. Worse… BamBam is supposed to be energizing his teammates… but does having 6 TOs succeed at that?

    So even without considering what is ahead of us, Cliff should be getting most of the minutes.

    Now let’s consider March. Let’s consider what happens when the bright lights go on, and the competition is tough and motivated. What guy do we want on the floor? Right now… it is about a tie. Why? Because Cliff isn’t getting enough minutes to establish his game. He still doesn’t have an identity. He isn’t being prepped for March.

    Cliff needs to be on the floor as much as possible between now and March. If he isn’t in shape, then getting more game minutes will definitely help that out.

    Is Cliff learning too slowly? Maybe. But after our bad loss at Ames, when our guys gave up 20+ points in the open court, which guy on this team did I notice running back hard after every offensive possession? Cliff!

  • @drgnslayr said: " Because Cliff isn’t getting enough minutes to establish his game. He still doesn’t have an identity. He isn’t being prepped for March."

    Reminds me a lot of Perry his freshman year. He would show signs of brilliance. Even in the Michigan game, he tore them up on the post toward the end of the game. But Self had his rotation set and took him out the final minutes and we all know how that played out. I would like to think that Self develops each player differently on what they need. The quick hook obviously isn’t helping Cliff. We need to keep him in there and let him work through it.

  • I just wish Cliff would take advantage when he’s out there, he plays hard, he stays in! I hope Cliff wants more minutes as much as we want him to have more!

  • @JhawkAlum

    “We need to keep him in there and let him work through it.”


    And here is a completely different consideration.

    I mentioned Cliff not forming his identity yet… what about the team? Our team still lacks identity. We need Cliff out there as part of the team to help form identity. If we change this later it just gets tougher and tougher.

    Starting isn’t even good for BamBam. He has his identity… as “the energy guy.” That isn’t a role for a starter. That is a role of the 6th man.

    Look how the 6th man role has worked for Brannen. I’m definitely on board for Brannen getting more minutes. But I like how he comes off the bench for those minutes. He’s a spark plug for this team. BamBam needs that same role. Right now he is carrying the starting burden on his shoulders. He could do better by starting the game on the sidelines. Watch things and know he will go in to provide energy.

    Having guys figure out their best role is how teams find identity!

  • Let’s be sure to understand that many of Cliff’s supposed failings are failings by Jamari, as well – and Jamari doesn’t produce numbers.

    I’ve seen Jamari loaf, I’ve seen him get lost. I"ve seen him get scorched on D. I’ve seen him literally not even jump to go after rebounds.

    To help prove his pedestrian value, most folks would say that a guy playing his minutes, that doesn’t fill the stat sheet, is a glue guy. Never hear that with him. Because he doesn’t hold anything together.

    Look at his atrocious rebounding numbers. Rebounding is in large part about effort. Jamari’s rebounding numbers prove that his supposed “hustle” is a myth.

    What I mean is that Jamari shows bursts that catch the highlights. The terrific dive on the floor. But on the normal play, he gets beat regularly. There was one that stuck out to me where the shot went up from the top of the key, he was guarding the shooter. He drifted in, didn’t block out, and didn’t attack the rebound. Just stood there … a minor example.

    His role should be, at best, first big off the bench on a team like Kansas. The truth is, but for the lack of quality depth, the 4th big is the better role.

    I’ve defended Traylor with the statement that he is playing exactly to his ranking (non-ranking). And he is. He is just miscast in his role. Not his fault. He will have some peaks that make us smile, but his normal performance is below average and hurts this team with the number of minutes he plays.

    @Jesse-Newell’s article is right on point.

    Quick addition to my post - Traylor is rebounding the ball at an astonishingly low rate of .188 per minute played. I can’t remember a lower rate for any big at Kansas that got some consistent playing time. I take that back … Justin Wesley. That should give it some context.

  • Exactly - Coach complains about soft rebounding while keeping his best rebounder - by far - on the pine. Filling up the stat sheet is good!

