Theme (one upset per season by a second division team) and Variation (getting used to playing with a black hole at the 5 and a problematic perimeter)
Losing to a second tier conference team, when KU plays poorly and that team plays its best, happens once each season, or at least every other conference season, if everyone were on their aricept as they should be, and recalling things with even partial clarity.
Losing to KSU on the roads means NOTHING other than the team has to bounce back. It cannot lose its self-confidence, as some board rats are doing, and bounce back. Our players are young, but they are increasingly tough. They will do it.
The more concerning losses to me were Okie State and West Virginia. We lost both places because we couldn’t handle what they threw at us. They threw some really good guard play at us on both sides of the ball.
But think about what KSU did to us. They, too, threw some good guard play at us.
Light bulb over head flashing.
There is one common thread among the recent OSU, WVU and KSU losses that, in fact, extends all the way back to the ISU loss, the Temple loss and the UK loss.
We have been overlooking it, because we have all been focused on lack of standing height, a black hole at the 5, whether to play inside out, or outside in, and–and this is a very crucial and–we have been making an assumption that our perimeter play has been the strength of our team, despite Selden stinking things up regularly, Devonte vascillating between productive and unproductive games, and Frank playing consistently well until the last two games.
It has frankly been an odd assumption to make, and I myself have been making it, so I am not picking on anyone any more than myself. Svi imploded under the early pressure of trying to play on the perimeter. A reputed fine shooter, good passer, and able defender de-patterned before our eyes. First perimeter player gone. Brannen Greene has distracted us all with his trey gun. But, in fact he has very fitfully improved his defense to mediocre, and still has trouble following the most basic instruction of waiting for the ball to reverse before shooting (this is an astonishing deficiency after almost two full seasons, like continuing to take too big of bites after 20 years of parental correction). The great news about Brannen is that he has discovered a rebounding bone (recently) and the team is certainly the better for that, because Wayne Selden, Jr., all 6-4 and 230, or so pounds of broad shouldered muscle that he is, has come to view rebounding as something that is off his post-pop menu. Wayne Selden, Jr., averages only 2.7 rpg and really needs a post devoted entirely to his short comings this season. Wayne Selden, Jr., cannot dribble drive without losing control of the ball about one out of four attempts; this is a significant flaw for a perimeter player on the back side wing, who is often presented with driving opportunities as the ball reverses. To put Wayne Selden, Jr.'s ball handling woes in perspective, Wayne Selden, Jr., is tied for the team lead in turnovers with 57. This turnover number astonishes, because: a.) Wayne Selden, Jr. is tied with the team point guard, Frank Mason III and wings hardly handle the ball in comparison with point guards; Wayne Selden, Jr. averages playing nearly3 mpg less than Frank Mason III, and Wayne Selden, Jr. is completing his second full season of starting. Wayne Selden, Jr. has distinguished himself at times on defense, during certain games when his concentration can be sustained for an average of 30 minutes out of 40 that defense may have to be played. But there have been a number of games, where concentration on defense has been sustained for something significantly less than the defensive portion of the 30 average minutes that he plays. And Wayne Selden, Jr. appears to average 30mpg largely because Brannen Greene’s iffy defense, and Devonte Graham’s slight build and modest height are behind him pressing him only modestly. To Wayne Selden, Jr.'s credit, he has a very Brady-esque assist level of 85 (second on the team), and has overcome a very difficult early trey slump that most excused as adjusting to changed shooting mechanics, and he presently resides at a Brady-esque 40% from trey, playing a Brady-esque number of minutes (when Brady was also not being pressed by an OAD), although with, as noted, an un-Brady-esque team leading number of turnovers. Without putting too fine a point on it, Wayne Selden, Jr. needs to get better at putting the ball on the deck and protecting, and hope and prey that an offseason with Hudy can rekindle some pop, or else