The Myth Of Three Point Defense And Ellis Success

  • Most importantly, to begin, we are 2-2 in our last four games. In those four games, we have shot 42 three pointers (three of which came in scramble time vs. KSU). Approximately just 10 per game. In the last four games, Perry Ellis has played at his peak. The best Perry Ellis we can expect. But, again, we have gone just 2-2 in those games.

    I will start out here by saying that teams have clearly tried to guard our perimeter better. No doubt there.

    But it is a complete myth, a complete fiction, that we should be paralyzed on the perimeter because of it.

    Do not accept this narrative. It is intellectually dishonest. It is simply not true. More precisely, it is lazy. To accept this narrative – being brutally honest here – is a result of ignorance. Simply not knowing. If you are one that says, “Wow, we can’t shoot three pointers because other teams are guarding the perimeter more closely”, well, you simply don’t understand basketball offense. Challenge yourself.

    I know it is easier to accept the current storyline. I know it is easier to believe that we are doing all we can. But we aren’t. The fact is, Coach Self isn’t even trying to get three point looks. This became quite obvious to me in the recent TCU game – thus, my view that this season died on that date. It is over.

    If we are to believe that we can’t score from the perimeter because teams guard it, we are thus always at the whim of the defense – which again, is not true. Coaches are at the whim of the defense when they have no answer, when they are outcoached, or when they refuse to answer. In this case, we are here because our coach refuses to answer.

    There are no teams we are playing that post five players on the three point stripe.

    If you somehow accept Self’s game plan, I would reiterate, that with Perry Ellis playing at his peak, we have gone 2-2. That’s two losses. Perry Ellis has scored 19, 23, 24, and 29 points in the last four games. We are 2-2. We have shot just 42 three pointers in the four games. We are 2-2. And in the wins, we were up only 6 with three plus minutes to go, at home, to TCU; and we were up just one point, at home, against Texas, with 2:30 to play. Both games were in doubt. We have had no spectacular halves of basketball that were inspired this season by our perimeter game. We have been pedestrian on the offensive end.

    The only times that we have been spectacular offensively is when we have taken a large majority of your shot attempts from the perimeter. That is undeniable.

    Three point shooting and the perimeter game are not panaceas, they are not sure things – but they are the best path for this team, offensively, as constructed.

    Perry Ellis has become the focus of our offense. That focus has been more around Ellis driving the ball, as opposed to post feeds. Yesterday, in 13 attempted drives to the basket, Ellis scored just 3 times, and was fouled on another 3 attempts. On the other 7, he missed 3 times and either turned the ball over (3 times), or had it knocked away (we got the ball back.

    If we are relying upon this in March, we are in deep, deep trouble.

    As an alternative, I ask you to look at the Wichita St./UNI game for evidence. I was able to watch WSU play yesterday. It is one of many examples from around the country. A team with vast perimeter talent, focusing on its strengths.

    Wichita St. shot 24 three point shots, making 11. It was a beautiful offense to watch. And UNI was guarding the perimeter with everything it had. The difference is, WSU has a perimeter based offense that created not only open looks on the perimeter through screening and spacing, but opportunities inside as a result. They rarely had two guys in the paint, near to each other – very little lane clogging as happens in the high/low. Bit guys would screen out high, and roll to the hoop creating opportunities. It was smooth.

    Within Wichita St.'s offense, there were repeated screens on the perimeter. Four players were routinely on the perimeter. When a ball went into the post, WSU regularly had players positioned on the three point line for the kick out. And when players drove, WSU always had someone available on the three point line for the pass out of the drive.

    Take some time. Watch WSU’s offense. Then come and tell me that we are impotent in the face of teams guarding the perimeter. WSU was able to get and create three point attempts on the perimeter, even when guarded closely. And Wichita St. has a better at the rim FG percentage than we do running that offense.

    If you look at the ISU/KSU game yesterday, ISU got 27 three point attempts. Do you think KSU wasn’t guarding the perimeter against ISU, and wasn’t trying to take away three point attempts against ISU?

    We have shot just 42 three pointers in the last four games. We are now 17th in three point percentage in the nation. We are now 276th in three point attempts. It is simple math.

    The key is getting multiple attempts. That allows a team to work closer to its averages. Just because we go 1-8 doesn’t mean we should shoot them. As we seen many time before, we can go 6-8 in the next 8 attempts.

    The only reason we aren’t shooting them, is because coach Self has decided that we won’t shoot them – by word or deed. In the latter case, by refusing to adjust our attack to create those opportunities, in the face of teams guarding the perimeter.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, we simply do not scheme to get three point looks – other than the set play here and there. We did this once Saturday.

    The reason were aren’t getting as many looks in the last four games is the combination of Self wanting threes shot within his offense or only when unguarded, teams guarding the perimeter more closely, and Self doing nothing to scheme to get three point looks. It is a path chosen by coach Self. And it is stopping this team for maximizing its offensive potential.

    It’s easy to be excited by Ellis’ play. I absolutely love his aggressiveness. He’s doing terrific. But this isn’t about Perry. It’s about the best offensive attack for this team.

    We may be excited by Perry Ellis’ game yesterday, right? But we shouldn’t be. Our effective field goal percentage yesterday was the 6th worst ever for a coach Self team at Kansas. Repeating – our 6th worst ever for a coach Self team at Kansas.

    Ellis received the ball on a post feed six times where he attempted shots yesterday. He scored 2 times, missed 4, and was not fouled on any attempts. Further, our post feed attempts to the other post players resulted in zero baskets. None. So that’s four points on post feeds.

    Yesterday, above all, Ellis relied on whistles. The ultimate Fool’s Gold. Ellis was fouled on three drives, one fast break, and a couple of scramble/put back plays – he was 10-12 from the line. Not something I want to bank this team’s future one.

    All this when we have what coach Self called the best perimeter shooting team since he’s been at Kansas.

    And for the record, Perry Ellis was not nearly as effective as it might appear. Ellis was 9/21 from the field. He shot just 40% at the rim. Volume scoring. Here’s my breakdown:

    1. On Drives: Ellis made 4, missed 3, turned the ball over 3 times, and lost another we recovered. He was fouled four times for free throws. One of the drives he got blocked off the first tip, and another was a fast break where he was fouled. This element resulted in just 50% total effectiveness based on attempts, in combination with free throws.

    2. On Post Feeds: Ellis made 2, and missed 3.

    3. On Scrambles/Follow Shots: Ellis made 2, missed 2, and was fouled once for free throws.

    4. Lobs: He got one lob, on a set play, for a dunk.

    5. Jumpers: Ellis was one of two, making a 15 footer, and missing a three.

    If you balance out the numbers, Ellis scored on just under 50% of his overall efforts, between baskets and free throws. He worked very hard yesterday.

    However, balance that 50%, at two points a pop, against three pointers at our team rate of 40%, and it’s no contest. It is demonstrative of the misguided nature of Self’s offense this season. Perry Ellis gets 29 points (27 related to near the basket efforts), and we have the 6th lowest effective field goal percentage game in Self’s tenure.