    Now the million dollar question: is this the mad genius at work? or simply poor coaching decisions? Our coach is one of the very best, but he is not infallible.

    PS Making threes is good! This is ALSO good play, not just fool’s gold.

  • I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but I think Self will not give Cliff playing time to ensure he stays for another year. Throughout this season Self critiques Cliff with ambiguous words like “motor” and “energy” frankly I don’t buy it. Self knew that if he played Cliff 25-30 minutes a game he was going to put up numbers that would surly force him to leave for the NBA draft. Cliff came to Kansas because we have a phenomenal track record of putting bigs in the NBA, he said it so himself. The problem Self is faced with is that he has another potentially small recruiting class and can’t afford to lose a guy like Cliff. If Kansas does not land a footer like Stephen Zimmerman or Thon Maker then who do we have Carlton Bragg? Another undersized post player that lacks the toughness that Cliff will provide.

    Sure Self loves his players that have hustle plays, but Jamari has had more critical turnovers than he has had ‘hustle’ plays. It is apparent that Traylor did not play organized basketball until his junior year of high school. He has athleticism and he understands Self’s system but still struggles with executing it. This couldn’t be more apparent when he is trying to run the weave and telegraphs every pass. He may have had 6 turnovers, but that is only because you only turn it over once during a possession. Still though Self praises Jamari even after he has a cringe worthy game. Don’t get me wrong I like Jamari and i cheer every time he throws it down or dives out of bounds, but halfway through Big 12 play there is no reason Cliff should not be playing more minutes. Unless of course this is all a calculated move by Self so we can have the big red dog for next season.

    Rock Chalk, Play Cliff

  • @MoonwalkMafia

    This is Self developing Traylor and Lucas for next season, because:

    a.) Cliff can already do what Self needs him to do;

    b.) Self signed Bragg; and

    c.) Cliff is leaving.

    Cliff will play more now that our lead has shrunk.

    And he will play a lot in however many games we have in the NCAA tourney.

  • Got this off twitter


  • Did Ken Pomeroy write that story?

    Yes, number can be good and provide information…but…every coach will tell you that numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. Look at Kirk Hinrich’s numbers this year and tell me, if just by looking at his numbers alone, you would play him as much as the Bulls play him…I think not.

    In the NBA, on court performance is the dominant criteria for playing time; you play well you get play time. However. College is different insofar that coaches are still teachers and mentors and are trying to shape boys into men and preparing them for the next level, and in this regard, playing well is just a component of what earns playing time. Also, like most stories, it is written by seeing what we all see on TV and without information on what goes on behind door on the locker room, at practice and even on the bench at game time, it is all just speculation. We don’t know if Alexander was tired and winded or said something that warranted less playing time. I am not saying that Cliff did anything wrong, but we know that he has a condition where he periodically gets his back out of whack, it is painful and it takes a couple of days for it to get better; maybe this is what happened and Coach Self did not want to play him at less than full strength or in pain…but then, it easier to just assumed he made the wrong decision. Amazing how he continues to win while making all these poor decisions.

    In this regard, you have to respect Bruce Weber, he essentially placed the season and his own standing in jeopardy by benching Foster, but it is good to see him strand for principle and hold players accountable.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Please don’t compare a guy that’s been playing in the NBA for over a decade to Jamari Traylor. I understand your point. But Kirk Heinrich can produce, and produce well! Forget intangibles, what Heinrich has are tangibles.

    Giving Self a pass on this sort of thing on the basis of speculation is just not good enough. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Jamari Traylor is not a better option. Period. Like others have said, you mean to tell me that you haven’t seen Traylor get blown by on defense? Mess up a play? Bounce pass to a double-teamed man?? I can’t stand hearing about Self’s resume in this sort of situation. I know he’s a great coach. I’d argue that he’s the best in the game. But as we’ve seen this year, Self is being forced into a position where he has a team that doesn’t fit his traditional mold and he’s been dragged absolutely kicking and screaming like a three year old into adjusting it. It’s like trying to convince a girl she’s wrong. Traylor shouldn’t have been in the game over anyone with under 3 minutes left. I would’ve taken anyone over Traylor at that point. People get so wrapped in this “energy” nonsense that they seem to forget that he is not that great of a technical basketball player; he’s only been playing organized ball for a few years. I don’t want to be rude about this, but I can’t stand the Bill Self cheerleader fans that see nothing wrong with the decisions that are made in games (Trey Burke says hi) because he’s Bill Self.