study film of Travis Releford’s old man’s game. Presently, Wayne Selden, Jr, is very vulnerable to another Brady-esque experience; that would be finding his minutes falling to 20mpg next season, while playing behind an OAD. And this of course leaves us Devonte Graham and Kelly Oubre to contemplate without assumptions. Devonte, we have all been rightfully grateful for simply because freshman playing even backup rotation minutes at either 1, or 2, have been rare as chicken dentures under Self and we had a SERIOUS need for him to play, since Conner Frankamp ditched this team for home cooking and reputedly perhaps a little home brew. Devonte averages 16.5 mpg, shoots 44% FG and 39% treys, makes 70% of FTAs, and. Devonte, playing half the minutes Wayne Selden, Jr., plays, has about as many assists and fewer turnovers per minute than Wayne. Where Devonte costs us most relative to Wayne Selden, Jr., is that he rebounds about half as much as Wayne per minute played, and Wayne, as noted, is not doing an imitation of Bill Bridges, who was at about Wayne Selden, Jr.'s height and weight, and with two bad knees, compared to Wayne’s one bad knee, one of the great rebounders both in KU history, and in NBA history. But I digress. There is a remaining stark contrast between Devonte and Wayne Selden, Jr., that needs to be made manifest. Devonte makes 48% of his 2ptas, whereas Wayne Selden, Jr., makes only 35%; that is an enormous difference. The point here is that Devonte is who should play, when Self wants to score inside the trey stripe, hold TOs down by a couple less per game, can get by with one or two less caroms, and the other team has a slender, not too tall two guard to defend, and Wayne is who should play when Self wants to score outside, doesn’t care about a couple more TOs per game, needs one extra rebound per game, and the opponent has a long and strong 2. Self actually has a hard choice between these two. Both are adequate but both have costs. Wayne costs you TOs and is a free mason inside where Self wants to play the short trey game so often. Devonte can’t really handle the long and strong 2s that are increasingly prevalent with the muscle ball coached teams. Plus Devonte has to spell Frank 5-10 mpg. And last but not least in this stroll past perimeter assumptions, we have OAD Kelly Oubre–he of the 7 foot wing span, who is supposed to be a junk yard dog disrupting on defense and a high scorer on offense. Well, Kelly averages a merchandise protecting 20mpg, while scorching the nets at, um, 44% FG, 39% from trey. and 68% FTs. Kelly’s FG% is behind Perry’s, Frank’s, Cliff’s (yes, you read right), Brannon’s, Devonte’s, Jamari’s, and Hunter’s (what few times Hunter has not been frozen stiff in his cryogenic bench chair). This is quite an extraordinary number of non OADs to be ahead of an OAD on a team that is NOT stacked with any likely first round draft choices on the perimeter OTHER THAN Kelly, is it not? Ah, but our one freshman OAD starting has a 7 foot wing span and so he must necessarily be leading the team in rebounding and strips, right? I mean this team is known for having short bigs that are height independent, frankly, shall we say, carom challenged. And sure enough, Kelly is averaging nearly 5 rpg, which puts him, uh, behind Perry, and, uh, Cliff (you read that right). Still, he is a strapping 1.5 rpg above Jamari Traylor and Landen Lucas, but that says more about the abject shortcomings in carom-snagging of Jamari and Landen, than it does something shining about Kelly’s rebounding. But wait! There is the category of steals that Kelly must be an avaricious bird of prey at–must be distinguishing himself at. Kelly has 29 steals!!! Why, that is ten less than Frank’s 39 and only 3 more than Perry’s 26. And get this! It is only 6 more than Jamari Traylor’s 23 steals.But there is more to being an OAD that will go pro in a few months than being average or below in all the above stats. An OAD going pro needs to be a prolific scorer, too, right? Well, Kelly hardly lets us down there either. He is scoring a whopping, um, uh, well, he is scoring, @Lulufulu, please get a grip here, Kelly Oubre, our ace in the hole, our perimeter OAD, our difference maker, our go get a basket man, Kelly is averaging…drum roll please…8.6 ppg.
Now do folks see why Coach Self has decided to go inside, ooh, say, whenever opposing teams decide to take away our perimeter trey balling with some decent guards? Take away our trey balling, and well, our perimeter doesn’t look quite so sterling, even though we fans have been counting it as our strength for most of the season.
