Post-Season Post-Mortem Provocation #2 - The OAD chase is Fool's Gold

  • We are on the cusp of the championship game, pitting another veteran, non OAD “system” team against a team heavily reliant on OADs and freshmen (and, arguably, formerly “system” to at least some extent, although perhaps less so now. Not quite the same dichotomy as Wisconsin and UK, but pretty close. In that vein, I’m trying to pull together various threads over the past week (indeed, entire season) regarding recruiting strategy and the merits or lack thereof of aggressively pursuing OADs.

    HCBS earlier this year used the term “Fool’s Gold” to express his disdain? for (over)reliance on 3 pt shots in offensive scheming. I would argue that the real Fool’s Gold is making OADs central to the recruiting strategy, at least for KU and Self. Here’s why:

    First, OADs don’t fit his system well - apart from learning the nuances, it requires strong fundamental skills that too many OADs obviously lack, on both offense and defense. What most OADs bring, at least on the offensive side, is shot-making and creativity, both of which are undervalued in the H/L, at least until the end of the shot clock. How many bigs during the past few years have come in with strong back-to-the basket skills and post moves - Okafor, Parker, Towns, and maybe Randle?

    Two, it leads to recruiting over current players, resulting in transfers and even more program turnover, and may make it more difficult to get really good 3-4 star players (particularly to commit early).

    Third, there are only 10-15 prospective OADs in each class, and only half of those actually live up to the hype - and, you can’t really know in advance which those will be (Alexander anyone?).

    Fourth, at least as long as Calipari is at UK, it’s pretty clear that is the first choice of most of the elites - whether it’s Cal’s charm, Shoe Co, JayZ, Drake, Ashley, path to the NBA, cash on the barrel head or all of the above doesn’t really matter. What is means is that we’re waiting around until late spring every year to see what happens with UK - and, if we strike out with who is still uncommitted, then we are in full desperation mode trying to fill with 3 stars that no one else wanted, de-commits, and graduate transfers.

    Fifth, and most importantly, based on the results from the past few years, it appears that the OAD approach only succeeds if you are really able to get multiple guys at the top of the class to commit - being able to put overwhelming talent on the floor, regardless of (in)experience level. The numbers don’t work - this is really a basic math problem. If there are just 10-15 prospective OADs each year, let’s assume UK gets 3-4, Duke 1-2 and AZ 1-2 (esp. the west coast guys), then the real pool for us becomes smaller. I would argue it’s simply more challenging for KU and Self to get the guys - some of it is system, some of it is Shoe Co, some of it is the Midwest and relative exposure.

    That’s the theory - what’s the evidence. I would argue that we’ve seen all 5 problems manifest themselves at KU the past few years. We’ve had the consensus 2nd and 4th ranked classes the past two years (and 13th and 18th before that) - with 9 and 10 loss seasons and early exits to show for it. Correlation, but not necessarily causation. Let’s look at the broader “market”.

    There are clearly too models for relatively consistent deep tournament runs and championships. One is the Nike stack, multiple OAD approach - let’s face it, it works. Maybe not guaranteeing championships, but UK now has 4 FFs in the past 5 years, and add Duke this year. AZ has 2 straight E8s. The other approach is the antithesis of the OAD/stack approach - teams led primarily by tough, experienced veterans, maybe augmented by underclassmen. MSU and Wisconsin this year are illustrative. Just look at their class rankings over the past 4 years (basically comprising their current rosters): MSU - 50th, >50th, 12th and 23rd. Wisconsin - >50th, 45th, 45th, and 50th. Izzo does recruit and occasionally gets elite players, but it certainly doesn’t appear that he is all in on OADs. Over the past 5 years, including the incoming class, I think he’s had just 3 5 stars - Dawson, Harris and an incoming player. Trice was a 3; Valentine a 4. Ryan has had just 1 - Dekker. Kaminsky and Jackson were 3s.

    Apart from MSU and Wisconsin this year, look at 3 of the last 4 champions - Louisville and UConn twice. None of them had OAD stacks - I don’t think they had any OADs - they were characterized by veteran teams that played defense and had great guard play.

    Let’s look at KU in this context. Self brought us 6 30 win seasons in 7 years with 1 NC, another FF, and 2 E8s - all without reliance on OADs. Indeed, very few top 10-15 recruits. Those were all typical Self teams - hard-nosed, strong rebounding, difficult to score upon, pound it inside. It worked and it worked consistently. Don’t know about you, but I loved it. A lot of guys that may not have been particularly talented (e.g, Reed, Morningstar, Releford) but they understood the system, and more, importantly, bled Jayhawk blue. They wanted to play for Kansas.