    The million dollar question now becomes, will Cliff start over Traylor against Tech? How bout Baylor? How bout at any point in the season?

  • @MoonwalkMafia I’ starting to think Cliff was lookin for the outhouse & found the doghouse. This energy crap doesn’t add up to me or many others. Gotta think something is up with classes, practice, or some mystery item (s) that is holding Cliff’s minutes down. The possibilities for Cliff to excel are exponentially greater than Traylor…and don’t forget he also broke curfew getting cuffed at a flippin bar a few weeks ago for cryin in a bucket. JMO but I think there’s a real turd in the punchbowl that none outside of the locker room circle are privy to.

  • For the man that is good with a hammer, everything is a nail. Bill Self has been very successful with the hammer.

  • Starting Cliff does not matter, just making sure he gets more minutes per game. The more minutes he gets, the more points and rebounds and blocks KU will get in each game.

    Cliff is averaging only a little more than 18 min/game. He and the team will improve a lot if he averages 25 min/game going forward, and he will probably get a boatload of double-doubles. He might be physically challenged (sore, hurt, bruised, joint pain???) but he seems to be a good kid and I really do not think there are off the court issues.

    Jamari is a good player, this is not about him or Landon. They are great four year players and teammates. But their upside is limited. especially against elite competition.

    This is not about Coach sandbagging or trying to keep Cliff for another year by not giving him court time. There is no conspiracy.

    This is simply our Head Coach not getting the Big Red Dog to fit his schemes or play the way he wants him to. I like the pressure from the fans and press to challenge Coach to give Cliff more minutes b/c it does make our team better.

    RCJH beat TT!

  • @Bwag Yeah but some still think it’s OK for them to drive a thumbtack with a sledgehammer…

  • @MoonwalkMafia

    Read my post again. I was not comparing Traylor to Hinrich at all, I simply provided an example of how numbers alone do not provide the entire story. I am a huge fan of Kirk but look at his numbers this season compared to his career average and tell me if his assists and points have not dropped to half his career average and all his stat are down across the board and yet he is still getting substantial play time (27 vs 33 mpg). Obviously there are intangibles that the number alone do not tell. That was the entire point of mentioning Hinrich.

  • @MoonwalkMafia You’ll be happy to know that coach K just fouled, up by three, under 7 seconds on the clock. That guy has almost twice as many wins and four times as many national championships than Self, if we are to cite resumes. He also adjusted, and has played zone this season when the match-ups dictate. He’s also been known be flexible with his system to adjust to his talent. The most three pointers shot by any player under Self is 205, by Sherron Collins in 08-09. Coach K let JJ Reddick gun 238, 258, 300 and 330 in each of his four seasons at Duke.

    Some folks are calling Greene the best three point shooter in college basketball right now. But Self has him shooting within the flow of the offense – the structured offense. The “very restricted system”, as one NBA scout called it. Perhaps the best three point shooter in the game right now is on track to shoot just 107 three pointers … if we play a full 40 games.

    You’ve got an undeniable weapon, yet you won’t scheme to get him looks.

    Throw it in to Ellis, who scores at a rate of of 54.2 % at the rim; or Traylor 53.3%; or Lucas 48.4% – or you play your best at the rim post scorer (68.4%) 14 minutes in a loss when he’s 4/5 near the rim.

    Or you can scheme to get a guy that shoots 51.6% from three point range as many looks as possible (I don’t think he’d shoot 51.6% shooting twice as many, but I do think he’s a guy that will shoot over 40%, for sure – same argument).