It seems that not so long ago, Coach Self looked at the statistics that I have been looking at just now, instead of looking solely at our perimeter players rather gaudy three point shooting numbers, and noticed that there were a lot of holes in the outside game TOO! And if this team focused solely on three point shooting before long it would be facing defenses that were forcing it out to, oh, say, Naismith Drive, or maybe even 23rd Street, to take our shiny treys, and since trey percentage diminishes substantially with each additional two feet farther out the shot was taken, Coach Self revealed a touch of the poet and called the three point shooting phenomenon a kind of fool’s gold.
Let me put some words in Coach Self’s mouth here that Coach Self was probably too wise to articulate until after the season. Yes, we have some good trey ball shooters. But presently, our perimeter guys are as much Swiss Cheese, as our big men are. And if both our outside Swiss Cheese, and our inside Swiss Cheese, don’t learn to play some ball generally, we will be running ball screens and come backs and fade curls just to get 35 foot jump shots. And Coach Self apparently asked someone to run the numbers on the likely trey percentage with everyone on the other team laughing their asses off at the KU guys running action out on Naismith Drive for open look treys, and said, “Well, then our three point shooting is fool’s gold.”
Coach Self also apparently noticed that despite all the bad mouthing, and all the ridicule, and all the scorn, the only guy on this entire team with respectable D1 numbers were Perry and Frank and over time moving Perry all over the floor has kept him productive in a way that other teams not been able to rein in as much as they have been able to rein in even Frank.
Now, @REHawk, I think we all owe you an apology, because you have kind of been Perry Ellis’ godfather here, and you have had to listen to a ration of fecal matter from all of us, regarding Perry’s shortcomings, of which, as with all players, there are some, but as the season wears on, and the bottom line of statistics keeps getting bolder, Perry is, at the very least, the leper with the most fingers on this team.
The team has played inside out for a stretch. The team has played outside in for a stretch. Now it is back to inside out for a stretch. This seems, for better or worse, determined by which part of KU’s game the opponents get it in their minds that they can most constructively take away from KU.
Overall, Perry’s 48% FG, 40% Trey, and 70% FT numbers, plus his 14 ppg are approached only by Frank, and whereas Frank is trending down a bit from the wear and tear and greater minutes, Perry appears to just be hitting his stride.
And Perry is doing this without a flipping 5 registering on the radar screen for the last month.
If Cliff (“If Cliff” should be his new nickname) could just turn a corner here, even a very wide radius one that just got him back into the next parallel universe to this one, instead of being unstuck in the chronosimplstic infindibulum of College Basketball Universe 9, we could get on with the business of making something special out of this season. But I am digressing into the black hole of the five that has so preoccupied us all, and Self too, probably, this season, when what I hoped to do was explore the unexplored perimeter.
So let me get back to it.
The limitations of our perimeter limbed at length above trigger an unfortunate cascading dynamic, when combined with our black hole at the 5.
When our guards cannot hold serve, that is, when they are equaled or exceeded in talent by the opponent, that starts a default down into our black hole at the 5, and that is a no win for KU, which in turn leads to requiring our perimeter guys to drive to iron to try to get some short treys, which cascades into our perimeter guys losing their shooting legs, which cascades to three terminal conditions.
Our perimeter guys lose their shooting legs for treys and treys start clanking, which means we lose our ace in the hole–the timely cluster of threes that build leads, or close them.
Our perimeter guys turn the ball over more and the opponent converts those to more points that shorten the shelf lives of our leads and make it much, much harder to come back from even a small deficit.
Our perimeter guys cease to be able to guard hard enough to get stops and force turnovers and a Self Defense that cannot stop a run, and get more possessions for a Self offense is a prescription for disaster.
This all tracks back to black hole at the five, which emboldens smart coaches with good guards to figure KU cannot beat them inside if they cheat outside, and KU’s perimeter players have such faulty floor games, that if you just push them back far enough from the trey stripe, either they are going to miss the treys, or wear themselves out and mistake themselves out going inside that this is the recipe for beating KU.
And it is.
This post is not about solving the problem.
This post is about clearly delineating it.
We have a few days to kick the solutions around before Texas.
There are always solutions to clearly, accurately defined problems.