    What happened? We lost the '12 championship with a classic Self type team to a UK stack of OADs and TADs. We were out-talented - even more obviously so when you look at the NBA (non)careers of the guys on those teams. I would argue that was a great coaching job by Self - we got to the finals with and hung with an uber talented UK team with a bunch of primarily 3-4 star guys. Rather than tweak a bit, I personally think Self overreacted to that loss and decided he had to compete with Calipari on his own terms - which, for him and KU, is the Fool’s Gold approach.

    We’ll see how the next few weeks play out. Maybe Self will get Diallo or Maker, and Brown, in addition to Bragg. 2 OADs and one likely TAD - matched up with the returning veterans, it could be pretty formidable. But, if I had to bet, I would bet that we don’t get any of them. Then Self is begging to get Thorne for a year, maybe some Euro lug (a la Gonzaga) and trying to pick up juco or unwanted 3 star.

    I’m not sure whether I hope I’m wrong or not. My own preference is to go after the 15-75 guys who will be around 2-4 years, who learn the system, and most, importantly, want to play for Kansas, rather than us being a second or third choice and brief way station in their basketball lives.

  • The only fool’s gold any of us are ever going to understand:


    A sandwich consisting of a single warmed, hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with the contents of one jar of creamy peanut butter, one jar of grape jelly, and a pound of bacon. The sandwich’s connection to Elvis Presley is the source of its legend and prolonged interest. According to The Life and Cuisine of Elvis Presley, it was the focus of a midnight sandwich run by Elvis Presley and his friends. Taking his private jet from Graceland, Presley and his friends purchased 22 of the sandwiches and spent three hours eating the sandwiches and drinking Perrier and champagne before flying home.

  • @DCHawker

    I believe you make excellent points and your logic is sound. I have always said that a 4th year Withey or Relford or a third year TRob or Mario will usually outperform inexperienced 1st year OADs.

    The only OAD player I can think recently (not counting Carmelo) that led his team to a Championship was the Unibrow and if you remember, it was the upper clansmen in the title game that really made the difference. Maybe this year it will be Okafor but I believe there is a better chance that it will be Kaminsky, a senior.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Alas, I remember that game all too well. You are right, the guy that lit it up for UK was one of their soph TADs, Doron Lamb. But, they started 3 frosh (Kidd-Gilchrist and Teague in addition to Davis). Another soph, Jones, also started. Darius Miller, a senior, came off the bench, but played almost starter minutes. All 5 of their starters left and were drafted.

  • @DCHawker

    Very solid post. There are plenty of “golden nuggets” in your post. I want to tackle a few.

    I don’t think it is fair to compare our last two years with other years. Three years ago we were dead meat. We lost our entire starting lineup. That is something we are still trying to dig out from. We still lost a bunch of games with both Wigs and JoJo (who, btw, was not considered an OAD at the time). Had we not taken those guys and picked up some sure fire 3-star guys that would still be around we wouldn’t have won our conference (no more conference streak) and may not have even made March Madness (no more March streak). That very easily could have happened.

    I just don’t think it works to say we are going only for the middle of the pack guys. JoJo would have been considered a middle of the pack guy. But he exploded when coming to Kansas. You just never know who is going to take off with their game. And also… we recruited Wayne and he was considered a OAD and he’ll probably be here 4 years.

    I seriously doubt we would have won in '08 without BRush. I think many thought he might be a OAD even though it wasn’t a common thing back then. He definitely would have left as a TAD if he wasn’t injured. One of the big keys to '08 was getting BRush back. That same scenario is always possible for the OAD type players.

    I’m really sad this week because we lost Kelly. That guy could have made us a possible contender next year had he chosen to stay, and really he should have stayed to up his stock and chances. He is taking a monster gamble in the draft, though he is almost certain to be a Top 30 pick and earn a guaranteed contract.

    I think we need to consider ALL TALENT and be able to pick through what is out there to produce the best team in the coming year and in following years.

    Some things I’m considering:

    1. Keeping OADs for an extra year. What can we do to keep more of these kids around for another year? I understand players like Wigs and JoJo (mostly because of his injury) going OAD. I can’t understand a guy like Kelly going OAD. The media is feeding this early exit frenzy. They play little to no part in helping these guys move up their draft position but they do a great job of convincing the player they need to gamble their entire life away by leaving too early. We don’t need every potential OAD to stick around for an extra year, just a fair share and those that really didn’t contribute much in their first year.