    But no, Self says our normal rate of three pointers that have been shot over the years is all we really need, even with the incompetent “at the rim” post play.

    It makes no sense. This team has the talent to be dominant offensively. This team has the talent offensively to simply outscore opponents. But we have to play our system, right?

    And so it is. Someone defend that.

    **Let me add, I don’t think coach K is a better coach than Self. Since Self has been at Kansas, Self and coach K have won the same amount of national titles. And I’d say Kansas has been better. It is just criminal that a weapon like Brannen Greene is not exploited.

  • Regarding Cliff, there could be some crazy back story that we don’t know. But if it is the doghouse, then he should be suspended and not play at all. The only credible back story to me could be an injury we don’t know about. One that Self says, “let me know how you’re doing.” It seems odd that no one has mentioned anything – Newell, Dodd, Bedore, Keegan. And we’ve seen nothing on the bench with Dr. Randle or any of the staff checking or talking to Cliff. Cliff doesn’t appear or act injured, he doesn’t wince in pain.

    I think it is simply that Self prefers Traylor – one of those deals that only Self can explain. Which, of course, he never will. Much like the inexplicable use of post feeder deluxe Brady Morningstar. But guys, this is worse. Much worse. EJ and Releford were expectancies. Meaning, we thought we knew what they could do. Now, we were right, of course, on what they could do. That was proven. But Cliff is showing us what he can do right now. And he is flat out better. Not even the biggest Self defenders can deny that, or create what-if scenarios to cover the obvious. Cliff is just better.

  • Well, in league play it does appear that Traylor and Selden are the two weakest links in our starting lineup. Is easier for must of us to understand and live with the minutes of Selden, although I predict that Self is running short of patience. The Jamari thing is more of a mystery. I think that Bill really likes the kid and is supersensitive to Traylor’s emotional state as a nonstarter. But, in regard to both players, facts are facts, and the hourglass now is more than half empty. We are bound to see changes implemented this week…or we must bite bullets in respect to our mentor’s seemingly shortsighted motives. Self’s record speaks for itself (although that record has come up against some persistent glitches). Still and all, he and his Jayhawks continue to offer fans some splendid seasons, as well as individual battles. We are engaged in our own games, here on this board. Competition DELUXE!

  • @JayHawkFanToo – Two questions. Is it possible that there are not intangibles at work here? And other than the general “energy” deal with Traylor, what intangibles do you note? Anything?

  • @HighEliteMajor Let me just say that many of us simply are not able to express our intentions & criticism of Bill nearly as profoundly as you do. Most of us here wouldn’t trade him for anyone else in CBB-me included. But the red/blue pill is really telling, as is his donkey-like stubbornness to change his game to adapt to his personnel. While many of us may have these understandings, putting them into words for others to fully comprehend can be quite difficult. Like I posted yesterday, I learn something new every time I log on here at buckets. Thanks for a much more informative way to say what some of us are not as simplistic or eloquent to accomplish. Many coaches would game plan an entire season around a prolific shooter like Greene may be. Not saying he is yet, but plainly he deserves more PT like Cliff. Some of these things are just an anomaly to me.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    As I indicated in my post, I watch games like everybody else here and that is the extent of what I know. I will guess that also like everybody else here, I have no inside information on what goes on with the team behind close doors, so unless I have the entire story I prefer not to speculate or second guess the decisions of the one person that has all the information…but then, that is just me and I don’t expect anyone else to do likewise…so you can speculate or second guess all you want.

    When I post an opinion or a bit of information, I try to provide a link to the source, otherwise I usually qualify it as just my opinion and that it could well be wrong…again that is just me.

    More specifically in response to your question, I do believe that Traylor brings more energy and also believe the he is able to step away from the basket and on occasion drive to the basket or take the short to mid range jumper like he did against Baylor, where Cliff normally plays with 5 feet of the basket and when he steps outside he is slow getting back and leaves the door open for back cuts. Just my opinion.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    "You’ll be happy to know that coach K just fouled, up by three, under 7 seconds on the clock.’