Sometimes the solutions may not make things better, but often they do.
I love this game.
Travis Releford’s old man’s game.
Great and positive post! Just one thing, no way can Selden ever approach TR’s game: the man was money at the rim from day one, plus he never lost his springs. His last two years he managed angles and caroms as well as Willie Moscone.
@jaybate-1.0 Where do you find the time? And, energy? Insightful and fascinating, as always (even if I don’t necessarily agree with the diagnosis or prescription; rare in any event). A few observations, essentially reiterating some numbers I’ve provided in other posts/threads.
In one, I highlighted RBs and TOs, but not a game average, but per minute basis - both to provide a more accurate assessment of contribution, or lack thereof, and because they are or should be more controllable and persistent than things like shooting percentages. Among other things, what it does reveal, as you have noted, are issues with Selden - his performance has fallen from last year and it certainly way below expectations coming into the year (at least mine). Selden is essentially tied with Graham for the lowest rebounding rate on the team at .10 per minute - a third of that for Alexander and Lucas and less than half of that for Ellis and Oubre, and behind Traylor, Greene and Mason. What is equally concerning is how low Traylor’s is for a post player. Selden also has the third worst turnover rate, behind Lucas and Traylor. So, Selden and Traylor are, charitably, not helping in two keys areas.
I’ve also looked at team defensive numbers, which is my particular bugaboo. Until last year, the lowest national defensive efficiency rating for a Self coached Jayhawk team was 11th - five years in the top five and twice first. Last year - 31st. This year - 30th. Not bad - just a far cry from years past. Like many at KUBuckets, I dvr at lot of the games and go back and slo-mo plays - not healthy to do this year. You are correct that perimeters players on our opponents are all too often getting past our guards or wings and into the paint or all the way to the rim. But, when I look at many of those plays, what concerns me much more than the initial blow by is the complete absence of help defense. Very evident in the TCU game when Greene (who has improved somewhat) was covering Ziegler. The book on him to slough the outside shot, because all he wants to do is attack the rim - whether the scouting report wasn’t very good or the execution was poor, who knows. The point is that while Greene was beat on a handful of occasions, almost all were to the baseline - exactly where you want to push someone - assuming you have sound team defensive principles. Someone should rotate and the driver will have no one where to go - wasn’t happening. I’m on the east coast and have watched several UVA games. Makes for ugly games, but a joy to behold from a team defense standpoint. And, without any McDs. While we have some solid on the ball defenders and do a decent job limiting open 3s and hedging ball screens, no one on the team does a very good job of rotating, holding ground, and boxing out. Traylor stands out, and not in a good way.
Other big picture numbers - 6 or 7 of the previous years, before last year, we won 30+ games. Didn’t come close last year and we would probably need a Final Four run to get there this year. As you’ve described it, what is the common thread? What is the cause for the slippage (acknowledging that we are spoiled and have very high, perhaps unrealistic, expectations? Lesser talent? Less heart? Just a young team??? Certainly true last year and this year. My own view is that Self decided after the UK championship loss that he was out-talented and has gone for broke on OADs/TADs - and that has come at a cost not commensurate with the potential reward - that it is too challenging for newbies to get comfortable with both the Hi-Lo and defensive requirements. That it only works consistently well with veteran teams augmented by a one or two talented frosh that you don’t really have to rely upon.
Perhaps the light will come on and the guys quickly recover and make a run through the rest of the regular season and into the second weekend of the tournament. I’m not convinced that we have the right combination of players to enable that, but I certainly hope I’m dead wrong!
Way to bring it.
How could Coach Self, defensiphile that he is, argue with anything you’ve laid out? He would not.
He might pick one nit, and plead for a bit more time in making his transition to the OADs.
The nit: there are two defensive approaches to M2M. One is where you force offenders baseline and use the baseline as a sixth defender. Roy Williams and Dean and back to Dick Harp, who developed pressure defense, have forced things baseline.
But the other way to play pressure m2m is to force offenders to the center of the floor. This is the way Self has coached m2m defense his entire KU tenure, and I believe, his entire career. The middle is where the most help is. So: KU wing defenders are supposed to over play baseline and funnel their men to the center, where center where there is supposed to be help. For this reason, Self has always highly valued explosive athletes that could slide and help on defense.
