Embracing the Good

  • So imagine my surprise to log on yesterday after the game and see that most of the conversation was not about the awesome performances of Perry & Devonte, and instead the conversation is more about the season’s demise.

    Yeah we could have played better yesterday as a team. But how can you not be encouraged by the play of Ellis? And Graham busting out of his mini slump? To Perry, I think it’s easy for some to dismiss his successes by focusing on some of his struggles. Call it the Randy Quaid in Major League 2 syndrome. “Who cares? They’ll blow it in the ninth.” Afraid of being disappointed by being excited about something promising so instead they try to diminish the good as not really all that good at anyway.

    We all remember the struggles early against Kentucky. Last year against Stanford. HEM has given us the 2-point FG% stats for the year on occasion. However, something they said during the telecast yesterday made me feel optimistic. They were talking about our 2-pt % being so low on the year, but said we ranked second in the Big 12 in conference games only. So perhaps we are trending upward? Perhaps our early struggles inside the arc have dragged down our overall percentage so much that it has blinded us to our improvements. I’m not suggesting that inside play it’s now one of our major strengths, but maybe it’s not the albatross around this team’s neck that we once thought?

    As to Graham, he joined the group of Oubre, Selden, & Greene that are all capable of giving us great performances on the perimeter. All 4 won’t do so every night (Mason appears to be the only one to do so on a consistent basis), but we see that Self has plenty of options to find the hot hand and to guard against foul trouble & injury. To me that’s huge. How many times have we heard that good guard play is key to tourney success? Well yesterday we got two outstanding performances from Graham & Mason. How can you not be optimistic about that?

    Still lots of room for improvement with this team, but yesterday watching the game i want thinking “Crap. We’re screwed.” I was thinking how sweet it was to see Perry throwing it down and smile, and how it was a relief to get Graham back on track. Those are two really good players, not just nuggets of fool’s gold.

  • @icthawkfan316 Good thread. Reminds me of Curtain & Ackroyd-point counter point, only much nicer !! I did see the other thread with the reference to fools gold & man, that guy is out there…way out there. Dude is wanting attention badly & he ain’t getting it from me.

  • Guard play is very good this year and is betting better on both ends of the court. Great game by Frank and Devonte and Brannen.

  • To me, we’ve yet to put 2 half’s together since the Iowa St home game that were games with great effort that will win Tournament games. That’s my opinion of where we are currently. I think the team is struggling to put it all together while its finding ways to win at home and completely looking lost at times on the road. Monday’s game will either further that belief or finally give me a more positive outlook.

    Ellis is trending way up. You can see it in his game that he’s really starting to show off on offense. It’s not just the dunk he had but those spin move hooks are a thing of beauty. If you notice Self is playing him more minutes lately and he’s responding with it. It’s great when your best offensive talent and Jr is playing his best basketball. That to me is a great sign that we could get 20 out of him almost every night. If he makes a few more FT’s yesterday he would have been close to 30.

    The thing that scares me the most about this team is when we build a lead we blow it quicker than it took to get there. Ellis had 2 slams and made it a 16 point lead. TCU goes on a 11-2 run immediately after. Not a dragged out run either, we lost a big lead in minutes. We had a 5 point lead at WV, it took all of 30 seconds to lose it. We had a 11 point lead at half against OSU, lost it in less than 2 minutes. It’s those few minutes of play that leave that sour taste in your mouth.

    I’m trying to enjoy the ride as much as I can, sometimes its hard because negativity is harder to shake than all the positive. We are 22-5 with a 1 game lead still. We have a golden opportunity to finish these last 4 games out with W’s and head to the tourney’s on a high note.

  • @icthawkfan316 awesome!!! Thanks for writing it! Rock chalk! Maybe we can get Cliff rolling mon pm, coach isn’t giving up on him!

  • @BeddieKU23 we all are concerned about finishing!

  • Just to add another thing that I think gets overlooked by all the pessimism (which I certainly feel sometimes) from game to game - This team has at least 5 players that can take over a game and win it: Ellis, Oubre, Selden, Mason and Greene.

    Alexander has had some great games as well, and we’d all like to see that game where he breaks out… Traylor has had phenomenal moments and terrific games (though it’s been a while). Lucas is solid but not at that elite level - and he does just what we need him to do. And Graham is developing faster into a suitable relief for Mason faster than I expected.

    In past years we have 2-3 all-everything guys surrounded by an awesome group of glue guys. Nothing wrong with that.

    But to have 5 different players that can put the team on their back and win is a luxury and a good sign for March. Teams with that many threats tend to do well because they are so much harder to defend.