    Two seconds left on the clock. Didn’t KU do the same thing at Baylor just a couple of weeks ago? Ahead by 3 Mason fouled with 6 seconds left, right?

  • @globaljaybird Thanks … much appreciated. I think my wife would prefer if I was a blue pill guy. Life would be easier from Nov - March.

    @JayHawkFanToo – But of course, Self did NOT foul under 7, up by three against Utah, remember? They shot a three and missed with four or five seconds left. It’s a no brainer. Why do it one time and not the next? I assume you think Self is right both times. Of course, my response to @MoonwalkMafia was referring to his Trey Burke comment when we didn’t foul and we got knocked out of the NCAA tourney. There is no Self defense on that one. That was the big one. That came after seeing Memphis lose on the same deal in 2008. And Self took no responsibility for it. Why foul at Baylor, but not vs. Utah or Michigan?

    Now, to substance. I do think @JayHawkFanToo has hit on something here regarding Traylor. His discussion of Traylor identifies Traylor’s ability to drive the ball. This is really the best explanation for why Traylor may be playing vs. Cliff. If Self sees us as not being truly inside-out, and that our inside baskets may be more from driving the ball, then Traylor is the choice. It may explain Self’s preference – the explanation for the inexplicable. Really, this is the best explanation. It fits. Not saying I would agree with the choice to use Traylor more than Cliff even with that, but it does at least give a possible explanation.

  • Broken record time.

    As the conference lead dwindles, Cliff plays more.

    As the conference lead widens, Cliff plays less.


    To let Self develop Traylor and Lucas.

    Traylor has to learn how to shoot it.

    Traylor has to learn how to drive it.

    Traylor has to learn how to pass it and catch it, if they are going to commit to 1-4 and driving to the blocks from the 1-4 formation.

    Traylor is at the point that he has to do it in games for the team to move forward down the path of playing 1-4 a lot.

    Traylor has to eventually learn how to be in the four man weave. And maybe a five man weave.

    If Traylor can’t cut it, then Selden’s got to step up and be one of the four in the 1-4 (i.e., point guard out front and two wings and two high posts), or Self probably has to junk the 1-4 go back to the 1-2-2 and 1-3-1 and start running action to get shots.

    Cliff’s and Lucas’ roles are set. They play on the block whether its the old 1-2-2 high low formation, or the old 1-3-1 high low formation.

    Cliff’s minutes have to be held down whenever possible, so Self can afford to get Traylor and Lucas as far along as we can get them before tournament time, and for next season.

    Cliff sits when Jamari is trying to learn the outside role in the 1-4 formation.

    Cliff sits when Lucas is trying to learn to play the 1-3-1 and 1-2-2 formations.

    I just don’t see any thing else going on.

    Cliff is being a good teammate and going along with the program, because he’s going pro regardless.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    While the commons sense option seem to be that fouling with a 3 point lead is the better option when you look at the number it is not that obvious. Here is a interesting article on the subject that once again leaves the question unanswered. The most comprehensive study on the subject was done by a team from the Harvard School of Business who looked at data for finishes under this condition for a number of years and the result was that there was no real difference between fouling and defending. Respected coaches such as Mark Few and analyst such as Jay Bilas prefer the no-foul approach but there is no set answer because there seems to be a difference depending on the number of seconds left, where 2 would lend itself to a foul but over 7 seconds might not, it also depend on the players and shooters on the court at the time; coaches that trust their defense will likely opt to defend while coaches of teams with weak defense will likely opt to foul . In short, it is game time call that if you get it right you are a genius, and if you miss it you get crucified. Keep in mind that many times coaches will tell the players to foul but they cannot or will not due to the risk of getting a flagrant called which can be the worst possible outcome. If you remember the KU-Memphis game, Calipari was screaming to foul but Collins was able to avoid being fouled (Memphis will always say that he was) passed the ball to Mario and the rest is history.