Now about the plea for more time. It takes time to transition recruiting and roster to optimize playing a new way with new kinds of players.
I believe Self would argue that he is involved in a migration to OADs, IF he can get them. He is signing and playing as many as he can, but he obviously is not yet attracting the kind of numbers of them that the Nike Stacks are.
It will take awhile, if ever, to make this transition.
And as he migrates from one OAD in a specialized role (like Xavier), to 3 OAD/TADs and two 4 year types, there are certain things he can still try to do, and others he has to let go of partially.
And when he gets to 5-10 OAD/TAD rosters, then somethings he will let go of entirely and other things will be added.
I think last years team was a big move away from his core and peripheral philosophies.
This years team is an interaction back to his core philosophies, while still flexing on his peripheral ones.
Much depends on how fast he can ramp up to the new standard of 5-10 set by the Nike stacks.
Thanks for the response.
I think we need to reboot. Seems a bit late in the season to install any new system software. Our hard drive became fragmented and our performance dropped off.
In here… we can only bang our heads against the wall so many times.
Many of us have referenced Einstein’s definition of insanity and applied it to Self. But as we move forward, we can apply the same reference to ourselves. If we continue to beat our heads on the wall and harp about running perimeter offense over and over again… if it doesn’t make a difference, then we are insane, too.
I give up. I am surrendering to the hi/lo. It is our reality. So I’m living with it, and I’m wrapping my mind back on running offense through the post.
That doesn’t mean I’m not going to scream when we aren’t getting open trey shot attempts. Even with our small post, we should be able to draw in defenders and get open treys. Perry’s recent performances are going to demand teams double him up. Great. Then instead of us all focusing on why we aren’t running perimeter set, motion offense, let’s keep the focus on playing through the middle and kicking for the trey. Let’s surrender to the concept of post shot first, trey shot second. It is what it is, it is what we have been dealt.
So our focus is on getting these guys motivated and energized to get the right spacing, passing and motion to lift our trey shot attempts at QUALITY 3-PT SHOTS!
It is enough for us to win most games moving forward. Definitely enough to win our conference. We will never beat Kentucky with that strategy… but we can harp about that if we even get the opportunity for a rematch. If we get to that point… mainstream media will be laser-beam focused on Self and what he is going to do different this time, because no one wants to watch a FF game where a team gets blown out by 30+ points.
@jaybate-1.0 After a couple days of work and sleep and work again, I feel a bit more level headed about what transpired at KState. Thanks to you, I even understand a bit more about what the problem actually is. Which is also good.
I wonder, is Coach Self recruiting for next season to try and shore up those holes in the cheese so to speak? I mean clearly we cant rely on Traylor and Lucas to miraculously get their ish together and channel their inner DBlock and Shady. Thats just not gonna happen. What KU needs is a great wing that can defend, rebound and stick it to opposing defenses on the other side. We also need a true big, taller than 6’8", who can fill the “black hole” as you so eloquently put it.
Do we have someone coming in that can match that? I really dont pay attention to recruiting very closely. So IDK. But, Im pretty sure Ive reached my acceptance stage in the loss diagram. ON the the next game! Lets bring a beating to Texas! Hopefully Texas will come to AFH minus one of their players as one of their bigs got himself flagrant 2 T’d up the other day.
@DCHawker Solid post!
@jaybate-1.0 I stand corrected/educated about the Self philosophy re using the baseline in defense. Even more begs the question what BG was doing that game, because he certainly wasn’t forcing Ziegler to the center. Minor point in the grand scheme.
I agree that Self is “involved in a migration to the OADs, if he can get them.” How many in the stack are necessary to succeed while moving away from his core and peripheral philosophies? Is he willing to be the kind of guy that it will take to get those numbers (and prima donnas)? Who is our Drake??? Does the Jayhawk nation really want that??? What happens if you fall short on the targets??? Doesn’t that mean you end up with the 3-stars who will be counted on in critical roles too early??? He/we won a championship without a roster full of McDs and OADs? Didn’t he/we win 30 games a year. Sure we lost in a hard fought game in the championship to a loaded UK team. But, we got there. I would also note that 3 of the last 4 champions had very little in the way of OADs (even TADs) and NBA-caliber talent. They were veteran, really tough defensive teams, with great guard play.
