Genius Analysis by Jesse

  • @Jesse-Newell just knocked it out of the park, #KUReview: When boxing out doesn’t matter.

    Brilliant use of YouTube!!!

  • Agree… this was a fantastic analysis. The game within the game has never been as visible or accessible as it is within Jesse’s dissections.

    I never would have noticed Jamari getting pushed out of position over and over without the clips.

  • @VailHawk

    Thx for posting Jesse. Here are my thoughts his take triggered in me, which is what stats are supposed to do.

    Post Duties on the defensive end:

    Guard the post–big edge JT

    Hedge defend–big edge JT

    Block and alter help–edge JT

    Block out–even

    Rebound–big edge Cliff

    Outlet pass–even

    Run the floor–even when Cliff runs and JT not injured

    Note: JT does more things well on defense, but doesn’t score or rebound well. Guard the post means most to defensive FG%, because it stops easy inside shots. Cliff sinned guarding the post by trying not to foul and giving the easy inside basket. Thus, if Cliff can’t do the most important thing for defensive FG%, his other edges over Jamari don’t matter.

    Kevin Young is the key player to compare JT to. Their motors, abilities and limits are most similar. Kevin avoided injury. JT has not. Kevin had a knack for anticipating caroms JT lacks. Kevin played with great rebounders that other teams had to double blockout. JT plays with a lesser rebounder in Perry.

    Jamari seems injured.

    Jamari seems much less heavily muscled on top this year and much more flexible and long muscled and it’s really diminished his ability to muscle around the basket.

    Cliff appears injured and not skilled guarding the post.

    Jamari appears injured in a way that limits an already weak knack for rebounding.

    Self started the season not having the short post men jumping, blocking and altering and instead focused on guarding, rebounding and blocking out, but it made them not aggressive enough to achieve a low defensive FG %. When he let them start jumping they could hold down the DFG%, but their rebounding numbers suffered. When both Cliff and JT got injured rebounding caved in. When they met a long and strong team, it was a perfect storm.

  • Its really hard to beat a top 25 team and their ref’s in the final 2 minutes without a 10 pt lead or more. I remember telling my friend we were done with only a 6pt lead in the final 2 min. He looked at me like I was stupid but in the end I was spot on.

  • @Statmachine

    You are so right.

  • @jaybate-1.0 - Traylor has always been a horrible rebounder, not just this season. Granted, this season is worse. I have seen nothing to indicate that he’s injured. He still jumps around and flies in to block shots. He runs the floor. I don’t think it’s anything more than his skill level is a bit inferior, he’s undersized down low, and he doesn’t give effort rebounding the ball.

  • I agree with some of this story, especially about how Jamari needs help from others doing their share to box out.

    But there are flaws in this story.

    First off, let me premise this by stating that rebounding was my #1 specialty as a player. It helps if you have played a lot of ball, and been counted on for rebounds. Rebounding is partially about hops and height, but mostly about hips and elbows. Boxing out the right way is the key to being a good rebounder.

    None of our guys know how to properly box out. The key is to control as much space NEAR the goal, but not UNDER the goal. There are a lot of other factors, too… but let’s just focus on this one first.

    Go back to Jesse’s article, and watch the video titled “Traylorboxsout” several times. Traylor, actually, has horrible positioning in most of these plays. He’s too far under. He actually gives up opportunity to have good rebound position by charging in under the basket, allowing his opposition to go right over the top and take the boards.

    This is absolutely a perfect clip for instructing what not to do when fighting for position. In one of those clips… Jamari is far away from the rim and totally charges in with a WVU player on his back, following him. He gives up ALL THE REAL ESTATE charging in under the basket. All he had to do was spread his stance, bend his knees, and stop. Absorb the contact from the WVU player coming over his back, and he probably would get a foul call “over the back.”

    This is the perfect example of why I came on here and spouted right after the game about our poor rebounding and how wrong we were to setup to rebound DIRECTLY under the goal! You have a better chance of getting a rebounding at the top of the key! Obviously, I’m not saying to go hang out up top to rebound, just making a point about where the ball is very unlikely to go… DIRECTLY UNDER THE RIM!