    Coach Self talks of Fool’s Gold, as if it only applies to perimeter shooing – he had his famous rant after the Texas Tech win where we went a tremendous 11-20 from three point range, and blew out a TT team on its home floor, where it has beaten ISU, Baylor, and OSU. Remember those days? When we did shoot three pointers? But it was the ridiculous Fool’s Gold comment that set this all in motion.

    It was the follow-up to the Utah game. Self uttered “Fool’s Gold” on our television for all to see. That after an amazing first half against Utah were we torched Utah with a blazing perimeter game, jumping out to 20 point lead. Then, we saw that lead evaporate when Self dictated a return to the pound it inside mantra. After that game, I detailed the possessions of the second half disaster. Horrific. All Self-made.

    And Self acts as if missing perimeter shots is the only risk in the NCAA tourney – which is what the Fool’s Gold stuff alludes to. The “you can’t count on it” thing.

    Of course, we have seen our inside game go awry. Meaning, we can miss close shots just as easy as outside shots. Perhaps more so with this team. It happens all the time. It’s part of the game, missing shots that is. We’ve missed them all season. We missed close shots against Stanford. They were big, and contested them. We have a team that doesn’t score well inside. Heck, against KSU, Self again lamented the fact of how we got close shots, and that we missed bunnies.

    Jesse Newell shot me a tweet after Self’s press conference –


    Who out there can’t see this?

    So is Self misguided? Kind of. Meaning, if you have a team that scores reliably at the rim, then I think I go with coach Self. The “at the rim” percentages of 65% or so on post ups. But folks, this isn’t that team. This team cannot score reliably at the rim. It certainly can’t score on post feeds. Now, our last real hope of improvement (Cliff) may be on the shelf.

    If we continue down this path, we will be placing our season in the hands of Traylor, Lucas, and Mickelson. By contrast, would you rather place it in the hands of Mason, Greene, Oubre, Selden, Graham, and Ellis from outside?

    It comes down to a simple item. What’s the better risk with this team? That’s all.

    Coach Self has chosen the wrong path.

    Perhaps the Fool’s Gold comments are because coach Self feels threatened. Perhaps coach Self felt deep in the the bowels of his soul that if this team were able to achieve and win from the perimeter, it would threaten the very fabric and foundation of what he holds dear. It would threaten the core of what he teaches. If a team could actually win like this, the pound it inside philosophy would be forever threatened. The concept that attempting to score inside is always better than attempting to score outside. His “my way or the highway” way of winning would be compromised.

    Or perhaps he’s just hard-headed.

    How can a man in Self’s position see other teams win in different ways, with different schemes, and be so diametrically opposed to change? Even with a team that just can’t do it his way?

    Whatever. I don’t care.

    What I care about is the destruction of something I hold very dear. And it is occurring right before my eyes. It is not only sad, but it is unnecessary.

    This team is a Final Four team. This team is a National Championship team. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This team has high level talent. Kansas can win the national championship.

    We know the post-script to this season, That we weren’t really that good anyway. That it was coach Self who got this team to its peak. That this team really overachieved. That we were “just so young.” That this team didn’t have a true big man, and thus couldn’t achieve greatness.

    Or now, that we lost Cliff. Like last season. We lost Embiid. Meanwhile, we totally ignore that we do not play to our team’s offensive talents (this season) and that we continued to play the same pound it inside game last March without Embiid – nearly losing to EKU and losing to Stanford. See any similarities?

    It’s all “crap” – using one of Self’s favorite words. It is crap.**

  • @HighEliteMajor All the pundits said yesterday was that KU was not a Final Four team. Self being interviewed at half said “I wish we could make a three.” Then, just to show you where this quote came from


  • It seems all you hear is -

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  • @HighEliteMajor said:

    this season died on that date. It is over.

    If this is true, at least when we die, we do it like royalty – Challenging for the crown and threatening to take the gold and jewels into the afterlife.

    There are, after all, so many ways to die.

  • @HighEliteMajor Shucks, HEM, I imagine that yammerin’ end-of-game bloody bickerin’ Bilas would agree with you. Perhaps J. Newell, too. Me, I’m just so BadBall exhausted that I can’t think beyond Tues. night vs. WVU. Of course, I confess again to being one of those skeptical old guys who worships league titles, then relaxes for the gravy runs. Maybe Self has found the way to maintain his Big 12 dominance before attempting to shake rust from his perimeter game? Probably no follower of KU Hoops can imagine this squad advancing to the Final 4 with yesterday’s brand of offense. I continue to admire the Guy’s grit and ingenuity. Not to mention his extraordinary winning record. He is protecting AFH Wins like none other.

  • So 1-8 is not a three shooting slump.? If we were 6-20 like Texas we would have been playing to yesterday’s strength. I see your point, I truly do, but winning 11 straight means a lot to very many fans. When Vaughn, Raef, Paul, Scott and that team lost, I realized that the NCAA is a Crap Shoot. Every year I want us to do well, and this year, my argument for Self’s way was to win however we could to insure a better seed to insure advancing further in the Vegas Crap Shoot known as the NCAA Tournament.

  • I would buy that this team can challenge for a NC if Cliff were to develop like we hoped he would…even before the Issue (whatever it is) it didn’t appear that was going to happen. But, HEM, you make good points. We need both some semblance of a threat of an inside game and a good outside game to go all they way (or even challenge).

  • I am so sick of your negativity directed at coach self, please go find another team.

  • @wrwlumpy – you know the “crap” reference was twofold, as Self said after the UK game that “game planning” was “crap.” I wonder, why focus on that part of the post?

    If the NCAA tourney is such a crap shoot, why is that good programs always seem to win it? I don’t disagree that it can be, and is many times is, volatile, but it certainly is not a roll of dice. Further, it only takes four wins to get to the promised land (Final Four).

    Ok, so you believe that Kansas is not a Final Four team because pundits said it yesterday? Just a few weeks ago those pundits were saying Kansas was in the group of potential FF teams.

    Sure, Self mentioned shooting threes. But do you disagree that he wants them within the normal offense or when open? Do you agree that we don’t scheme to get them other than a few set plays here and there)? Do you agree that teams have played tighter on the perimeter? Do agree that the combination of those factors have led to the large reduction in our three point attempts?

    After the Texas Tech game, did you believe we were a Final Four team?

    @welladjustedhawk - How about don’t read what I post? Easy to do. I’m not many folks’ cup of tea. Or, better yet, give me some substance as to why I’m wrong. Try breaking down Ellis’ performance. It’s just my take on the numbers. Was his performance really an effective one? Or give me some X’s and O’s as to how a team can simply eliminate a team’s three point weaponry with little more than a whimper. If you were able to watch WSU yesterday, how in the world did they go 11-24 against a team busting their tails to guard the perimeter, as UNI was doing?

  • @wrwlumpy He does hear us! Honk! Honk!

  • @HighEliteMajor Ellis wasn’t the only one getting fouled and making free throws. Wasn’t that a team effort to get to the bonus and score at the line? Bilas seemed to think it was a strategy that was working.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I wish I could disagree with you but alas, I can’t.