    2. Invest in developing players. This is my biggest current criticism of Kansas and Self and his coaches. I don’t believe they are developing players well enough. If we are going to keep many players around for 4 or 5 years they better then pay us back by performing in March. Over the past several years a lot of those players really didn’t produce like they should in March. Why go with 4 and 5 yr players if they aren’t going to end up being competitive with the top young players? They end up being a waste of time, and not just one bad year, but potentially we are plagued with investing in them for 4 eligible years without getting the payout!

    3. Balanced roster. We have to do a better job of preventing what happened happened three years ago. We can’t lose so many valuable players on one team and expect to be decent in the following year… especially when playing “Self ball.” We have to do a better job of recruiting players in the right slots and make sure they are staggered and have the right mindset knowing they have to spend a year or two (or three) learning Self ball and playing under another player. This is the way it used to be for many decades. But if a guy is capable to pass another player, hey… you have to play your best players. And why don’t we bring in more 2yr college guys just to pick up instant experience and talent? Or guys like Tar? We may be doing that this year… wait and see.

    4. Blend OAD type players in. We should be able to blend in a few solid OAD players. Duke did it this year and wouldn’t be anywhere near the title game without Okafor, Jones and Winslow. But those guys are surrounded by other players that are experienced and capable. Duke has the best of both worlds… young and talented, older and talented. Why do we only look at Kentucky and their failure this year as the example of recruiting OADs? Imagine if we could go back in history and take Wigs one year and put him on another team? Wigs isn’t really a great example because of the next paragraph…

    5. OAD players equal non-OAD players. Self didn’t follow this rule with Wigs. We didn’t have a real team concept last year. It was Wigs and the rest. Or maybe… Wigs and JoJo. Freshmen coming in have to be respectful of upper classmen. But more than anything… it is the coach (and assistants) that set the tone. The goal is team play and anyone coming in that wants to disrupt that can leave now.

  • What I would like to know from ALL of you disgruntle OAD old timers is how many OAD’s has UK had? UK has recruited the TOP tier talent and MOST of them have given Cal more than 1 year. IF HCBS was recruiting and landing guys like Cal how many would still be on KU’s current roster? WCS and Poythress are JR’s then there are 7 sophomores and 4 freshmen. That leaves Randal, Noel, and Davis. If you look at it KU has had pretty close to the same amount of OAD’s but fewer top tier players. I believe the McDonalds all American game pointed out that there are only Currently 5 McDonalds all Americans that are on an NBA roster but JOJO wasn’t a McDonalds all American so it could be 6 OAD’s as of today that were TRUE OAD’s still on an NBA roaster. I could be off but seriously not many guys have what it takes OR are NBA ready out of high school OR even one year of college. My point is recruiting the top tier talent is HCBS’s job and he SHOULD be aggressively recruiting top tier guys all day every day! Only a hand full are going to leave after ONE year.

  • @drgnslayr Good points. Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting we forego recruiting elite players altogether, some of whom may be OADs. It’s more a question of emphasis - really gets to your points about developing players (yes!), blending them in, and balancing the roster - all spot on. What I do think is problematic - for Self and KU, perhaps in contrast to UK and Duke - is trying to sign multiple OADs in a single class for the reasons I outlined - apart from the question of whether they will be primary drivers of a deep run if not a NC, they will leave gaping holes in the roster and it gets you into a never ending cycle - and I just don’t think we will ever be able to sign 2-3 of the top 10 every year.

    Also, I don’t at all look at UK this year as an example of the failure of the OAD approach - to the contrary, Calipari has demonstrated that he can reload with multiple new OADs each year and make deep runs consistently. Rather, I look at the success of Wisconsin and MSU, along with UConn and Louisville in prior years, as well as KU’s past teams, as pretty dispositive evidence that you can win consistently with really good coaching, solid systems/schemes, and really good, if not elite talent. If Wisconsin prevails tonight, that will mean that exactly ZERO OAD focused champions since 2012.

    Repeating myself, but there are two paths to the mountaintop - both can get you there. But, unless we really think we can get the top class every year of newbies, which I don’t (apart from personally not wanting to go down that road), then I think the focus of recruiting should be on 4-5 star guys that are much more likely to be around at least two years, complemented by the occasional OAD uber talent.

    Most importantly, recruit guys that want to play for KU! I miss the Hinrich, Collison, Collins, and Releford types, and yes, even Reed and Morningstar. Don’t want to have to rely on some of those as starters, but as key role guys, absolutely.

  • I cant stand Cal BUT he has had 4 trips to the final four and has coached in 2 national championship games in the last 5 years. I would trade our record for theirs any day of the week and so would all of you. I don’t like the slime bag but he has out preformed ALL other college basketball coaches hands down. I didn’t say out coached but out preformed big time! If he keeps this up and stays at the college level he will continue going to the final four and tidal game and probably end up in the NIT a few times? If he really looses 7 bodies this year I don’t think he lands EVERY top player left to continue to dominate next year. only time will tell?