    From a ref point of view… players playing directly under the rim do not get “over the back” calls. Playing under the rim is considered “no man’s land”… When I was being coached to rebound, we called it “the dead zone.” “Don’t be caught in the dead zone.” I bet I heard that a thousand times.

    The fundamentals of the game have been lost. Kobe Bryant has it right. “AAU basketball,” Bryant said. “Horrible, terrible AAU basketball. It’s stupid. It doesn’t teach our kids how to play the game at all so you wind up having players that are big and they bring it up and they do all this fancy crap and they don’t know how to post. They don’t know the fundamentals of the game. It’s stupid.”

    “Teach players the game at an early age and stop treating them like cash cows for everyone to profit off of,” he said. “That’s how you do that. You have to teach them the game. Give them instruction.”

    Bryant has it exactly right. What America dominates in is athleticism. And college basketball is just an extension of AAU ball. Like I said earlier… get rid of the dead weight assistant coaches that are only here as recruiters, and start bringing in developers.

    I’m really getting sick of watching these kids play without the very basic fundamentals.

    Svi is the only guy on this team that even has a clue what a shot fake is. That is friggin’ pathetic. And the only guy we have with even a remote clue on rebounding is Frank Mason… our shortest player. No wonder he is one of our better rebounders.

    "#KUReview: When boxing out doesn’t matter. "

    Yeah… when boxing out doesn’t matter… is when you charge right through your box out under the rim! Friggin’ unbelievable!

  • @drgnslayr

    Kevin Young was listed at a generous 6’-8" and 190 pounds soaking wet; he was rail thin. However he was an above average rebounder not because of his height and definitely not because of his heft, he was good because he had knack for anticipating where the ball would go and knowing how to get and maintain position, something our bigs are sorely missing. While you can learn this skills, a lot of it is natural instinct and the better rebounders have it, others have to learn it.

  • @drgnslayr I agree with you 100% about players under the rim. That’s the worst spot on the floor. I only coached middle school girls but I was always telling them pit a hip on your man, get low, amd use the elbow to maintain block out. In high school and AAU play my daughter is still effective doing this and gets assignments against girls much taller because her big team mates are ineffective getting or maintaining position in the paint on offense or defense.

    My observation about men and women AAU is different. The girls can do anything the boys can do EXCEPT elevate. Dribbling skills are excellent and they can shoot from all over the court. The men are chucking 3’s and dunking. Not much of an offense per say.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    God, I miss Kevin Young!

    His biggest attributes were his motor and his heart. The guy NEEDED the ball! If he was in an area where the rebound was headed… anytime he was the same distance from the ball as a competitor, he got the ball. He wanted it more and he had the motor to win the RACE TO THE BALL!

    Might someone in this coaching staff dig up a few file tapes to show these guys who Kevin Young was? And what it takes?

    There is some natural instinct to it. And personality. No one is going to make our chilled out guys become hustlers. Or change their physical anatomies to become “high motor” guys.

    But they can learn the technical side of rebounding and beat 99% of the players out there… because rebounding instruction is sorely lacking in college basketball. I’ve always preferred watching women’s college basketball for rebounding. They may not leap as high and have as much height… but the ladies know how to box out.

    @JayhawkRock78 - I know Kobe is addressing the men’s side. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the women’s side was run properly. If you want to see good basketball technique, start going to women’s college games. They focus their energies on learning a complete skill set.

    Jamari’s example is a case where he has a motor and it is not being utilized.

  • @JayhawkRock78

    " I only coached middle school girls but I was always telling them put a hip on your man, get low, and use the elbow to maintain block out."

    Please… please… go beg the Kansas coaching staff to sit in on a few practices and teach these boys some basics!

    If these guys could just follow your words from one sentence we would be crowned National Champions this year!