Its only a wild guess about Brannen, but he probably grew up funneling offenders to baseline. Some say old habits die hard. At KU, in past years, it would have been a violation of all that were defensively holy to forget and funnel baseline. Perhaps some of what limits Brannen’s minutes are little pecadilloes like forgetting to funnel middle. As you said, the help defense does not seem to be what it once was. Maybe Brannen is a small part of the problem, part of the time. Or maybe Self lacks the interior defenders needed to help, and he has made a change to let certain players like Brannen, struggling with defense, funnel to baseline. It will be interesting to watch for and see. I had not thought about this issue this season.
@jaybate-1.0 Hello friend, I haven’t been posting but I’ve been following all season. The thought of delineating our problems to find solution has brought me out of the woodwork, so to speak.
Before the season started we discussed my areas of concern for the season. It appears to me that the things that I was most concerned about have reared their ugly heads.
I broke it down to 3 things: PG play, post play, and most of all coaching staff.
PG play: We still don’t have any perimeter player who can be a vocal leader, traffic controller, coach on the floor type, etc… And who makes other players better, and just makes the easy play.
Post play: Cliff fouls to much to stay on the floor, and doesn’t seem to make staying on the floor a priority. No enforcer in the bunch. No one who prides themselves in just being in an opponents way and making it tough on them. (Kahn was a master at this, and did it with a smile)
Coaching staff: No answer for the loss of the “Dooley effect”
I feel like Self is on an island this year. Nobody on this team, players or coaches, talks as much as he does. And, when others do talk they aren’t really saying anything. Self is extensionless. No extension on the floor. No extension on the bench. He has had teams with more perimeter talent than post talent before. He has had short bigs before. And, that team played inside out, outside in, fast, slow, anyway you what, and used a deep bench. So what gives?
Remember Greene mentioning a few time this year about poor spacing? Others talking about not being in position offensively, defensively, or for rebounds? Doesn’t Cliff just look lost out there? Is anyone showing him (or anyone else for that matter) where to be during the play?
Of course I’m talking about the 08 team. That team featured two guards who took responsibility for running the team and for making adjustments to take advantage of opposing teams both offensively and defensively. If you watch some of those old games, you’ll see RussRob and Mario directing traffic in half court sets, coaching their teammates before and after timeouts, during free throws, and relaying the information to teammate about exactly where to be and what to do if…
They also knew how to take what Self wants and make it work on the floor. I think of it like this: Self and coaches give them the strategy to win, and they came up with the tactics on the fly in the game. Always adapting to what the opponent was doing.
Now I truly believe that coach Dooley taught RussRob and Mario how to do that. How to see the big picture. How to pay attention to their teammates so they could give them a different perspective on how to beat their man, etc… RussRob and Mario learned how important this skill set was to have because they lived through the “Julian Wright Experience”
The “Julian Wright Experience” can be explained by a quote from Mario. (I’m paraphrasing here) “Julian was great, but you never knew what that guy was going to do!”
Today, we have a whole team of Julian Wrights. And since no one knows what each other is going to do, we just stand there and let someone go one-on-one. The problem is we don’t have any RussRob’s or Mario’s to direct traffic, and no coach Dooley’s to train RussRob’s or Mario’s. This team is so quiet. You never see them talking other than celebrating. If you don’t have any individual MUA’s, then you have to somehow develop a unit that is a MUA. I think that is what Self is trying to do. He has the horses, I’m just not sure the horses have the brains to pull it off, yet. Not sure these problems can be fixed this year. Here’s to hoping these issues are address next off season.
You talked about transitioning to the OAD model. Self and everyone not a OAD need to remember the lesson that came from the “Julian Wright Experience”.
Ok, now that I got that off my chest, this is still a championship season until it isn’t!