    Waaaaay too much evidence and stats to back it up. I’d never question your loyalty to KU hoops or even Coach Self. But it’s okay to question his tactics. Just like it’s okay to question our Presidents policies w/out being a racist.

    Watching this team bomb threes against TT and the first half against Utah (ranked #13 now btw) was BEAUTIFUL! It was playing to our strengths.

    The numbers don’t lie. I’d say counting on inside play to win 6 games in the dance is fools gold.

  • @HighEliteMajor I am seeing what you mean. Self ran 2 sets for Greene to get an open shot. Missed both, I believe the 2nd was tipped, and that was all for the day. Svi came in later and I believe there was a set ran for him but it fell apart early and I did not see exactly how. Of course even when 3 shooter is open in the corner they tend to be ignored. I am beginning to believe that is by design rather than by chance.

    The way KU took it inside early seemed to me would open up the outside and I kept waiting for them to take advantage. Was disappointed it didn’t happen.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I agree with everything you say. But I started looking at myself and realized I matched the definition of “insanity.” So I refocused to what Self is doing and it helped me see a different approach.

    Self definitely began swimming against the current when he pushed away from the 3-pt line. But that doesn’t mean he won’t go back to adding more perimeter offense. It will be a shame if he doesn’t.

    It helped for me to step back from all of this and start appreciating Self, the coach. I’ve only ever conversed with him very briefly. But if I knew him well, I’m guessing he might be similar to Mark Twain. I definitely know I see him as the “Riverboat Gambler.” In doing so… I’ve come to think that he isn’t quite as simple-minded as I thought… in fact, he may have been playing me as the simple mind.

    If we had kept to the 3-pt emphasis all year might it have started backfiring? I’m not questioning your post and the FACT that we haven’t been running real perimeter offense lately. But if we had kept going down that path… would it have worked now? Not sure I can say it would. Perhaps. But then we are facing teams that have 4 guys out on the perimeter. Where ever we put a guy, there can be a defender.

    And even though we are a great perimeter shooting team… even our perimeter game has holes. Take Brannen… he can’ only spot up shoot. Take him a step away, or make him dribble and he goes from a huge threat to no threat. I don’t have lots of faith in any of our guys to hit the perimeter shot if guarded.

    Through our recent struggle… we have definitely awakened Perry Ellis. He has never played at this level before. There is a good chance he won’t go back to soft.

    Whether we like to think different or not… our offense needs to work through Perry. That doesn’t mean we don’t run perimeter offense. Our perimeter threat helps spread the defense… but so does Perry! Perry is a legitimate threat to score in midrange and the rim. Teams will have to honor that moving forward.

    I have bashed my brains out because this team had a chance to gain their identity as a perimeter shooting team. I felt like Self really blew that opportunity with his “fools gold” comment.

    But since I stopped my own insanity I have been able to open my mind up to Self’s strategy. He needed us to be able to score in the post, either by Perry or Kelly or whomever. That helps spread the defense, too. And he is right. We couldn’t ever hope to continue success without post scoring.

    These are growth pains we are going through… but seeing Perry and Kelly attack is something we haven’t really got to enjoy all year. Both have shown signs before… but never to this level. We actually outscored Texas in the post!

    I am also starting to think the easy 3 buckets makes this team play soft. I didn’t really think that would be the case… but I see why Self is suddenly saying:

    “We played tough. For the most part we carried out scouting report. We played through Perry. When you don’t make shots from the perimeter against a team like that (KU hit one of eight threes to UT’s six of 20), it’s hard to score inside. I thought our guys played very well and very tough,” Self added.

    I hope this ends up helping us from the perimeter again.

    Teams change during the year. And at this time of year, what counts heavily is the fact that every team scouts very well. They have lots of games to base their scouting on. I’m glad we aren’t a one-dimensional perimeter shooting team. That would be “fools gold.” But we will still have to come around to bring back the 3, or we will be be a post-playing “fools gold” team.

    The season is long… and we have to keep our opponents guessing.

    Just look at ISU. Their offense is something to admire. They also lost at KSU… and even lost at home to Baylor. You have to keep changing your offensive flow during the year or you become stale because teams scout you out and start challenging your strengths.

    Our biggest weapon moving forward… we are THE TEAM WITHOUT AN IDENTITY!

    I never would have guessed that would be something positive this late in the season. Just goes to show that my experiences as a player don’t make me a coach. I’m not totally giving in to any of this… but at least now I can sleep well at night… What I lose sleep on is player development these days… I’ve been grouchy as all heck because of it. But my main goal is to avoid Einstein’s definition of INSANITY!

    Rock on… HEM!

  • Using your standard, the 2008 team was a Davidson three from not being great. I just refuse to follow that logic.

  • Also, there is a possibility that this team does not even have the mental capacity or BB IQ to learn these offensive sets to get them open threes. They can’t even run the chop without getting in each others way.

  • @HighEliteMajor I agree with you some of your points, but not on some others. Sometimes we tend to think that the key to success is this, or that. Sometimes we miss the forest for the trees.

    "I will start out here by saying that teams have clearly tried to guard our perimeter better. No doubt there.

    But it is a complete myth, a complete fiction, that we should be paralyzed on the perimeter because of it."

    You are completely right. But that is not the reason that we are paralyzed. I contend that we are just not a good offensive team. Slayer and I discussed this last night. Here is what I posted:

    "I feel your frustration about long ball offense, but I feel the problem is not about focusing on an inside game or outside game. We are just not a good offensive team, inside or out.

    We have 3-4 good individual shooters on this team, but they cannot get looks on their own, they cannot catch and shoot good after moving in the offense, they aren’t good at making themselves available as an outlet on fastbreaks, we aren’t good at kicking the ball out drives, we aren’t good finishing drives to make a defense have to suck in just to be able to kick out, and the team can’t set a screen without fouling. They can only hit open looks. They are very deadly at open looks, but not if they have to doing anything but just stand there, get the ball, the shoot it with perfect timing and set feet. Contrast this to other good shooters that we’ve had, B-Mac, Mario, BRush, Sherron. These guys would miss if “too open”. B-Mac was deadly in the “elevator play”, but Greene would probably miss that shot 9 to of 10 times. We haven’t seen anyone knock down a shot on the “chop play” since Conner last year.

    I contest the only way to get open looks is to have an inside game that has to be respected, to the point defenders sag off our perimeter guys. Selden got hot for a few games because his defenders were playing off, daring him to shoot. After a couple games they are right back on him, because they know he can’t finish even if he gets around them. And his 3% has gone back to crap.

    Notice when we did hit a lot of 3s, all the scoring was perimeter and nothing down low. And notice now that the defenses are pushing our guys out, that Perry’s numbers have gone up. The opposing game plan is now to make Perry have to beat you, and force Oubre, Mason, and Wayne to drive. If we had a good 2 man game down low, then the perimeter open back up.

    We just aren’t a good enough team (in many aspects) to get whatever shot we want. We have to take what they give us. I think Self wants our 3 point shooters unleashed, and right now, this late in the season, the only chance is if Perry remains a 20-30 point scorer and we win with that enough that opponents give us back our open 3’s. If Greene wants to make it rain from 3 land in the tourney, and go for 25 a game; then he better be the biggest cheerleader for Perry dropping 30/game from now through the end of the season.