  • @drgnslayr @JayHawkFanToo @JayhawkRock78 Of course, size matters in rebounding margin, but positioning and technique are at least as important, as you note. If you look at several of the teams that lead the country in rebounding margin (and who play top competition), many of that are just not that big (at least tall). That includes Baylor at #3, UVA at #5 (one 6’11" and one 6’8’ - all others shorter), and Mich. St. at #10 (no one over 6’9". Butler, with one player at 6’8" and everyone else shorter, is #25 (the Stevens-led Butler teams were great positional defenders/rebounders). That’s 10 spots ahead of the Jayhawks. #35 isn’t that bad, it just lower than is typical for a Jayhawk team. Of course, we don’t have as much size as years past - that is why technique and positioning become that much more important. On a per minutes basis, Cliff and Landon are our best rebounders (essentially tied), followed by Perry and Kelly. Jamari is well behind them. The worst rebounder on the team on a per minutes basis is Wayne (correct that, he barely edges out Devonte - but well behind Frank and Brannen).

  • @DCHawker

    I forgot to give Landen some credit. He is easily our only big that has some rebounding fundamentals.

    It’s hard to get down too hard on Jamari… because he doesn’t have a huge basketball past. It’s a coaching issue. No one is teaching him the fundamentals. He’s just a guy who goes out there in a game and spends up lots of energy… almost blindly.

    How can we hold players accountable if we can’t hold our coaches accountable?

    There is no excuse for not teaching the fundamentals. We know it is possible for kids this age to learn fundamentals… just watch women’s college basketball to see the proof!

    As far as size goes… I’ll take girth over height any day of the week! I wish we had Sir Charles Barkley on this team to vacuum off the boards! He battled his way to the NBA rebounding crown, often having to snare the boards over guys as much as 10 inches taller.

    Give me a guy with a big butt over a guy with a 50" vertical any day of the week. If you have to rely on the vertical for rebounding you are just biding your time before a guy like that goes down hard and gets injured. If you don’t have position, regardless how high you go, you have to foul to get the rebound anyways.

    There are too many guys that criticize Wooden… like he couldn’t win without Gilbert. Fact is… Wooden was part life philosopher… but the guy also taught fundamentals. Every season started with him teaching his players how to tie their shoe laces. He started from the beginning and he hammered his players on fundamentals. If you don’t believe me… please look it up!

  • Before picking my post apart, let me disclose that I only watched about the last 10 minutes of the game. So much of the poor play in the first half I have no real insight on. I know we got down early and fought back to have a lead. But as far as individuals and their contributions or specific assignment breakdowns I wouldn’t know. Also in this very long caveat I want it clear that I do not hold the refs solely responsible for this loss.

    HOWEVER… What I saw at the end of that game from an officiating standpoint was pretty awful. WV was able to control the game down the stretch because they only had 4 team fouls for most of the second half. And from what I saw coming into the game late is that nearly every offensive rebound they got came from shoving our players out of the way or under the basket, which if I am not mistaken should be a foul. Frank Mason had to work ridiculously hard on offense just to get the ball first on the inbounds and then in the half court because he was swallowed up in either a one man or often 2 or 3 man bear hug. The strategy of “denying” him the ball was basically to tackle him without letting him hit the floor.

    Now this could have been avoided by the Kansas players by not passively accepting this mugging. There should have been some plays where you go hard for your spot and force the ref to make a call when the player actively shoves you to the ground.

    Maybe someone can enlighten me to know whether this activity persisted the whole game thereby desensitizing the refs to it or perhaps the refs were “letting them play” at the end of the game to make it decided “fairly.”

    Anywhere else (not just in Allen) KU wins this game by 13 or more points down the stretch at the free throw line.

  • @benshawks08

    I was screaming (internally, didn’t want my wife to think I was crazy, yet) as they pressured our guards frequently fouling, yet the team who apparently fouls more than anyone else, wasn’t getting whistled hardly at all. Frustrating indeed.