  • @Statmachine maybe some kids will view playing time over platoon?

  • @Statmachine Actually, I believe UK has had 10 OADs in the past 5 years, and a few more TADs - Wall, Cousins, Randle, Young, Noel, Knight, Kidd-Gilchrist, AD, Teague and Bledsoe. And, probably a couple more this year (although Towns has actually made noises about staying) - so not exactly close to KU.

    You are absolutely right that most college freshmen don’t have what it takes to play in the NBA - or at least contribute right away. But, there are always a handful and they are almost always at the top of the draft boards. I think about a dozen freshmen are on most NBA draft boards this year, but some of those won’t declare - and only a handful will be NBA all-star caliber.

    Do I want Self recruiting top tier talent - yes. Do I think it’s Fool’s Gold to focus primarily on likely OADs - yes. For Kansas, not necessarily UK or Duke. Only one school has been able to do that consistently, and Duke seems to be edging that way. But, I think they have unique recruiting advantages that will typically give them a leg up on be able to consistently get the top guys. In any event, it’s a high risk play to wait until the end of the process and count on snagging the top talent necessary to fill roster holes when those guys may also be looking at UK, Duke, UNC, and Arizona.

  • @Statmachine Doesn’t seem conceivable that he could get EVERY available player, but UK has had the top ranked class several years running (might have been 2nd once). Already the top ranked of guys coming in and the expectation is that Calipari will get 1-2 more - esp. if he does lose 5-7 this time. Again, kudos to him - it’s worked. But, because of the numbers you cited, just not replicable by others if he gets his usual haul - simply because there are not enough uber guys to go around.

  • @DCHawker

    “Most importantly, recruit guys that want to play for KU! I miss the Hinrich, Collison, Collins, and Releford types, and yes, even Reed and Morningstar.”

    I miss all those guys, too! I’d take a bullet for those guys and I’m sure many of you in here would, too. Can we say that about our OAD guys? Nothing wrong with those guys, but we only get to taste their basketball and get a tiny sense of who they were and then they are gone. Just a few months, not even a year!

    Kelly Oubre said some of the coolest stuff I’ve ever heard from a Jayhawk when he declared for the draft. The kid sounds solid and I bet he does come back to Lawrence and keep touch with “the Jayhawk family” later on. But none of us are going to cry because he is leaving. Remember when Sherron left? OMG, I cried my azz off when he spoke on senior night.

    What teams like Kentucky miss is the personal side. You’ll never get that side without going through a lot of stuff together, and I’m talking about a lot more than a few months can generate.


    We would all trade records with Kentucky… but do we really want a team like that? Like I said in another post, then we just become another hated Kentucky. I’ve had kids recently but I still get out and travel a bit and I wear Jayhawk gear everywhere and have rarely caught anything negative from people. Outside of a few crackheads from Mizzou (who I couldn’t care about anyways) most people are cool. Even met some fans from Memphis that didn’t hate us! Everyone I know hates Kentucky. I think it is more Calipari than Kentucky. I don’t want to be them. I’d rather not win another championship ever than to have to recruit that much talent on a team because our coaching staff is that inept. Wisconsin made fouls out of Kentucky. Will Kentucky win another NC soon? I’m betting they will either next year or the year after, maybe both if they can keep the twins that long.

    If we do want that much talent, at least make it guys with a brain. I’ve just recently been schooled on Duke. I had no idea they have currently 8 McDs AAs on their team. Very talented team and I bet many of those AAs never thought they would go OAD. Let’s sign some of those guys. And at least those guys can get coached up in a short period of time. Kentucky just ran brute force at people. I watched half of their games this year, usually just parts of games because their offense stunk. Those guys aren’t that bright and can’t do anything too difficult in just a short period of 1 to 2 years. Had they got past Wisconsin, Duke would have schooled Kentucky.

  • Kentucky should be winning another NC soon. Why? Mostly because they will have kept some quality players around for several years… they will be juniors and seniors.

    And maybe if they get a guy that can totally dominate on his own. The reason they won in 2012 was unibrow. The guy dominated on defense. Shut down the post and about half of the perimeter.

  • @drgnslayr the only reason they are there longer is because they weren’t lotto picks.