    This is a team game. Sometimes it’s not about doing more of your best thing, but minimizing what you’re the worst at. The best thing-shooting outside shots. The worst thing-running an offense (any offense) as a team.

    Self is trying to build a better team."

    We don’t know if Self has been trying to get them good looks or not. Maybe they work on this stuff in practice and they just can’t knock down the shots coming off of screens. Maybe we aren’t good enough to set screens without fouling. We know that was a problem earlier in the year. Maybe we just can’t execute any scheme perimeter or not. Maybe our perimeter game just is what it is.

    “If we are to believe that we can’t score from the perimeter because teams guard it, we are thus always at the whim of the defense – which again, is not true.”

    Again very true statement, but you are at the whim of your players skills and ability, as well as, what the defense gives or takes away.

    Slayer responded to my above post with a comment about how we need other players to be able to create their own shot. And not play “team ball” by just passing and ball around the perimeter. This is what I responded with:

    "Agree, but the ones who create have to learn to create for others as well.

    I don’t think this team reads defenses very well at all. Frank can blow by almost anyone guarding him, but before he goes, he needs to have an idea of what to do and thus direct teammates to where they need to be to take advantage of his drive. He needs to set up an outlet on the perimeter, a easy score for someone down low, and for someone to be in position for a rebound if he does take the shot himself. I know I always go back the 08 team for examples, but they were the best at running this offense. If they didn’t get the look they wanted after about 20 seconds one of the guards would call for the ball back out to the key, they would motion the guy into certain positions and then take off to the basket and somebody would get a good look. Jackson and Kahn were very effective 5’s because they went to where the other could create for them. I believe you could put Landen on that 08 team as a starter and he would average 10ppg just for being where RussRob and Mario told him to be.

    When this team passes the ball around, not letting it stick, it seems they are just going through the motions, instead of passing and probing with purpose to move the defense. How many times in the past have we seen the ball get reversed with no good looks, and they would all move about 5 feet to one side, do it again, and that time have a good angle for one of the bigs to seal and get a good shot; or (if the defense overplayed) reverse and have an open perimeter shot.

    The key missing ingredient for this team is no floor general, no coach on the floor."

    You make some great points about WSU and ISU, but do you think any of those teams are Final Four teams? IMO, the best perimeter shooter/scorer in recent memory was JJ Reddick. In his 4 seasons at Duke, they had a perimeter based offense 3 of the 4. The only season they made it to the Final Four was the year they had a balanced offense of inside and out. And JJ Reddick is 3 times the offensive threat that any of our guys are this year.

    The last few years (when we have had really good post play) we have all railed at Self for not developing a perimeter game and for not developing his bench, even if it cost us some regular season games or even the conference title. Well, that’s what he’s doing. We’ve had perimeter games, post games, and bench developing games. So we’ve dropped a few games, played a few close games, big deal. There is no doubt in my mind that if we went through this whole season with post players attempting only 10 shots/game and the rest just jacking up threes, our 3% would look much worse and we would all be complaining about how we should be developing other parts of the game.

    So is Self misguided? No. He sees this team for what it is. A post game full of holes, and a perimeter game full of holes. Do I want to place our season in the hands of Traylor, Lucas, and Mickelson? No. Do I want to place it in the hands of Mason, Greene, Oubre, Selden, Graham, and Ellis from the outside? No. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Self knows what he has on the outside. He is finding out what he has on the inside. Now he has the rest of the season to figure out how to play them together as a team. Both inside and outside have to get better because neither one will get us to a Final Four. Can this team be a Final Four team? Yes, but only as a team.

    "We know the post-script to this season, That we weren’t really that good anyway. That it was coach Self who got this team to its peak. That this team really overachieved. That we were “just so young.” That this team didn’t have a true big man, and thus couldn’t achieve greatness. "

    I know you’ve supported the idea that players usually play to their rankings. Well don’t you think this has played to their individual rankings on average? I mean, throw out Cliff, because obviously there is something else going on there. Kelly ranked pretty high because athleticism and open floor play. Selden, he has been a disappointment. Maybe because of injury. But Mason, Greene, Oubre, Graham, Ellis, Traylor, Lucas, and Mickelson; haven’t they all played at or above their rankings? And here we sit leading the toughest conference, and probably looking at a 2 seed in the tourney. A chance to make a Final Four if we can play as a team. Sounds about right to me.

    I love your post and passion for the Jayhawks. You are one of my favorite poster on here. And I may be totally wrong, but I just don’t think our outside game is as good as you think it is. I also don’t think Self is opposed to a perimeter dominated offense. In fact the 08 ring team was very perimeter dominated, and that team would wipe the floor with this one.

  • Self is looking for an every game match up advantage.

    He can’t find one among any of his guys except Perry.

    Perry has been forcibly turned into what Self has always said is the toughest player to guard in D1–the Stretch 4.

    Self knows he has the trey guns.

    But to him they are complementary at most.

    Bad Ball with a stretch 4 is what he has decided is a match up and scheme problematic even for UK, Duke, UA, and the rest of the Top 8.

    He has decided that primary dependence on trey ball shooting would be a dead end. Why? I believe it is because he is confident that any of the Top 8 teams could pretty easily drive our trey ballers out to a distance where the trey ball percentage would not stay high enough. I know you doubt this is feasible to do, but everything I have read is that trey ball accuracy goes out 2 percent every foot farther out you go to take the shot. And I frankly don’t see how any of our trey ballers except Brannen could get a trey off within a foot of the trey stripe against, say UK even with screens. You just switch off and with 6-6 perimeter guys UK can block Wayne’s, Devonte’s and Frank’s shot every time, unless they keep pulling two feet farther out. Now, if you think about it, Frank’s knees are shot. Wayne really can’t jump a lick with his lost pop. And Devonte is 6-2 and he is not exactly Trey Burke on the range index. So: UK with four footers in the paint, can afford to guard our trey ballers out to 35 feet if necessary. And they’ve got a 6 OAD/TAD grade tall perimeter players, plus that one little short guy. So I think Self decided that Bad Ball with a stretch 4 and trey ballers to fall back on if teams packed it in was a recipe that could, if the team got hot, go all the way, plus win an 11th title on the way.

    Bad Ball is here to say.

    Another driver of the institutionalization of Bad Ball are the problems of the bigs themselves, as the season wore on.

    Cliff was going to be the guy that out ran the footer both directions, but then Cliff struggled, cratered and had this NCAA thing arise, which the skeptic in me will not totally believe came up out of the blue.

    Jamari, who was explosive at the beginning of the season, and could give us blocks and steals, but no rebounding or scoring, first lost his explosiveness from injury, and is now basically a walking invalid.

    Landen–Landen revealed that he really can’t take on air and he can’t block shots or rebound much. He can guard the post, but that’s it.