@ jayhawkbychoice: I like your name, because it made me realize that that is what I am. I came aboard during Roy’s first season when he explained to sportswriters how being HC at Kansas was a great job, even after the sanctions. i heard what he said and thought about it and realized that Kansas was the program I wanted to root for. Also, I kind of felt like a midwesterner, even though I lived back east.
In 1991, I sat down to watch the championship game, feeling certain that Duke was going to win it, but knowing, no matter what, I was rooting for Kansas.
And every year, I pick the Jayhawks to win it all, even when I know it’s not their year.
Posting often isn’t for every one. I hope we have kept things interesting while you have been reading.
Thx for posting when things get tough! Now is the time we need all hands. ISU turned it over to us against Baylor. Now we have to convert by beating long, tall Texas!
All the points you raise are significant.
Communication–team personality is an amalgam of key players. Perry has slowly risen like cream to the top. He is a quiet man who has been learning to play more physically. It has been hard for him to lead by example, while learning to bang and do all Self has added to his plate. But he is almost there. He is a true stretch 4 now scoring every where! But he is quiet! The team was at its best last TEXAS game when all the the guys were most focused and decisive. Since that beautiful first Texas game, Kelly hurt a knee and lost a little swagger. Frank has hit a wall that younger players hit their first season starting.Jam Tray got a hip injury that has sapped his explosiveness. Devonte got less bubbly. And so on. The answer to this is to finally let up on working on getting better, and telling the team they need to "find themselves"as Self has just done. He has communicated to them that what has turned into a late season “time of getting better” where the team has been adding new stuff and working on old stuff as if it were semester break instead of February has ended. It’s about playing again, about being and not becoming. I think if injuries permit, you will see more of the personalities reassert themselves and see communication and that 6th sense of “team intuition” reassert.
Talent vs brains–brains take time to develop literally. 23 is the age most neural net connection are complete. Thus the younger teams need to have more talent to overcome neural deficiencies, than older teams, at the same level of competition. This is a YOUNG team outside Traylor and Perry. And then some just are smarter than others-in book IQ, basketball IQ, and street smarts. But I am no determinist. Nothing is written, because teams are manifestations of emerging complexity where many unexpected solutions happen to overcome constraints. Youth and certain kinds of dumbness can be overcome or there would be none of those occasional great highschool teams the rise beyond their talent to greatness. This KU team is so young and has some over grown kids on it that the real model for what greatness it might attain is the rare unexpected great highschool team. We saw it the first Texas game. It’s in this team, if they can find it again. No one on the '07 team was really ready to win a ring. The '08 team knew what it needed to know to win a ring. Each team is different in when it can attain this knowledge. Some young teams attain it rarely. I saw it in the Texas game. Self saw it. It was so over powering that Self became obsessed with accelerating teaching to give this team everything it might need to win. In the process he coached them past their breaking point. Now he is trying to let the team identity reassert. Nothing is written. It might or it might not.
The Dooley Effect–Janks was a great loss. Dooley could replace him. Manning was a great loss. Roberts could replace him. Dooley was a great loss. Howard was supposed to replace him. The jury is out on Jerrance. He made a mistake six months ago that made big shoes even harder to fill. KU won a title last season with Howard filling the shoes. But sustaining success is different than having it once. The pressure may have gotten to Howard. Or maybe a bad habit just finally hurt him. One thing for sure: he can’t coach and contribute suspended at a pivotal time of the season. If we need all hands on deck, he ain’t here. That is real. What if Howard hasn’t been his best the last six months? What if he is were like most other folks and needed his best to be his best over time? What if Okafor, or some other near footer 5 might have signed had Howard been just a little nearer his best six months back? Maybe it’s not mattered, but being gone the past two weeks did. Yet nothing is written. Jerrance Howard might turn this into a game changer for himself and for this team, when he gets back. He could be better when he comes back. He could reach the players on a new level when he walks back in that locker room door. Great teams have great dramas; this thing with Howard rates as a great drama IMHO. Time will tell.
Bottom line: it’s still a championship season til it isn’t. Nothing is written. Great young teams can happen. Ad Astra per Aspera!!!
