KU Wins and Loses an 11th Title?
Self has done the impossible. He has apparently won a conference title playing terrible basketball for an entire conference round robbin, and without a single big man that can score back to the basket, or guys that can credibly drive it to the rim. And down the stretch he has done it with a team that lost its eye for the three point shot.
And now the most improbable conference title of all time may just as improbably be taken away from KU.
If Cliff Alexander were to have been found to be ineligible, then KU would probably have to vacate its wins this season and so its improbable title.
To lose a conference title, because you played a guy as your second or third center would be the pinnacle of irony.
And irony would surely be the definitive left motif of this most amazing and bewildering season.
And, yet, the very freakishness of this freakiest of seasons makes me wonder if this remarkably resilient bunch of Jayhawks may now only be fulfilling their destinies as the reincarnation of Merrill’s Marauders on the basketball floor.
All looked lost for this team again and again this season.
But always it bounces back.
How it won a game today after discovering that all of its work might have gone down the toilet because of this thing with Cliff is amazing.
There seems no doorway forward through this.
The team seems stranded on a mountain jungle trail trying desperately to make it to Myitkyina to fulfill its destiny. The trail seems to have given way in a landslide.
There seems no way through now.
And yet this is the moment that separates the teams of destiny from the others.
Total hopelessness is the final obstacle all teams of destiny must achieve at some point.
They must go on to Myitkyina even though all APPEARS lost.
They must go on, because that is the mission, no matter what the chances of making it are.
So: I told everyone it was going to get a lot tougher and now it has.
From here on are the stuff that legends are made of.
No team should be able to overcome this.
Not one in history.
But the mission still exists.
Myitkyina still exists.
The orders stand.
And so the young men will go there.
One or another.
And Self will lead them.
There is no other choice, even though the trail is gone they must find their way through the unknown now without landmarks. Just a plan. Without reliable elevations. Just directions.
It is on to Myitkyina.
“They’re looking for us, for all of these months, and (Brigadier Gen. Frank Merrill) was brilliant. We all had our exact orders. We would move in a direction north, northeast, south, we all had proper tools to tell us where we were going, for exactly seven minutes and stop and break off a quarter of a mile or a mile away. Thirteen hundred miles of jungle fighting.” –Stanley Sasine, one of the last surviving members of Merrill’s Marauder’s, finally awarded his Bronze Star for service in Burma, after being refused for decades because of a paperwork error that made it appear he had not served ww.foxnews.com/us/2012/09/25/one-last-surviving-wwii-merrill-marauders-finally-receives-bronze-star/
In the post-game interview, Self said KU has done nothing wrong, and it’s a Cliff issue.
But I’m sure the NCAA would love to attach some stink to the KU program.
What is different this time is that Kansas has a slue of legal pros on board to handle compliance issues.
After we came a split hair away from getting the death penalty for giving a recruit a loan so he could quickly visit his sick and dying grandmother… Kansas invested big in compliance.
We shall see how this plays out. Throwing away a record conference title streak because the guy you recruit went to a BS HS that cleared the NCAA sounds like a good case to take on for any attorney worth his weight in toilet paper.
I know, I know… I shouldn’t undervalue toilet paper…
The more I think about this the more I think it will just be a case where Cliff has to sit out the rest of this year, and possibly even part of next year.
Major universities have come to realize they need the right legal help to push back against the NCAA… but the lowly athlete has no legal protection. You know… because they are slaves.
I know that vacating is our worst fear. But how many times have you heard of someone being held out, or a player doing something they weren’t supposed to do? How many times does that result in games vacated? I would argue not very often. Let’s not get too worked up until we discover information that would suggest that we should.
It has to be something really bad with lots of evidence for Kansas not to fight back this time.
@drgnslayr But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we vacate any wins. Yes, maybe Cliff sits out for the rest of the year or whatever.
No… I’m with you… I agree that it is doubtful we vacate wins.
The NCAA hasn’t been pulling such harsh treatment now and they recently admitted it was wrong to over-penalize programs. It is a money thing. Also… the NCAA has suddenly become vulnerable and schools are realizing they can leverage good legal counsel and get a better outcome.
This would have to be something where Kansas was involved in doing something in violation or trying to cover up. Both of those scenarios are very very unlikely.
Today… when a Jayhawk player farts… they run the smell through the KU compliance office.