    So: our composite 5 that we started the season with became more and more feckless as the season went on. And so when one fires up the treys, from 28-32 feet, as one would increasingly have to do, there would be little or no rebounding from the 5 and so little rebounding at all, without our perimeter guys trying to get in and snag boards rather than be out running action out 28-32 feet from the rebounds.

    The only chance this team has to win a title, or a ring, is Bad Ball in Self 's mind.

    And I suspect he is right.

    I think the future is treys, but you have to have some bigs that can run and fetch the rebounds and we don’t have them. The only way this team can get the rebounds it got against Texas is by playing Bad Ball–where lots of guys can be around the basket when we are blocked. 🙂

    I know its ugly and counter intuitive.

    I know the future of the game is trey ball.

    But for this team?

    Bad Ball is the most logical path forward for it.

    This team is decimated by injury, by wear and tear and by Cliff’s removal.

    Bad Ball with a stretch 4 and some trey balling to fall back on is not a bad scheme for this bunch of walking wounded.

    Frank was our most reliable full time trey baller until February, then his wheels gave out and he can’t hit shizz inside or outside now.

    Wayne can make his hop shot–he can’t shoot a jump shot–from three.

    Brannen, for whatever reason, has not been making what few open look treys he takes.

    I know if we took 30 treys a game, Brannen’s shot would come back. But do you really want to hang the season on Brannen? As much as I like trey balling, and as much as I like Brannen, I would rather gamble on Perry than Brannen. Wayne? He couldn’t get his hop shot trey off against the starting perimeters of the Top 8 teams come madness no matter how much action we ran for him. Devonte? If he could get them off they would just butcher him till he started coughing it up everywhere.

    I don’t know if Self can find a way to get Perry to score 20-25 points against the Top 8 teams in the country. But I know this Bad Ball keeps it very close, however he is doing it.

    I know you emphasize that KU is 2-2 the last four games. And if we were playing conventional basketball, with everyone healthy, and a credible front court, 2-2 would be considered a near complete melt down.

    But given the injuries and removal of Cliff, and the limits of our players, I think 2-2 is good enough in Bad Ball.

    The object right now is to win the Conference Title the surest way possible, then blow off the Conference tournament and buy our guys the maximum amount of time to mend.

    I am not leaving the faithful about the future of trey ball.

    But the train left the station on this team being a credible trey balling team when the legs began to fail inside and outside,

    Bad Ball with a stretch 4 shifts this team into scoring through its two best players–Perry and Kelly, and defaults into FT shooting, which this team does pretty well.

    I have even rationalized the taking the repeated blocks.

    The blocks lead either to fouls and FT shooting which we don’t have to rebound.

    Or the blocks lead to rebounds where the other team’s shot blocker has already committed to shot blocking rather than rebounding. Our 5 simply cannot rebound ever, So it is best to drive at his man, get him to commit to blocking, and then he fouls some, and misses the block some, and when he does block it, our non 5s have at least a chance at a board.

    One of the things everyone has been overlooking in the Texas KU game is that KU rebounded about evenly with a vastly taller, stronger and better rebounding team that KU. Think about it. Cliff was in street clothes. Jamari couldn’t jump and didn’t play hardly at all. Landen but for his one stuff barely took on air. So, how did KU stay even on the boards. One key was giving Perry 21 FGAs that drew his big out of rebounding and into chasing a stretch 4. The other key was all the driving by Frank and Kelly. Each time they drove and Perry was on the stretch 4 movement away from he basket, Perry’s big was with him away from th basket and and the other Texas big was committing to the driver, which meant KU’s other guys had a good chance for a rebound, or Perry did, because he knew what was coming and would crash after pulling his man away from the basket.

    Bad Ball infuriating, nerve wracking and counter intuitive.

    But the team has proven it wins sharply more often than Fred’s offense, more often than Scott’s offense, more often than everyone’s but Lon Kruger, who is playing conventional Okie Baller offense, because he has a viable set of bigs to work with, plus some outside shooters.

    The OU KU game will be really fascinating to see if Bad Ball can beat conventional Okie Ball.

    If WVU were healthy with Staten playing at the same level he did in Morgantown, I reckon WVU would beat us again in Lawrence, given how beat up Frank is. And what a poor ball handler Wayne is and how limited Brannen is in that regard. I know what Self has up his sleeve for Huggie. And Huggie knows it too. Self SAVED Devonte for the WVU game; that was pretty clear. Self was determined to spend his already injured Mason for a win against Texas, which doesn’t press, so that he would have Devonte ready to go big minutes against WVU if Frank’s health continues to deteriorate.

    Will we beat WVU? If Staten is healthy and they play as they did in Morgantown, no, I don’t think we can hold our TOs down enough to beat their press.

    Bad Ball with a stretch 4 requires at least holding TOs even to have a good shot at winning. You really have to be plus on minus on TOs and plus on strips to have a good chance of winning.

    I suspect Self will assess how we do with handling the press and how Perry fares scoring on them. If we don’t handle the press well, or Perry struggles against them, I suspect we will see Self give Kelly a huge number of touches, everyone will just drive the entire game in hopes of a home whistle and winning it at the FT line, and past that Self will just basically say, WVU is a bad match up for us (which they are), and wait to try to win it in Norman.

    Could we see a burst of trey balling either versus WVU , or OU? If Bad Ball doesn’t work for sure. But I think Bad Ball will be tried no matter what. It just offers too many different advantages given our weaknesses from talent, injury, and suspension not to do it.

    Rock Chalk!!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    “I’m not many folks’ cup of tea.”

    Out of everything you say… this is the one statement I’m willing to flat out call wrong!

    You have plenty of conviction, knowledge of the game, and definite love for Jayhawk basketball. Don’t ever feel like an outcast in here because it just isn’t true! These qualities I mention because I hope in a few years, when my kids gets older, you are coaching somewhere so I can entrust my children under your wisdom and conviction.

  • The “path of least resistance” is the path many of us are taught, both in the academic world and real world. But I’m a firm believer it is seldom the road to take in building a winning program.

    I don’t think many of us will challenge the idea that Self took the easy road here. A few weeks ago, the obvious was for him to play to the long ball. As we were succeeding… he turned left instead of right. He went counter intuitive for reasons we can only guess. From our result against Texas, and his comments to follow, it appears as if he has been trying to teach toughness. Let’s face it… inside out or outside in, this team won’t win jack without toughness. That has been in question all year.

    I’m sick of hearing my wife call everyone on this team (except Frank) the big “P” word. I’m most sick of it because I was believing it, too.

    I’m never ashamed of Kansas basketball if our team plays their guts out. I don’t care if we lose to the Topeka YMCA as long as we gave it our all. But I can’t stand a team that doesn’t put out the effort, even in a win. This team has largely been playing soft all year. The two big times we really stepped up was against Texas. Let’s see if they can maintain this toughness.

    Over the last few games… this is the first time I’ve felt really satisfied with Perry. I’ve been watching that kid play for most of his life. He hit a roadblock in D1. Ever since he missed that last second shot in WVU he has been a different player… he’s been playing like a man. Kudos, Perry! Now keep it up! Read his comments… he sounds like another person.

    All I want to see from here on out is a team that leaves their guts on the court. No more “P” ball! I hope they win, and I think they will win if they just do that.