  • @Statmachine

    Hmmm … I have been asking myself that Q all year… Would we trade UK’s record for ours? … Some days i would say yes, most days no… I have almost zero real attactment to our OAD’s - like all i wish them well, but the beauty of being a fan is a real CONNECTION to our guys, and that happens Over time and THAT is what resonates with me. 2012 was as important to me, ( maybe a bit more) than 2008

    Also, lotsa talk about OAd’s and TAD’s on this site for a few years… People tend to lump them together - dont forget there is a tremendous difference between certain OADS - they are NOT all created equal, but since the NBA drafts on potential and not necesarily college performance, its easy to classify them as a group. As mentioned above, certain oads were monsters- Unibrow was a beast in his one year as is okafor our biggest OAD get was Wigs, and for many reasons he was not able to really be a huge difference maker for us before he left. Lets not even talk about xavier and Selby. Its not really a q of trying to recruit OADS and TADs but which PARTICULAR guys in that catagory that we could a) get and b) would fit with selfs current guys and system As discussed in another thread, guys like Zim who say they want to protect themselves for a year before they turn pro are not who we should ever target. Yeesh.

  • @Statmachine

    I speak only for myself and no, I would not trade our record and more importantly the memories, for UK’s record and lack of memories. I rather have players I can cheer for and follow their progress for four or five years than players that will be gone shortly. This is my personal opinion and preference and I know others don’t feel the same way.

  • @DCHawker I have been holding out on saying I don’t want any OADs…but I have finally been drug…kicking and screaming…to agree with those of you that say that. Self’s system is not the best for those guys. But…you know what…it doesn’t matter what we think. Self, like all coaches knows that talent wins…he will continue to try to get the most talented kids he can…we need to accept it and hope that at some point we end up with the right mix of OAD type talent and experienced players. Here’s the thing…all coaches try to recruit OAD’s…the ones that don’t…CAN’T GET OADs. Many of us have been talking about Izzo…he went ALL IN on Jabari Parker and CLIFF. He went so far all in on Parker that he didn’t have a backup plan. All coaches want that type of talent…only a few actually succeed.

  • A few points on the OAD discussion. Great stuff above from everyone.

    1. Back To The Basket Scoring And Development: This element of the game is an absolute must in Self’s system. This is not tied directly to height. I’ve seen the comments and posts about “5s” and “centers” and “footers.” That’s not crucial. It is back to the basket scoring. Wayne Simien was probably 6’7" at best. But a bad ass back to the basket scorer. In 2008, Arthur (a skilled sophomore) and Jackson (a seasoned senior) could score with their backs to the basket. So could Kaun. In 2012, we had TRob (the best under Self) and Withey. That’s the biggest answer to being successful in Self’s system. Back to the basket scoring. Self is impotent without it. We learned that this season. We know what Self needs. The pursuit of OADs has put us in a dilemma with back to the basket scoring. Why is that? Very simple. Back to the basket scoring is largely developed. You’ll have the Okafer, or the Towns, or even the Embiid. But those are very few and far between. We have not developed back to the basket scoring, which is crucial to Self’s system.

    2. Shocking Post Recruiting Stats: This is “hold on to your hat” stuff. It is shocking. Since we landed Thomas Robinson in the class of 2009, six recruiting class ago (including 2015), we have landed two post recruits in 15 - 80 range. Two. Perry Ellis and Carlton Bragg. That’s it. However, we have had a parade of low or unranked guys, and transfers – Traylor, Lucas, Anderson, Young, Peters, Mickelson, and Black. In six recruiting classes of recruiting OAD post men, we have landed two, Joel Embiid and Cliff Alexander. That’s it.

    3. Non-OADs Present More Breadth: When you look at the recruiting world, think of it as a funnel, with highest talent at the narrow end. When you get in the 15-80 range, you find many guys that would fit Self’s bill. Guys that he could bring in, develop, and present as an excellent product as a sophomore, and a tremendous product as a junior. Don’t believe it? Just look at Self’s history here. Just list them off. The key here is locating players that fit the need for back to the basket post scoring – guys that can be developed, that have that propensity, that just need time. With OADs, you don’t have that time. Cliff didn’t have that time.

    4. Creating A Stable: The OAD merry go round puts Kansas in a position of need each season, doesn’t it? When you ignore the OADs, you have a better opportunity to create a stable of players that will churn over from year to year. The idea is to have players ready each season. This is not as difficult as it sounds. Most guys in the 15-80 range stay at least three seasons, and most in the latter half say four seasons. If you land an average of 1.5 per season, you are set. But of course, it is never easy or automatic. At Kansas, though, with Bill Self at the helm, this should be more than attainable.

    5. What Caused Our Post Issues: @stupidmichael noted our possible post dearth after next season. Why are we here? In my humble opinion, it was the “all in” miss on Tarczewski. We can look at the prior season when the Morrises left. But striking out a second season in a row, I believe, steered Self to the pursuit of the OAD. We were left with Lucas. This left us in a lurch when we didn’t land the 15 - 80 guys to build on.