  • It is obvious what Self is doing with Cliff’s minutes. It is NOT sitting him because of mistakes, or errors he makes. Self is looking to NEXT YEAR and wants the Big Dog on next years team. In other words, if Cliff plays a lot right now the NBA will come calling with a high draft pick that Cliff would take. So keep him out of the game and NOT let his draft status rise whereby he would be lost to KU and Self next year.

  • @RedRooster Though you may be correct, I think Cliff is gone anyway. He has the motor Bill wants, but he’s running E 85 when he knows high octane can blow the engine. IMO Cliff may be sandbagging, not Bill. How many OAD’s have we had now that seemed to be playing less than full speed & then shifted to a higher gear once they hit the combine? Cliff may possibly just be saving it for the one he loves. If the goods are damaged now he is plainly SOL. JMO

  • I think Cliff was going to stay another year (or so) unless he was predicted to be a top 3-5 pick. That just isn’t going to happen this year.

    If he leaves for the NBA this summer he will have completely toasted his NBA career chances. He is no where near ready to play in the league. Not even close. Just compare him to TRob… TRob has him beat in all areas of the game, and he really has to fight to stick with a club. Players get a relatively short period of time to prove themselves “NBA worthy” and after that, even if they improve, the chances are slim that they make it. Teams look for guys right out of school.

    I remember Cliff already talking about staying before he ever came to Lawrence. He knows he isn’t ready.

    Self may be doing Cliff a favor by keeping down his minutes because if he was putting up big numbers, he would be on the media watch list and would be getting over-hyped.

    None of that changes the fact that he only really has a slam dunk for a shot. He is perhaps more raw than TRob in his first year. At least TRob had the motor to finish other scoring and it didn’t have to be a dunk.

    BTW: I have absolutely no current connections with anyone relating to this program. All I have is my opinions, and as such, they should be taken only as a fan’s opinion.

  • @globaljaybird and @RedRooster

    I like to think these OAD relationships are negotiated before players arrive.

    For 1 year half speed, you get 15-20 mpg.

    For 1 year full speed, you get 30-35 mpg.

    For 2 years half speed, you get starter but not go to guy.

    For 2 years full speed, you get starter and go to guy.

    The OAD and his advisors decide what he needs based on what his expected demand in the draft will be.

    Things are renegotiated for the unforeseen by the end of the first season.

    Cliff’s draft rank seems independent of his performance just as Wiggins did. It can fall a few slots but not much and it only takes one 15 FGA branding game and 25 points and one recovers.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    The trouble for Cliff is that a lot of college teams don’t have size, so he’s forced to cover some random 6-7 guy that plays out on the wing. That is not his strength. The NBA would allow him to play more inside where his strengths - rim protection, rebounding, dunking - would be on full display.

  • I worry that Cliff is really struggling with the back issues. Self got burned last year when his best big had back trouble mid-season, struggled with it throughout the year, and then was done by tournament time. Perhaps he is trying to avoid this worst case and save Cliff for the big dance. However, I cannot reconcile this with his use of Mason who is clearly wearing down and the more important piece of our team this year. It may be the combination of all the reasons above.

    Truth is Cliff can’t score one on one. He can dunk. He has shown the possibility of a jumper but not consistently. He has a hook shot that is just not that great. He can’t drive. He’s probably only 6’8. He runs well (but not for extended periods or big minutes) and he jumps well (when the back isn’t bothering him). So therefore, low minutes.

    His biggest strength is his rebounding. He is a really good rebounder. He pulls balls down in a crowd as well as anybody. TRob would go over people or through people which are more effective ways to rebound. But Cliff just seems to end up with the ball without out jumping opposing bigs or even bullying them around. I assume this must mean he has really strong hands. But even with this great rebounding, you don’t see him snag offensive boards and go immediately back up and score too often, unless it’s an uncontested dunk.