    Many of us usually complain because we feel like Self puts too much emphasis on the conference season and not enough on March… In this case… it looks like he has gambled with all of our safety margin in the conference in order to try to build a tougher team. Will it work? We will have to wait and see… but I do really think he is focused harder on March this year than in past years.

  • HighEliteMajor, I am sorry about earlier, the fact is I love your posts. They are filled with a lot more knowledge about the game than I could ever come up with. Im also not good at language or

  • HEM, keep on pumpin’! I study every word you write. Sometimes I grow furious and inclined to counter your theses, but in the big picture I know less than dogturds about this sport. About all I really have a clue to is PEOPLE and HUMAN MOTIVES; and I know just a little bit more about those than I know about my own self. Several of you knowledgeable posters have really enlightened me about the game. I cherish the opportunity to read all these posts. I DID coach championship teams, but in a different milieu. I still barely know an X from an O.

  • @HighEliteMajor Did you ever think that Self is protecting the long ball strategy for when he needs it most? The postseason?

    I think Self knows how to win Big12 games and championships. He knows that he can impose his will on the rest of the league and tough out championship. He knows that hi/ lo wins confrence games. I mean, he has the statistical data to back it up.
    But if he goes out every game now and runs an outside in gameplan, then he is “showing his hand”, so to speak. Why give tournament teams a wealth of video to study up on you and scheme to stop? Why not forcibly make this team good or efficient at the hi/ lo, so that when a team goes to shut that down, our 3 ballers will make it rain.

    Coach knows his team, I think you should give him a little bit of credit for being crafty here. I think he’s shaping this team to be the ultimate conundrum come March. He has a bit of sneaky devil in him, as we saw in the 2012 tournament with the junk defenses.

    It’s hard to argue w your logic, I would just tell you that, maybe, his plan is a bit more than surface deep. RCJH

  • @highelitemajor I am with @drgnslayr. Your post always challenge the way I think about KU. I may not agree with some aspects, but you have also changed the way I think about a lot of stuff too. Don’t stop!

    What makes me wonder about this team is just the lack of 3 point attempts. Even for a Self team, it is on the low end. And on this team nonetheless, that is inexcusable. I only have two scenarios to why this is the case.

    1.) This team doesn’t run the action and have the crisp passing necessary to get open looks from the 3. Past teams have shot more 3s with lesser shooters and a better post presence. This leads me to believe that we can’t make defenses scramble when they double Perry, the ball sticks when passing, and we lack crispness when setting screens and coming off them.

    2.) Self knows that you can’t string together tough wins in the tourney without a post presence. If Self stopped trying to get the ball inside, does Perry progress like he has? I don’t think so. I have to hold out hope that Self will run more outside action since Perry has finally learned to always be in attack mode.

    Or their is a 3rd option. And it is Self is either ignorant to not run anything for shooters or cares more about his style than he does getting wins.

    I would prefer not to assume that last but the longer the season progresses, the more it is looking like a reality.

  • @ZIG I, too, have sensed Bill Self’s craftiness in not pressing his potential outside-in offense for several weeks. We know it exists, even though in game minutes it grows rusty from disuse. If he can win this league title without it, will he allow it to emerge in the league tourney? Opposing coaches must plan warily. There is an edge in what he is doing.

  • @ZIG Good point about the “junk” defenses. I too have wondered why he seemed to be sandbagging. It’s not like his guys have forgotten how to dial long distance. I fully understood the 2nd half vs KSU-we’re in a one & one 4 min into the 2nd half. We just couldn’t get calls on the road. I don’t think anyone does in this conf anymore. Is like the refs are all scared to make calls against the home crowd, unless its a hand check. Poorest officiating this year I can recall in a decade. Bigs beat hell outta each other & the little guys get called for touch fouls. Seems like refs just don’t have the balls to stand their ground anymore. JMO

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Second this motion of @drgnslayr .

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Great post, one of your best I have read in a long time. It goes right with the Feb 21st the day the season died post.

    We certainly saw 20 different ways this team could lose a game but still pulled it out. If it wasn’t the constant fouling on drives, letting guards blow right by, terrible out of bounds defense, non-existent transition defense, missed shot after shot and yet we still won while making 1 3.

    1 Three from Mason which totally changed the momentum of the game. This team thrives off momentum and to think that we wouldn’t want to use that to our advantage all the time is beyond me.

    A blue blood team that knows who they are is Duke. They shoot the 3 religiously while doing enough of everything else to win games. A dominate 3 point shooting team comes to KU and Self does everything he can to kill that dream. We just have to accept that our coach don’t give a damn about scheming for any other way that he doesn’t see fit. We will either die with it or in the tournament this team will find ways to score from the perimeter.

    I tend to think we will die with it but until we see how this team responds to tournament atmosphere/matchup I can’t predict for sure which team we will see.

  • Great post and you make some great points. I’ve been thinking maybe HCBS has been purposely making us run our offense thru the post before anyone even thinks about a 3. Kind of an over correction to relying on the 3 for wins ? Hopefully when the tourney starts HCBS will open the offense up a bit and it starts raining threes again !!!

  • Sure, the three could be KU’s strength, but it’s just not a magic bullet. We have to have a go-to guy when you need points.

    Iowa State… also 2-2 last four games. Averaged 23 3-point attempts per game and made 35-92. That’s 38% which is pretty close to KU’s season average.

    How did ISU do in those last 4 games? Same as KU 2-2.

    Cold (6-20 from 3) @ OSU and won

    Hot (12-21) @ TX and won

    Ice Cold (6-24) Baylor and lost

    Warm (11-27) @ KSU and lost

    This is deep in the b12 and opponents know what you’ve got. So what do I get from that? Both KU and ISU need to have more than one weapon in the arsenal.

    As far as I’m concerned, if the last 4-5 games have given Perry the lift he needed to be the go-to guy we didn’t have previously in crunch time, then GREAT. We can build on that better than shooting 25 three pointers the past four games.

    All self has to do now is tell the little bulldog and Perry to kick it out once in a while, and maybe have Brannen actually move around to get open instead of pitching a tent out there at the arc. Get him him and Wayne out of the corners out another 2 feet and give them some space.

    I’m actually happier with where we’re at now than after the TT game.

  • @HighEliteMajor Just a speculation here, I think Cliff might be done for the season. We have a lot of basketball left. Given the impotency of our post offense and the holes in our perimeter defense. Do you think Self might be more likely to rely on our 5 or 6 guys that can get him fools gold points with drives drawing whistles and with treys? I mean, since we have to assume Cliff is gone, what else can Coach rely on? Like you said, its simple math. No way we make a deep run in the madness with reliance on Traylor, Lucas and Mickelson… Our “black hole at the 5.”

  • @HighEliteMajor I would like to stress your point that KU Cannot Rely on Mason and Perry, Selden and Devonte and Oubre driving to the hoop to create shots and draw whistles near the bucket. It is “fools gold” as well. You all have seen the refs swallow their whistles against KU with almost regular predictability. What does anyone think will happen in the NCAA’s? Will KU miraculously get the whistles it didnt get during the conference like it should have?? Nope, I dont think so. Therefore, reliance on the drives to the hoop to draw fouls are also fools gold. KU cant rely on that either!