  • @JayhawkRock78 all I can say is, God bless you for coaching jr Hi girls!! I’ve been to a few lately and it would take a very special person!

  • @VailHawk I hope Jesse’s posts are being made visible to coach Self. If they are, I hope he listens to them. I doubt KU has a numbers and bball analytics guy like J Newell on staff.

  • @wissoxfan83 Thanks for sharing the article on Cliff. Like all of us here on kubuckets I want nothing but the best for Cliff and I wish he was playing more but he simply gets burned on D too often. He is not a great passer. He fouls a lot. These are all huge problems.

    The article is obviously very slanted. It really only presents the positives on Cliff and shows the “metrics” and his “what if he played 36 minutes a game” stats. Those are all great but until Cliff can routinely stop mediocre post players from scoring in his face it is going to be hard for him to get serious minutes. I know we all have really high expectations for Cliff but he does not seem to be as ready for prime time as we thought. We only have 5 games left in the regular season and I am still hoping that the light comes on for Alexander and stays on. Hopefully he will play his best 6 games in a row in March!!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Well it was volunteer coaching community league and they were just starting middle school. Luckily I didn’t have girls with attitudes and girl vs girl issues. I am aware that can be a problem. I ran a tight ship-if a girl started a side conversation when I was talking to the group she got to run laps.

    My daughter is disciplined enough to ignore that stuff when she is on the playing field/court.

    Now I will say it is VERY obvious to me as a spectator of girl’s soccer that favoritism exists in high school to the point of passing a ball nowhere/out of bounds or backwards instead of to a player in the open. If I were the coach in that situation they would be yanked-chewed out and told to play as a TEAM or sit. And I’d be handing out some extra hard work at practice for said individual I would SO enjoy teaching that lesson to two girls on our team. But I digress.

  • @wissoxfan83

    My big takeaway from your posts is your wife doesn’t think you’re crazy, yet…Come on, man cheer LOUDER!!!

  • @VailHawk Yeah, but she’ll remind me the crazy bus is pulling up to the house.

  • @joeloveshawks

    I agree with your post. On pure metrics… he’s the guy to play, especially to armchair quarterbacks.

    But his defensive skills lack refining as much as his post moves… as well as dribbling and passing skills.

    Notice we don’t hear Cliff screaming or throwing a fit when he sits?

    Cliff knows his game is largely missing. He’s okay with it, and seems to have the patience to let it develop.

    Self is being a college coach… which is heavily-weighted towards teaching philosophies. The opportunistic approach to coaching is at the next level. Cliff would be playing if this was a NBA team. But he would also be taking major major doses of public criticism for all the skill areas where he is lacking.

    The article implies he should enter his hat in the draft. Seriously? He’ll be the next Selby if he does that. I see him as at least a 3 yr college player. It all depends on how he develops. Compare him to TRob, and his game in his final year at Kansas. And TRob isn’t exactly burning the nets of the NBA. At least TRob has a motor.

    The only thing really correct in that article is that Cliff’s current assets aren’t what the NBA is looking for. Roger dat. But… he should be turning pro this summer?

    Kind of like the bs article recently printed about Kelly being NBA-ready. The guy has scored a couple hundred points in D1 so he now has what he needs to take the next step. “Jayhawk fans better enjoy him while they have him…” Rubbish.

    The media works against us. Building the heads of these kids and helping persuade them to leave early, just to collect dust in D-league and fight to get a contract. If we are going to be successful moving forward, we need some of these 5-star recruits to stick around for a few years. Pay us back for wearing our name on their chests while they grow up just a little bit and maybe develop some.

    No one on this team is ready for the NBA next year. No one. Not even close. Kelly has all the right potential… but he still needs major seasoning and improvements. He is left-dominant, which works great in college, but it takes very little time in the league to erase that advantage. Remember what players aren’t taught in college… hedge defense?

  • @drgnslayr said:

    Rebounding is partially about hops and height, but mostly about hips and elbows.