    6. Look At Texas A&M’s Class: If I said to you, “Would you trade our post class right now, whoever that might end up being, for Texas A&M’s”, you might think I’m crazy. But try Tyler Davis (#21 ESPN), 6’10", 270 lbs. We were on his final list. And Elijah Thomas (#29) 6’9", 230 lbs. We weren’t in the mix. But isn’t this the kind of class we need? Why can’t we get that? It’s going to be awful hard to land that second post guy behind a Bragg when we’re after Diallo, Maker, Zimmerman – call guys that could bump that second guy to third. And then also behind a returning Ellis. This is our dilemma. Texas A&M’s class would be a dream post class for us right now.

    The most important issue is whether the OAD formula works at Kansas. That is all that matters. To date, it has been a complete and utter failure. Some suggest you have to recruit the best talent. That’s nonsense. We need to recruit to fit our system. Period. Top talent doesn’t always fit the system. And top talent still, most times, takes time to develop. Further, it takes time in Self’s system.

    The is all about knowing who you are. Self isn’t Calipari (thank goodness). He has a different tolerance levels, and a different approach. He’s different teacher. The key is matching your recruiting with your approach. We might get lucky from time to time … we might get an Okafor. But the tried and true method, the kind that Self thrives with, has been established. Why go any other way? All that matters is having players that fit Self’s system, and thrive in that system.

    This all goes to the point of back to the basket scoring. What is the best way to get that? We know. We’ve seen it.

    The benefit we get out of OADs isn’t worth the investment. And as noted above, national titles, final fours, and conference titles can all be won … and regularly are … without an OAD on the roster.

  • @HighEliteMajor I agree that Self should recruit talent that fits his system. But expecting him, or any other coach, to not pursue the most talented kids he can get is asking a lot. Like I said, any of the coaches that get guys like Tyler Davis… would gladly take Towns, Zimmerman…whomever if they could get them.

  • @Hawk8086 You have hit on the exact issue. Would you rather have a guy like Tyler Davis for 3-4 seasons, to develop. Or, would you rather have the chance of getting Towns or Zimmerman. And then, if you get one, your back at it the next season. If you don’t land one, then you’re hurting. Would you have rather had Embiid then Cliff, or a post player in the 15-80 range that would now be a junior? Or two?

    Instead Davis, just replace him with the guys from our past … with Jackson, or Kaun, or Aldrich, or Arthur, or Morris, or Morris, or TRob, or Withey?

    Or would you rather jump on the OAD merry go round?

    Hard to argue with Towns, or guy like Okafer, of course. But the issue becomes the next season. And the next. Can you keep landing them? UK has. No one else really has, though,

  • @HighEliteMajor Makes you wonder…did we go hard after Davis? (Or a similar guy in the past)…or did we hold back and try to keep him (or a similar guy in the past) in case we didn’t get Zimmerman, Diallo, etc.?

  • @Hawk8086 We did pursue Davis. Actually, we were the favorite for Davis. But you can understand a kid in his spot … knowing we’re pursuing the OADs … going elsewhere. Not sure if others buy this argument, but I think our pursuit of OADs negatively affects our ability to land the next group, like Davis.

  • Banned


    First you know I’m pretty much in your camp when it comes to the OAD.

    However I’m afraid KU and HCBS has no choice. As KU is a blue blood, has much recent success, and is a money maker for all those involved especially Adidas. In fact I think a case can be made that KU is Adidas top College school.

    I totally agree that KU and HCBS would be better served to recruit to the system regardless of the players ranking, but advertisement and business partners pay the bills. I have not facts to back up what I’m about to say but I’m willing to bet Adidas and even media outlets like Fox and Espn have a say on recruiting.

    I’m not so sure these OAD kids have much a say in were they go as they think they do. I’m amazed that a private school like Duke who has very high education values is getting OAD’s? Lets face it most of these OAD’s would have a hard time spelling their name yet they are getting into colleges with basketball history.

    Think about it? UNC did every thing to deserve the death penalty from it’s education of student athletes. All the evidence is there, yet the NCAA has done nothing. Now keep in mind the NCAA gets all it’s money from the Tournament. UNC in the tournament is good for business. Another example look how the NCAA reneged on their punishment on the travesty that happened at Penn St. It seems if you’re a power 5 school you have power.

    I think we are stuck my friend. KU is going to recruit OAD’s because Adidas says you will, because the Big 12 says you will, and because the media outlets says you will.

    I’m willing to bet that if Cliff doesn’t declare for the NBA, he’ll be cleared to play next year???