    Should he play more? Probably. Will he play more? Maybe. Is he ready for the NBA? No. Will he go anyway? Most likely. Can we win the big 12 with him still not playing much? Yes. Can we win the National Championship? Nope.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “I do believe that Traylor brings more energy and also believe the he is able to step away from the basket and on occasion drive to the basket or take the short to mid range jumper like he did against Baylor, where Cliff normally plays with 5 feet of the basket and when he steps outside he is slow getting back and leaves the door open for back cuts. Just my opinion.”

    I think you hit on something.

    Traylor does bring a chance that he might drive the ball. Unfortunately, his mid range game doesn’t seem to be building positive steam.

    But playing Traylor gives Self the possibility to play his current offensive set. Which is to bring Traylor around the FT line and further out for ball screens.

    Cliff is still too rough. He is a beast, but best left in the very low post, just a few feet from the goal.

    By putting Traylor in this area, it also leaves lots of other possibilities for Perry. Perry has been playing more like a 3 lately. He goes high for ball screens and is constantly using a pick and pop or pick and roll. He also sometimes comes to the top of the key for his trey. And sometimes he slashes.

    I don’t really agree with Self’s current offense. It has one big, weakness flaw. Traylor can’t seem to hit the mid range. Teams leave it wide open for him and I bet his % in that area is around 25%. For that reason, the guy guarding BamBam can sag in the post or also look to help others out.

    I would prefer playing guys where they present a bigger threat. BamBam’s only threat to score is on a slash move where he is in motion when he scores. Kind of an extended layup. We can run plays to make that happen more, but we can’t bog down our offense by keeping BamBam posted in the middle of everything and allowing his man to roam free. This has been a real detriment to Perry’s inside scoring, because it guarantees he has to do it over double teams.

    If we are going to clog the middle… I’d rather have it be with Cliff in the low post. At least he poses a real threat. If Perry is slashing in the post with the ball and gets double teamed, he simply dishes it off to Cliff for the easy slam.

    We do really need to work more offense with Perry. I know he can fade in and out of games. But no one on this team has more scoring range than Perry. He can now effectively hit the 3 from the top of the key, and he can score very well in motion and in mid range. We aren’t utilizing him well enough. I think if we design the right offense, he becomes deadly. And when he gets rolling… he stays engaged with the game. More chances he fights hard for rebounds and defends better. But when Perry disappears from scoring, he typically disappears in the game all together.

    Since Cliff is so rough on offense… he should be limited to playing right at the basket, and off to both sides along the baseline. It should take little time to teach him how to finish 8 feet away along the baseline. Those finishes typically require strength, and he has plenty of that. And he should always get his fair share of offensive rebounds.

    If Cliff wants to play on more areas of the court, he’ll have to dedicate himself into extra gym time to build his toolbox. He better be doing that anyways, or he’ll never see a NBA court!

  • @justanotherfan

    I thought Cliff was struggling with shortness outside till the team picture suggested he may be only 6-6 or 6-7. Whatever his actual standing height is he appears 1-2 inches shorter than Perry and that suggests he could have trouble in the L.

  • Cliff can slap a rebound and take it away from five people, but cannot catch or go to meet a ball when it is thrown to him. Brannen has probably been give 3 TO’s this year throwing it to Cliff where Cliff did not try to come out and meet the ball. He might have a good position, but rather than meet the pass, if it takes him away from where he wants to be and the ball goes out of bounds. Also, sometimes he is like a quarterback that throws the ball into a crowd because that is where the ball is designed to go. If a man is open get him the ball, if he is not, reverse it and find an open man. Jamari turns the ball over, but his TO’s usually involve traveling where he moves his feet on a fake. These are the final 8 games of the Conference season, Whatever you say, Coach will go with the player he trust the most, and his blood pressure has been raised many times this year by both of them.

  • @drgnslayr

    Against the Baylor zone passes went over the zone to Jamari and he hit 6-7 mid range jumpers. Last year in the NCAA against Eastern Tennessee he hit 7-8 for 17 points and 14 rebounds. Just two examples that come to mind. Traylor can play and he can hit the mid-range jumper, he just does not seem to do it consistently.

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