  • @jaybate-1.0 Both you and @HighEliteMajor are giving very solid, rational logics to the state of KU ball and how Coach Self must proceed to win games. Something tells me that the truth lies somewhere in the middle of all of it.
    I mentioned earlier we needed Devonte’ to have a huge game on tuesday. We also need the lid to come off the bucket for our 6 trey gunners. and we need Perry to continue to dominate. The WVU game on tuesday is a revenge game. Screw the conference title, this is for revenge. KU owes WVU a swift butt kicking. This is personal.

  • @VailHawk KU win margin % prediction vs WVU:

    25% 1-7 pts.
    50% 8-14 pts.
    25% 15+ pts.


  • @HighEliteMajor Someday you should tell us of your basketball experiences. Where did you gain your knowledge? Don’t think of it as bragging or anything, I’m just curious. You have an understanding of the game that most of us don’t have here. I sure don’t, I just like to watch the ball go in the peach basket more than the other team, although I really think we are not very good lately at putting it in the peach basket from that line that never used to be on the court.

  • Interesting this post has been copied over to the phog.

  • @DanR Great post! A lot of times us posters tend to think “if we only did this one thing…” when really it is so much more complex than that. Yes, this team has shown it can be a good shooting team. But why? As others have pointed out, they make open shots. Those same great shooters have not shown an ability to get open shots.

    People point to Iowa State as a measure of a team who offensively gets open shots and takes lots of 3s. However, as you pointed out. They are 2-2 in their last four with high volume shooting at a decent percentage.

    Can we get better and be more successful as a team. Of course. But at this point the ends seem to justify the means.

  • @HighEliteMajor Or in other words, the game has moved on.

  • @KUinLA

    “The game has moved on.”

    You should have posted that to me. I’ve been ready to explode recently because of all the poor fundamentals in college basketball today.

    When I was 14, and came in contact with my new coach, a guy I believe is as good as any coach ever to coach the game, in that first year he said to our team: “This year I’m going to teach you how to rebound.”

    He had come in to take over on our team that was only a 500 team. After one year he turned us into an undefeated team. For the next several years… I think we maybe lost one game, a totally rigged game. In that first year, we remained a poor shooting team, but damn if we didn’t get every ball that hit the glass. We spent a big part of every practice working on rebounds only. Our coach knew he had us for a few more years so he made the investment on rebounding fundamentals in year 1. We owned the glass the remainder of our years. I owned the glass for the remainder of my playing days. Once you learn it, you own it.

    Today, I’m old, slow, had multiple surgeries, including my knee. I can barely leap over a phone book. But I bet I could still get out there and own the boards. I’ve got more butt today, too… something big to plant on another player. 30 lbs more than my weight in my playing years… more lbs to torture other players with.

    The players of today would leap right over me. Great… I’d be happy to take their fouls and shoot FTs…

    The game has not moved on. The players have moved on. “Over the back” is still a call that gets whistled today. It is too bad that SportsCenter doesn’t run: “Top 10 Fundamental Plays” everyday…

  • @drgnslayr Other than fundamentals, I seldom see an offensive team crashing the boards. I know they need one to hang back with the shooter to prevent a run out, but I see a lot of players on all teams flat footed. When an offensive player does crash the boards it often ends in a dunk and game highlight. I guess they end up taking a play off figuring a team mate will go get the ball-and then neither does.

  • @drgnslayr Your wife is a tough Cookie.

  • @drgnslayr Sure, fundamentals are fundamentals. But at the college level, you simply aren’t going to see smaller teams out-rebound taller teams on a regular basis. Size matters. Was there a 3pt shot in your playing days? Because there wasn’t in Bill’s playing days. The game has changed.

  • @drgnslayr Alas, I remember one day shooting around with my kids-maybe 2,003, I tried numerous times and could NOT touch the rim. That was a day I never saw coming. And I am probably at phone book status myself these days.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Only thing about the wvu game in Morgantown: After that ugly first 6-10 min, KU figured out wvu’s press…and had built up a lead, only to squander it in the final few min with help from refs.

    That was the crux of my posts after that game: it took Staten literally everything he had to beat ku, and we solved their press. We wont start off so ugly against wvu in AFH. Now this team has knowledge…

    Regarding the rest of the playstyle philosophical discussion (again most ardently and energetically reiterated by HEM), at this point I like @drgnslayr response…which in a nutshell was keep the opponent guessing…dont become 1-dimensional. Very curious to analyze the wvu rematch…

  • Just was able to read thread in full … one of those killer work days. I don’t understand why work has to interfere with Kansas basketball.


    @DanR - Remember, I have never said that three point shooting is a “magic bullet.” You are absolutely correct there, though, it’s not a magic bullet. In fact, I stated in this post again that three point shooting is not a panacea. And it isn’t. My discussion is solely directed toward an approach to offense. This guarantees nothing. It doesn’t guarantee a FF trip, or an NC. I just believe that it gives us a better chance to reach our offensive potential, which thus gives us a better chance at a FF or NC. We have the talent. Actually, I think we have top 5 talent in the country. And I would trade our perimeter players for any other team.

    @benshawks08 - You touch on a great point. They shoot open three pointers amazingly well,; and actually, there aren’t to bad with a hand near, either. And you make a correct point. They haven’t shown an ability to create their own look – Mason and Selden, actually, had been very good with the step-back. If you have great three point shooters, that need more open looks, what might you do? And is there anything else on this team that we might say is “great”?

    @ZIG - You raise a great point. And I have thought about that – is Self lying in the weeds, waiting to spring the perimeter attack when he thinks it’s is needed? That is certainly plausible. If he does, my “season died” comment will be revoked. My “bet” would be that Self isn’t planning a surprise. But I’ve lost bets before. It is a very realistic possibility. I do like it better than the “bad ball” alternative that @jaybate-1.0 has suggested – but’s he’s probably right. And I’m betting with him. Self has chosen the path. But if there is a March surprise in Self’s bag of tricks, the happiest guy on the planet will be me.

    @jayhawkbychoice - See, I think you underestimate our offense. I really do. Is there another group of perimeter players you’d like to have over ours? Not me. You are right, though. This team has areas of weakness. Do we do a good job of masking those weaknesses, and exploiting our strengths?

    I really like the fact that Self has Ellis driving the ball. This is a better option than pure post up. This creates better opportunities for him. I just saw him play amazingly well the last four games. We went 2-2. Compare to the halves/games when we have gone balls to wall from the perimeter. Those are the only times when we have really played well offensively, right?

    @drgnslayr I do feel like I’m fitting the definition of insanity!

    @Lulufulu You make a good point … if Cliff is gone, what do we rely upon down low? It seems reasonable that teams will really, REALLY try to take Perry away now. Maybe, as @Zig said, Self is laying in the weeds to throw the perimeter game gauntlet down in March.

  • @BeddieKU23 made two terrific points.