    May I add one more part of the anatomy? ❤

    I haven’t looked in the past few days, but I’m pretty sure that Frank Mason is our 3rd or 4th leading rebounder. Yeah, the 5’11" (?) dude.

  • Self needs to do a better job now trying to get 5-stars that stick for more than one year. We can all see that Wigs and JoJo had good reasons to leave after 1… but it damages our reputation to send players out early and have no success in the league.

    Calipari is a different can of worms. He’s had a lot more of the upper, upper recruits. Many of his guys play in the all star game and have made the jump. Not because of Cal… it’s because they are that one step higher player. Wigs is on that level. So he made it.

    If Kelly and Cliff jump, it’s going to look bad on Kansas… and those guys aren’t anywhere ready for the league.

    A few years ago Self was in a recruiting slump. He wasn’t getting his guys. Then he switched some tactics and started nailing some upper guys. His first concept was to get these guys and get them out the door as fast as possible. Prove to the world that he can get guys in the NBA quickly. He advised his guys to turn pro if they appear to be a first round pick. Take the money while it is there.

    That strategy needs to change. And he needs to focus on guys that are a bit more realistic. It’s better for the players, and better for Kansas.

    If we lose Kelly and Cliff this year, did we gain anything by having them come to Kansas? We end up with guys that score a couple hundred points and then vacate their positions and we have to start all over again?

    It’s a different story with players like Wigs and JoJo. At least they brought more potential with them to have one big year that could have turned into something much bigger if JoJo had stayed healthy. I’m not going to turn down players of this caliber. You won’t see me slam the door on Thon Maker.

    But what about the guys a solid tier lower?

    Maybe Self is doing this to keep Cliff around another year. It would not only be for our benefit, but it surely would be for Cliff’s benefit. Actually, we take the risk that he won’t even develop into a solid performer. What if we get a real 5? Is Cliff going to take all of Bragg’s minutes? That guy brings a lot more offense with him. More offense than Cliff can develop in the next 12 months.

  • @drgnslayr jmo, after watching 1 game of Bragg’s, he looks like a 4-5. He can shoot jumpers. Self would not hold a player out, just to keep him around, not for KU’s sake.

  • @nuleafjhawk Actually, on a per minutes basis, Frank is only 7th on the team in getting rebounds, at .11 RBs/minute, although he does seem to come down with some key ones. He is ahead of Wayne and Devonte, who are essentially tied at .09 RBs/minute. Landon and Cliff are essentially tied at the top at .30 RBs/minutes. Followed by Kelly and Perry at .24. Jamari and Brannen are next at .18 and .15, respectively.

  • @DCHawker So, I agree that Frank seems to get some key rebounds. I wonder if there’s an advanced stat for rebounds when it’s a 1 or 2 possession game… Maybe it’s silly to differentiate, because every rebound counts… but it does seem like he and Oubre have a knack for rebounds when we need them most.

  • @DCHawker I was just looking at total rebounds.

    I like to make stats say what I want them to. 😄

  • @bskeet don’t forget the other teams pt guard always gets back on D.

  • @drgnslayr At the risk of playing amateur psychologist and getting inside Self’s head, my impression has been that he stepped up going after OADs following the Kentucky championship game loss. We overachieved with that team, but we’re out-talented with a team that had multiple McDs and an incandescent freshman in Davis (now one of the 3-4 best players in the NBA). I think we have fallen into the trap of thinking that we need the upper, upper tier (as you describe it) to compete for national titles. Indeed, history is replete with examples of top frosh that teams rode to national titles. We were victims of that with Syracuse once upon a time with Anthony (although McNamara played a large role in that defeat).

    But recent history actually belies the view that you need multiple McDs and OADs to win the title. Look at the other three champions in the past four years - UConn twice and Louisville. They weren’t filled with top tier recruits and future NBA all-stars. What they did have were seasoned teams with tough defense and great guard play. Look at our own run of 30+ win teams - they were largely veteran teams augmented by one or two really good, but not necessarily OAD players. We’ve gotten away from that.