    I have not given up on this season by a long shot.

    Could they flame out early? Sure.

    But I like my odds with this team because of its balance and the fact that, even ranked at 9 or 10 in the country, they are under the radar.

  • @bskeet like coach Johnson said, “pick your poison” and something like they don’t go to Kansas if they aren’t good! Imagine if they had a pretty darn good game at the same time!! We need to get Cliff going, we need him to step up!

  • @BeddieKU23 Not putting 2 good halves together and giving up the leads so quickly have me concerned also. It seems like left the room for a quick second and or 16 pt. lead was at 7. I think the fact that it we never put TCU away at home has us all concerned.

  • @icthawkfan316 I agree. We all are guilty of focusing on what we aren’t instead of what we are…a top 10 team that controls our destiny in winning #11. We are spoiled from all of the past success.

  • @icthawkfan316 Thank you. You read my mail.

  • @icthawkfan316 We can enjoy each game, and the wins. Sure. It’s nice to see Ellis and Graham each have good games. These are all momentary instances of niceness that we can smile at. Embracing the good is, well, good. Consider it embraced.

    My favorite moment of the game came at 3:25 of the first half. coming out of a timeout, Self called a set play. Greene came from the baseline off two screens, for a wide open three from the top. It was the first time since the first half of the Utah game that we ran a set play like that to get Greene an open three.

    When I see that play, I enjoy it. I embrace it.

    But I see all that is lost, all that we are leaving on the table. The simple act of scheming to our strength comes together in one very simple, very beautiful play. But it is the next, most obvious question that takes the joy of the moment and jolts me back to reality.

    A team that should be shooting 20-25 three pointers a night – not as a panacea, but as part of a tactical gameplan to focus on our exceptional skills – instead, continues to focus on elements of our game that have been proven failures all season long. Fleeting instances of success, while enjoyable, provide me little comfort when I look into the crystal ball that is March.

    And to me … understanding that folks differ on this … winning a national championship is all that really matters.

  • @HighEliteMajor Statistically, I agree 20-25 threes would give us a better chance to win.

    So the big question is: Why aren’t we scheming for 3s and taking more?

    Some say that it’s because Self is so stubborn.

    I do think Self is a bit stubborn, but I think there’s a method to his madness. As I’ve stated earlier, I think part of it is that he has seen enough to know that we are quite adept at hitting 3s. He wants the team to be equally adroit at the inside game so we are not just one-dimensional.

    One other possible factor that plays into his thinking is that he’s not at all comfortable with our rebounding. Long shots are usually lower percentage shots, and feel less risky when you have solid rebounding to give you second chances for those occasional misses. This team is average or maybe even a bit below average in rebounding, so that could be one of the things standing in the way of opening up the outside game.

  • @icthawkfan316 Nice positive post. The season is far from over. Once again Coach Self keeps our program in the conversation. Some appreciate this feat others obviously don’t. Hopefully, everyone, including Cliff will continue to get better and we can make a run in the tournament.

  • @HighEliteMajor That is the Chalmer’s play.

  • We all see the holes in this team and I believe we see the positives. Looking to the future and figuring out what we need to improve is fair and reasonable. But if you told me in November that this team would we 22-5 and a one game lead in the conference with 4 games left, I would venture to say that most of us would take it in a heartbeat. @icthawkfan316 got it right. Lets enjoy the win and how this season has played out so far!

  • @HighEliteMajor I understand fully where you’re coming from. As I’ve said previously, I get that you’re a big picture guy. I am too, to an extent. I just don’t believe in sacrificing all the joy out off the season at the expense of focusing on the big picture.

    I’ve ran it down like this before, but we have 3 NCAA championships in our history. If that truly is all that matters, why be a fan of a sport and a team that most years are going to leave you disappointed? I’m not saying that shouldn’t be our goal every year, but the reality is it’s not going to happen very often. Acknowledging this, for me the only options are to be miserable most years, quit watching, or to…dare I say…enjoy the ride?

    And for me, enjoying the ride doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to the team’s issues. Others, yourself included, usually do a better job of covering the issues. My post was merely a way of giving everyone a look at the other side of the coin. Because like I said, i watched the game yesterday and I was more impressed with Perry & Devonte then I was disappointed in Cliff and the lack of 3s attempted.

  • @icthawkfan316 Excellent post. What’s the point of watching 30+ Kansas Basketball games and not being able to enjoy the many wins we experience each year. Just think if we make it to the final game next year. That would be 2008, 2012, and 2016. That seems pretty successful to me. Of course we want to win it all every year, but the format of the tourney is not designed for that.

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