We’ve had a few of these issues pop up over the Self era with a lot of hemming and hawing from the peanut gallery, but, in the end, very little to show for it. Even the Pump Bros. scandal, which had nothing to do with the team itself, only resulted in one scholarship being pulled. But McLemore’s thing came and went without a peep from the NCAA. So did the pot thing. Selby, Rush, and Jackson all had minor violations that were taken care of with relatively little pain. Hell, they screwed the pooch at Miami, and still haven’t really done anything with Cuse or UNC, and if the NCAA can’t find a way to throw the book at Duke after it was discovered that a former player had received massive loans for jewelry while attending the school, I doubt they’re going to pull wins from KU because of something minor (which Self’s comments/disposition lead me to believe this is). They’ve got bigger fish to fry, and as others have pointed out, they’ve lost a lot of their teeth from back in the day.
@jaybate-1.0 Self is reaching into the depths of “bothness”!
“The team seems stranded on a mountain jungle trail” Yep, and with the choices to either keep following the trail or blaze a new trail, what does Self do?
The same thing he always does when faced with a decision, BOTH!
The ncaa can only punish ku if whatever happened ku was involved with. If this is cliff being dumb and doing whatever on his own then he is solely punishable and ku has done the right thing by keeping him out of games. No worries, worst thing that can happen is cliff is ineligible and he goes pro and does everyone a favor
@BeddieKU23 I don’t think that’s completely true, but I think he’d have to be in trouble for something Derrick Rose level egregious in order for KU to get hit hard.
Well, glad everyone weighed in here and the consensus seems to be that Self and the team can probably expect to find their way through this thicket without losing the title…if we can nail it down the next two games.
Ku would have to be in trouble with cliff like a cover up or a ku booster giving him some benefit for example would be how ku could be tied to this.
Memphis was told before playing rose that he was being investigated. They choose to play him anyway all year and when he was found ineligible after the fact they punished them
It seems self and everyone are shocked about whatever it is and that happened and with that belief it will be hard without evidence to prove this is nothing other than cliff himself doing something wrong.
It’s not surprising a poster on .net has ties to the team and knows some one in his circle that has been hinting at behavior that has contributed to his slow development. He also said yesterday that he believes he’s gone after this year anyway. Self may have his first big man that ends up a bust
I am running out of fingers to cross in hopes that things do not evolve to damage this team’s accomplishments.
But something has seemed awry all season with the BRD. Had hoped it was injury.
Oh, well, I’ve still got toes to start crossing.
“Its what he does. Its all he does. And he absolutely will not stop until he has paradoxed you.” –Michael Biehn 2.0, as Kyle Reese 2.0, in a little seen sequel to Terminator called “Synchronator: The Rise the Okie Ballers”
Usually I’m one that would worry that our season could be damaged but Self doesn’t run that kind of program here and I’m just going to keep the faith that what this is, is a single person act (Cliff) doing something.
I believe there are 2 scenario’s in play. He was cleared by the NCAA to go to KU, then they find he took a benefit in HS after the fact. They suspend him for the remainder of the year for finding this out.
He was cleared by the NCAA and while at KU he’s talking to an agent which I believe is the most likely situation. I pray its not a booster that has gotten into his ear but we would hope Cliff isn’t that dumb. I hate to talk so brandish about someone but from the beginning he just hasn’t looked like he was invested into this team. Kelly certainly has bought in. Cliff has had singular games of development followed by consistent inconsistency. If he really has his head where it was supposed to be he would have taken the constant benching and coaching as learning experiences. We just haven’t seen it with him and it’s sad because everyone wants him to succeed but if he’s got 1 foot out the door already, why not kick the other foot out as well.
The bright side to this is Lucas can continue to develop with extra minutes and this has to be positive for recruiting if he’s gone
@BeddieKU23 Solid stuff there. I mean we have this top 5 kid who was supposed to be as good or better than TRob and he basically lays an egg during the season. I have to believe that someone has gotten into his ear. If he already has a perceived way out towards a 7 figure paycheck then why would he continue to do his best or buy in to what the Coach is laying down for his team? As you said, if the kid already has a foot out the door, we might as well kick the other foot out.
I dont know. He has not impressed me so far this season except a couple of good “break out” games. Even then, he could have done better. Its not like he was putting up TRob sort of numbers.
@DanR Not to mention all of those other programs that have had stink attached to them this season.