    As for the current team, most of the mock drafts do have Oubre in the lottery and one has to assume that he is sure to be a lottery pick. Alexander has slipped to late first round in most - and he may fall further.

  • @DCHawker

    Are you numbers for the season or for conference play? The KU lineup has changed big time from the beginning of the season and the early games probably bring some player’s numbers down. It would be better to just use conference games since they would be more representative of current play. Just my 2 cents.

  • @JayHawkFanToo They are averages for the entire season. Interesting question as to differences just in conference play. Although, I would note that what I listed is on a per minutes basis, not per game, so not directly affected by changes in playing time over the course of the season.

  • @DCHawker

    I’m just saying… we should maybe either get the uber elite, that we know will be OAD but can make a huge impact in one year, or get guys below that who will stay more than one year. Guys like Kelly and Cliff are quality players, but they aren’t capable of bringing us a national title… then they are gone. Then they are buried away in D-league as representatives of the Kansas revolving door.

    I don’t mind Wigs and JoJo… and would love to get Thon. And I’m really happy with Cliff and Kelly if they stay more than a year. But if we only have them for one, it should create an opportunity at a NC. I don’t see either one of those players bringing us that. I don’t see either one of these guys making the impact of an Anthony Davis.

  • @drgnslayr OK - newsflash - I’m not an NBA guy. I don’t like it, I don’t watch it. My question is - why would they want guys like Cliff and Kelly? I guess they can afford to pay them for 3-4 years to sit around and learn how to play ball?

  • @drgnslayr I don’t really disagree at all with the dichotomy - other than to question how many really uber elite game changers there are out there and how do you know in advance? Wigs and JoJo would seemed to have fit in that category - but we lost 10 games and exited in the second round. Not saying you pass on the chance at those guys - and Thon - but it isn’t clear to me that that it isn’t necessarily a great risk-reward bet. Seems like the optimal mix would be a bunch of guys ranked in the 10-50 range who have talent, but will also be around for 2-3 (maybe even 4) years (Perry?) augmented by a OAD type that you don’t have to rely on to carry the load - unless it turns out that he really can. Duke will be another interesting study this year. I believe Cook is a senior and they are likely to lose at least Winslow and Okafor. If they don’t win it all, or at least make a FF, will it have been worth it. Cupboard may be relatively bear for Coach K next year if that plays out.

  • The Mudiay experiment will set the tone for future potential OADs. If Mudiay goes high, China will become the preferred destination for OADs since they can make a fair amount of change while they wait for the NBA to come calling. China has more money than they know what to do and they might start keeping players longer that one year. I understand Thon has indicated that China is one possibility…if there is enough money, he will never play college ball.

  • @DCHawker - We had a good chance to go further with JoJo playing. And that team was pretty much all freshmen. It was extremely amazing that we could hold on to the B12 championship and have a shot in March with a team that young.

    Compare it to this year. We really just exchanged Wigs and JoJo… but the rest of our team grew up a year. We all see the play difference in players like Brannen and Frank and some others. Plus… losing Naa was a benefit after he lost his sanity.

    If JoJo had stayed healthy, we might have been FF bound. Or at least Elite 8. I’m not sure I see that being realistic for this team. Sure, it is possible. But ever since the Texas win, we haven’t exactly been dominating the B12. We were really shooting up in quality play, and that seems to have leveled off now. I think we need to see a big uptick to be more optimistic in March. Too many variables with this team right now to think they can make it to the promised land.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Yeah… been reading that.

    Mudlay is the big experiment.

    It should say something where these kids’ hearts are at if they’d rather go to China then play D1. They really can’t wait a year to be spoiled? Didn’t grow up watching college ball and become a fan for a team or two? Or see the intensity and say they want a piece of that? I can understand how foreign players might not care… but American-born kids?

    Kind of blows my mind…

  • @drgnslayr

    It is a new generation of kids out there, one that is completely different from our generation…the name on the Jersey is not as important as the number on the check.

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