  • OAD’s just won a championship…Okafor just brought a championship to Duke. What if the next OAD we get helps KU win the championship?

    Next year if we don’t land Schnider Herard I will flip a lid. Top 50 post who’s been to KU several times. Great size and will need development in College. He’s the type of player Self can have fun with.

    2016 class is really not a class with a lot of established post players at this time. I know we have been recruiting Marcus Bolden & Tony Bradley. I’m sure others will pop up this summer but its definitely a guard heavy class.

  • Elite 5s.

    Elite PGs.

    All ye know.

    All ye need to know.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    “the only reason they are there longer is because they weren’t lotto picks.”

    I don’t buy that. The first 30 players picked in the draft receive guaranteed contracts based on scale, and at the bottom it is around $800k. The twins should have been Top 30 picks last year.

  • @drgnslayr that wasn’t high enough for them!

  • Well I guess it was a lot to ask for both Kentucky and Duke to lose in back to back games in the Final 4. Those are my personal 2 most hated teams in all sports. I suppose I am still thrilled that the final at least didn’t match up both of these programs. Wisconsin slayed the dragon and unfortunately didn’t have the ability to slay Rat Face two nights later.

    I really do respect Coach K. The guy has like 100 Final 4’s and now 5 titles. The numbers are incredible. But my respect certainly doesn’t make me like the guy. Coach Cal is a sleazy salesman but Coach K bothers me just about as much with his better than though attitude. The putting his hand on the chest of opposing players in the post game handshake line. The “I’ll have one of my assistants do the halftime interview” crap. The constant complaining to officials. The “Me coaching the Olympics team doesn’t help me with recruiting”. These things bother me and I fcking can’t wait until he retires. For gods sake please fcking retire.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    “that wasn’t high enough for them!”

    Right about that… but I give them credit for staying longer. They didn’t give in to the fast money. Those twins are well coached. Not by Calidingdong, but their mentor John Lucas, since the 8th grade.

    These kids would never be on anyone’s radar in basketball had they not made gigantic sacrifices in their lives and put egos aside to accept coaching. Funny… Cal has teams full of the other kind of dumb players just chasing fast money and highlight dunks, but the twins aren’t part of that stereotype. If Kentucky is blessed with a title soon, it is because of these guys, not the high flying flunkies.

  • @joeloveshawks

    “Those are my personal 2 most hated teams in all sports.”

    I’m with you. I put Kentucky at the top of my list because I don’t think they have an ounce of dignity. They’d sell crack on the corner if it would give them another title. I wouldn’t put Calipari in my Top 100 of college coaches. But he can convince players to come and they put everything on recruiting masses of talent.

    Duke… my disdain is mostly about the arrogance. I don’t question K’s ability to coach. Simply… he can and he is in my Top 10 list. The other thing I dislike about Duke is the “Duke calls” like the late game call last night where the ball went out on the Duke player, and when it hit his middle finger, it pulled his finger back, but Duke was anointed with the ball. That was the game right there. Just answer me this… how is a player able to bend just his middle finger backwards without the ball doing it for him? Right… Just like how Duke always gets an easy bracket. They get all the favored east coast media bandwagon boasting their program either overtly or covertly.

    Look at it like this… Kentucky is the mob. They will mug you for $20. They brute force and probably cheat to get to the “stature” they have. Duke is the refined corporate business model that mugs you through the front door… and it’s all legal! That is how I see those two programs that currently own a big chunk of college basketball.

  • @drgnslayr guess I disagree w/you on the twins.

  • @HighEliteMajor Really good stuff. You posed the key question much more effectively that I did:

    “The most important issue is whether the OAD formula works at Kansas.”

    Exactly. This is not an issue of whether the OAD approach can yield championships or deep runs, or whether its a good thing for college basketball, and regardless of how one feels about the issue - perhaps Bo’s antipathy to “rent-a-players.” The question whether it can work for Self and Kansas.

    @BeddieKU23 You stated that “Okafor just brought a championship to Duke. What if the next OAD we get helps KU win the championship”?

    Two things which I think are key. First, Okafor alone as a OAD didn’t bring a championship to Duke. They have 4 McDs freshmen, 3 of whom are project as first round picks (regardless of whether they choose to declare), one of whom will probably go 2nd and another in the top 5-7. Same thing with the last all in OAD team to win - UK in '12: it wasn’t just Davis, but multiple elite OADs (and 2 TADs). Second, do you believe that if we get one of the likely OAD bigs left, that would be enough to make us a credible FF or NC threat next year?

    Admittedly, we have a relatively short track record on essentially going all in on prospective OADs. Having said that, does anyone have high confidence that the most uber talented players will fit well into the Self “system” - is there anyone out there right now that you think could give a really strong back-to-the basket presence in the post?