    First, what was the game changer vs. Texas? As @BeddieKU23 said, it was Mason’s three. That was THE momentum changer. 1-8 is not a slump as @wrwlumpy said. 1-8 is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to get back to your average – drill the 6 of the next 8.

    Second, and perhaps your best point – Duke has shot 568 threes to our 466 three pointers this season. Digest that. Think about that. Man, you just gave me more ammo. That is absolutely incredible. That is almost a lead argument, worthy of a thread all of it’s own. I need to breath deeply …

  • Gotta toss this in … @Jesse-Newell shot this out Sunday evening. A must read:

    3-Point Phobia Could Hurt Kansas

  • @HighEliteMajor

    “I do feel like I’m fitting the definition of insanity!”

    You will never be considered a Kansas diehard if you aren’t insane! It goes with the turf!

  • @HighEliteMajor We may have to agree to disagree on our estimate of our offense. I believe that our 3pt shooting the last few games is not a slump, as other have cited, but that we are simply shooting back to our average. You said 1-8 is an opportunity to get back to our average and go 6-8. I think the reverse is true. Our early hot streak was the opportunity and now we are shooting back down to our average.

    Our 3pt shooting in those early games were WIDE OPEN looks that defenses were giving us. And yes, we were deadly with those looks and still are. But teams were giving us those looks because of the unknown. At the beginning of the season, opponents thought Perry and #5 recruit Cliff would be efficient down low and that Frank and Wayne could drive and finish in the lane. The unknown was Franks improved shot, Kelly’s shot, and Greene’s shot and ability to stay on the floor. Teams were packing it in on us. As time went on, opponents adjusted their game plan to us.

    Now you believe Self just doesn’t want us to shoot the same shots as we did before. I think he would love for Greene to be left alone like he was in the early part of the season. So, how does he do that? Well to free up the shooters, or to scheme for them, you can set screens, drive and kick out, sharp passing and ball reversal, or let the shooter create space for themselves. All things that the players don’t do very well. Now is that his fault that they don’t do those things well? That’s debatable.

    You say he should scheme for these things. Well, he can’t scheme a player to set a screen without fouling, thus resulting in a turnover. We tried that. Drive and kick out, we have tried that too. Everyone, but Frank, who did this resulted in turnovers. Frank did it well for awhile, but now defenses are staying with their man on the wings and letting Frank drive into the trees and be put to the ground. All of this is taking a physical toll on Frank, and it is starting to show up in other parts of his game. If we can’t get the ball across half court because Frank is to beat up to be effective, then we can’t shoot many 3’s anyway. Sharp passing and ball reversal, not exactly this groups forte. Letting the shooter create for themselves, well nobody respects Wayne and Greene as a slashing threat. Kelly has made some improvement on this of late, as has Perry. None of them can use a shot fake, or seem to be able to move through an offense, through screens, loose their man, catch the ball, maybe a dribble or two, turn, and make a shot. None of these guys can knock down a shot if they have to do more than catch the ball, set their feet, and fire. I know that the one 3 pointer we hit last game as Frank using a screen, but that was the exception rather than the rule. Which is why he got the shot off in the first place. If he took that shot 5 times a game, a decent defender would block it 3 out of 5 times.

    I also don’t believe that all 3pt attempts are created equal, so to speak. I compare those shots we made early in the year to free throws because we were so wide open. If we can shoot, say (I don’t know what our % was, lets say 75% for example) 75% on wide open looks, and be able to scheme, and screen, and run action, and still shoot the same high %; that’s like saying Greene shoot 95% on free throws so we should scheme, screen, and run action to get him 15-20, 15ft jumpers all night. We both know those are two very different shots, and thus have a very different make percentage.

    So Self knowing the reality of what he has (remember he sees these guys in practice everyday, and has probably tried all the things we’ve discussed) has to figure out how to get those same open looks he had before. How does he do that? By creating an effective inside game, or at least the illusion of one, to make teams have to help off the perimeter, or pack it in. A couple days ago, someone said, what happened to the 4 out 1 in offense, we could really spread the floor? Well it’s still there ready to go when we need it. It’s good that we have some experience with it. But I replied with, spread the floor for what? Teams are spread out for us. They definitely aren’t packing it in. Future opponents, especially the top 8 teams in the dance, aren’t going to let us beat them with JUST outside shooting. They will make Perry beat us mid-range or inside. Hopefully Kelly will start really helping mid-range and inside. Maybe a little from Landen, but I’ve given up on Wayne and Jamari helping much. Maybe some Devonte’.

    So why not work on those things? Dropping a few games, playing a few close ones, in past years we have wanted him to do this to develop a more balanced team for the tourney.

    I just don’t feel Self has given up on shooting 3’s. He’s developing other parts of the game. If being one dimentional inside is insanity, so is being one dimentional outside. I kind of feel like Self is the sane one here.

    Ok, so let me answer your questions now. Though I’m not sure they are relevant.

    “Is there another group of perimeter players you’d like to have over ours?”

    Well I like our guys. I like watching them grow as players and overcome adversity. But if you’re asking about different guys to win a NC, well, I haven’t watched very much of other teams this year to know. But if I could go back to past KU teams, then yeah! The 03, 08, and 12 perimeter lineups would whip these guys bad. And the 2013 guys probably would beat this group too.

    "Do we do a good job of masking those weaknesses, and exploiting our strengths? "

    I have to say yes, because I don’t think we are even discussing the true weaknesses of this team. And while leading our conference and with a record like ours, everything we exploit is just another strength being found.

    Thanks HEM, you really challenge my thought process. I paced my kitchen for 2 hours trying to decide how to respond. Then it took me another 2 hours to type it out, but I’m not a typist. 🙂 Whether I’m right or wrong doesn’t matter to me in these discussions, thank you for that.

  • @jayhawkbychoice You would take 12 and 13 perimeter players over this year? I would have to disagree my friend.

    Maybe 12 because EJ was in his true position as a 2 guard. But lets not forget he was pretty mediocre the first half of the season. Mix that in the Taylor (who I believe is one of the most underated players at Kansas in the past 20 years), and the lock-down D of Travis. I get that. But who was the first wing off the bench? Teahan. The walk-on who couldn’t dribble, play defense, run, or jump and was an average 3 point shooter. And the backup PG was freshman year Tharpe. Yikes. Fast forward to this year and replace Teahan for Greene and Tharpe for Graham. This is how I break it down.

    Taylor > Mason. Mason is solid but Taylor was electrifying.

    EJ > Selden. This is the only one that is not comparable. EJ is believe was not the shooter Selden is, but that’s it. EJ was better in every other category.

    Releford > Oubre. This one is closer than you might think. Releford is a better defender and spot up shooter but Oubre is a better play maker and rebounder.

    Teahan < Greene. Not close. Greene is better is every category expect maybe team defense.

    Tharpe < Graham. Again not close. Tharpe could barely get on the floor with an extremely shallow back court.

    I would consider it a push considering the starters are not on another level and the bench was way behind this years team.

    And as for the 13 season with EJ playing of position, and Bmac not being a play maker also, This years team in its totality of depth shouldn’t really be up for discussion.

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