@drgnslayr If that comes to pass and Cliff has to sit out part of next year. I think he bails. I think he puts his name in the draft or heads to D league before the draft, just like that kid from UNC did the year before.
@BeddieKU23 he’s talking to an agent which I believe is the most likely situation.
This is exactly what I think is going on. Complete conjecture on my behalf, which isn’t really fair to Cliff. So I’ll slap my own hand here, but judging that this came out as the season wraps up my thoughts would be that if an individual were not happy in his current role, he might want to know how $green$ the grass might be in another pasture.
Let’s just say worst case scenario Cliff is done for the year. Obviously not exactly like losing JoJo last year right before the tournament but certainly not a good thing. He adds depth at the post if nothing else. Can KU get to a Final 4 with Jamari Traylor and Landen Lucas splitting time at the 5? My gut reaction is no. It worked yesterday when Perry Ellis went nuts. It worked yesterday when AFH was going crazy. I am not sure this works in 4 straight games on neutral courts. Not being a pessimist. Being a realist. This lack of depth at the 5 could be our undoing.
I believe your right. The lack of a true 5 we can throw the ball to is going to kill us. And we haven’t really seen anyone step up to the plate to take on a bigger role. Kelly can be that guy but its asking a lot for a freshman to be our 2nd leading scorer.
Mason has gotten out of control again driving to the hoop, he’s trying to do too much. I don’t fault him for trying to put this team on his back but his midrange and 3 point shooting are more important than him getting shots blocked. And you will notice when he does that he’s taken himself out of the play on defense because he’s going to the ground and the other team is on a run out.
For this team to be successful in the tournament its going to need stingy defense and great production from its bench. We can’t get goose egg games from Traylor, Graham and 2 points from Greene and truly expect to win games. Ellis has completely taken over and that’s great but he needs help. A collective help will do more than expecting near 30 points a game from Ellis. Teams in the tourney will double him, texas choose not to because of their size.
The only defense I have is that freshman T-Rob was no better than freshman Cliff. Putting Jr. Robinson’s year on Cliff’s freshman year is unfair. Cliff is a kid who clearly needs skill development wherever it might be before he can truly become a good player. We just expect so much from cliff because of the high school accolades he had and the fact that this team had a glaring weakness in the post. You would figure that he’d be better than Mari and Lucas combined but that’s not the facts.
@BeddieKU23 but, I do remember when they put 0 in as a freshmen, I was WOW!, this kid is a freakish athlete w/an incredible motor! I wanted more!
@Crimsonorblue22 The moment I knew TRob was destine for greatness came against (I think) Colorado St his sophomore year when he blocked a shot, fell to his butt, then was up again to block the same player’s putback attempt. It, to this day, is one of the most amazing basketball plays I’ve ever seen.
I absolutely agree, Cliff has given us those moments too but when you realize he was a top 5 high school player and he’s sitting the bench against role players your opinion of him leaves you wanting even more than we expected from #0 freshman year. The likelihood is we never get to see Cliff turn into the player thomas did.
In reading what stories are out there and his family attorneys comments I get the feeling, call it a wild-assed-guess, that someone in Cliffs family has had improper contact with an agent/advisor/shoeco rep. The key word that I keep seeing is 'famiy’s attorney". Nothing about KU getting legal help, nothing about Cliff, it’s all on the family. I do not know the rules but I do seem to remember that if anyone in the family gets bennies from certain people it comes back to whack the player. I’m sure if I’m wrong I will be corrected!
TO REPEAT THIS IS A WAG!!
Cliff was never going to produce this year the way we all expected or wanted him to. The problem with rankings, especially for post men, is that it is so easy for them in high school. Very rarely do they ever go up against someone of their caliber, especially if they are playing in a public school league.
A couple of posters hit it right on the head. Cliff is not close to the athlete that T-Rob was his freshman year, and his motor does not even compare. That would be like buying a moped and a motorcycle and expecting them to give the same performance. Just not going to happen. I believe he is more on par with a Jeff Withey (as a freshman) than Embiid or Okafor. Those guys are very, very few and far between.
The rankings absolutely killed Cliff as he has just not been able to translate his game from HS to D1 at this point.
“If that comes to pass and Cliff has to sit out part of next year. I think he bails.”
Good chance he will be forced to leave. Good chance he will have lost his amateur status.