I neglected to comment on this back when this first came up about coach Howard. But jabate makes a good point. Coach Howard has been gone and it does make a difference with 18 and 19 year old kids when things like this happen.
I spent some years in the mental health industry. Most of these organizations work through the judicial system. when someone gets arrested for illegal substance they usually get the same sentence that Coach Howard received, 6 months of probation which is usually monitored. When I say monitored I mean he has to go in at least once a week for a blood test to see if he is maintaining. My question then and now is how was he going back for his checkups without BS knowing and was he actually having to spend that time out of state. Has he actually been here all that time physically and mentally. Don’t get wrong I don’t think it is worth getting canned over if it has not had a negative affect on the Kids. Most of these kids have seen so much of this they probably do not see what the big issue is.
I can remember when Manning left I had some degree of apprehension because kids listen to a Star. When Dooley left I was concerned because I think I remember the kids talking about his relentless practice toughness.
Posting is not what I do best either but I do read most of the blogs here and at the other sight. This sight is obviously more in depth and I am very grateful as my mind has to reason out the losses and this sight actually add insight as to why things may happen without the #itching and I just hate to answer stupid questions for use.
I have faith in BS regardless of the losses. I think he has a better understanding of the talents of the other teams and respective coaches. He has to play all the angles and has been doing a good job for over 10 years. Again I can’t think of another person that I would rather have as a coach at this winning program.
@jaybate-1.0 You know Mr Bate, after re rereading this post, Im not certain if I feel all that more confident about our long term chances this season. I mean when you put our disadvantages into such stark a light, it really does make things look all swiss cheesy. Major bummer. Such holes probly wont be shored up, filled in, whatever until next season but thats cool, we are still on top of the conference! Thanks to Baylor and to ISU. I’ll take it any way I can get it!
Ditto on " I love this game." Rock Chalk!
Nimitz had to first had to be sure he was getting the kind of intelligence that Husband Kimmel was reputedly denied before he could make the correct move… He had to know there were 200 ships steaming east bound toward Midway and perhaps Hawaii, before he knew where to position what little he had to work with.
Self is actually lucky. He has not three but five carriers: Perry, Frank, Kelly, Brannen and Devonte in theater to launch a devastating air attack at the unexpected moment from the unexpected approach.
It can be done, but we have to understand what our weaknesses are and what has to be knocked out to prevail against our large adversaries, before we can understand where and how to attack.
We are going to beat these Shorthorns.
And then we are going to win at least one of the next two and probably all three.
“We are going to beat these Shorthorns.”
I hope Self and staff show these guys the Shorthorn loss we suffered in AFH right after TRob lost his mom.
That is a clear example to us that other teams aren’t interested in OUR destiny, they are focused on THEIR OWN destinies. That was a painful loss. It crushed our home winning streak and we were just not in the mood for anything negative to happen. It felt like being down already and having someone kick you.
We shouldn’t have to focus on that… but it is best we do. Because players and fans get lost in their own focus and need to realize that others don’t share the same dream… for Kansas to 11-peat!
Destiny is self-determined. Baylor didn’t create our destiny to 11-peat on Wednesday. They helped open the door, but we still have to walk through it. No one can take those steps for us, in fact, other teams are there to keep us from walking through that door.
That can’t be illustrated enough… hence… get out the file footage and show these kids!
@drgnslayr let’s show them this!!!
This was my favorite game last year!!
My favorite shot from last year… Especially after Ridley and body slammed Embid earlier in the season (and got away with it.)
@JayhawkRock78 I was never so mad when that happened! Both teams froze waiting on that damn whistle, that never blew! Maybe that’s why I loved the home Texas game!
@jaybate-1.0 Hell yah we’re gonna beat those guys tomorrow! All hands on deck!
Excellent post! Glad to read your perspective, and you have brought many new treasures to everyone here. Please continue to post, as you feel comfortable.
This site will only continue and grow if more people contribute. A few of us post the majority of the content, but most of the time we are rehashing our thoughts because most readers know where we stand. It is really a pleasure when someone new comes on here to post because we all get to grow through their offerings.
Thanks, and hope we hear from you more often!