    More importantly, what is the basis to believe that Self can consistently attract multiple OADs to KU? Whether it is style, geography, honesty, or a Shoe Co thing, how many 5 stars have committed early to KU in the past 3 years? This recruiting cycle, UK had 2 5 star and 1 4 star early commits. Duke had 2 5 star early commits. Arizona had 2 5 star early commits. All are probably in the running for some of the uncommitted based on who ends up declaring from those schools. KO has already declared and Alexander is likely gone. We have a clear need for a 5. So, what is stopping one of these guys from pulling the trigger on KU??? If they want to play at Kansas, they have an offer and we have a need. I can only assume that they are waiting to see how things play out at other schools - which tells me we are at best a second choice.

    Perhaps Self pulls a rabbit out of the hat and we get either Diallo or Maker and Brown. No question that combined with Bragg and returning guys that would be formidable. It may be just as likely, however, that we don’t get any of the uncommitted. What then? We don’t have anyone currently on the team that can finish against L&As - painfully obvious this year. Is Bragg for Oubre going to change that? We could easily be looking at 3 straight year of double digit or close thereto losses. Certainly hope I’m wrong and I like the guys we have coming back, but they don’t have the right size and skills sets to execute the H/L.

    It’s not an issue of not trying to recruit elite players to KU. It’s a practical issue of whether trying to recruit primarily or exclusively the late deciding likely OADs can work for Self and at KU. It hasn’t so far and I’m highly skeptical that it is doable on a consistent basis going forward. Lock in some 4 and 5 stars guys early and then if you want to hold open a spot to take a chance on a late deciding game changer, then great.

  • @drgnslayr I met a KU alumnus a couple of years ago. He is a doctor in NC. He said he and others call Duke graduates “Dookwes”. As in “at Duke we do this” and “at Duke we do that” as if that was all that counted.

    I liked a non call a couple of plays before the replay. First a Duke player gets a rebound but is on only 1 foot. He hops to gain balance and nothing is called. As the play progresses a Duke guard drives the baseline. The replay to show what a great play by Duke followed clearly showed that his foot was on the baseline. Obviously there was no whistle, but more disturbing was that none of announcers seemed to be bothered by the obvious lack of a call.

  • @DCHawker

    Okafor might not have single handily won the championship but no way they make it past the first weekend without him. All American post who was close to winning the Naismith award. He dominated and without him Duke’s at home eating popcorn with KU fans.

    If Self is going to recruit the highest talent that has the chance to leave after a year then he better do something to make it work better than it has. That’s on him to adjust to the times. Otherwise we can watch other Hall of Fame coaches continually do it for him. We are not going to magically stop going after top talent, we are a top program.

    Self has attracted plenty of OAD’s to KU. Just last year Oubre & Alexander signed in Nov. to answer your question of OAD’s signing early.

    We’ve lost just as many top 30-100 guys to transfers as we’ve lost OAD’s to the NBA. Both have crippled depth and Self system time.

    The problems with recruiting are mostly geography. We are not particularly close to a recruiting “hot-bed”. There isn’t 5-10 top rated recruits within a 5hr drive. KU might be a tradition rich basketball school but what else? That’s why so much money is spent on recruiting. Luxury suites for the players is next, there’s a reason for that and it has a lot to do with having a top flight facility and amenities to off-set advantages other schools have. We can’t offer them Drake or Ashley Judd. We can’t offer the ocean or warm weather during season. It’s the mid-west, its the cards we are dealt.

    Bragg could be a OAD as well. We just don’t think that way because of the way he has presented himself in Interviews and his 10-20 ranking. Plus he’s likely to get 15-20 minutes a game if Ellis is still here. But what if he has a better year than expected and feels he’s ready. Not Self’s fault, not his fault for putting a KU Jersey on him and maybe expected 2-3 years before going pro. College is just the escape goat for kids dreams. The rules as they are suck the life out of schools who invest heavily in them and don’t get the rewards they may want out of it. If the rules change and bring more balance then we can talk about how 2AD’s or 3AD’s are ruining the game…

  • @drgnslayr

    I disagree. The twins were not projected to be selected in the 1st round last year and this year they have actually improved their stock and now they are projected 2nd round picks, one of them marginally second round according to Calipari. Based on the hype they had when they chose UK, they have really underperformed; maybe, like Cauley-Stein they will get better next year and move up in the draft but at this time, I just don’t see them as first round selections any more than last year.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    From Cal’s comments on 5-7 leaving those final 2 are likely the twins. They are unlikely to wow scouts at this point. The one thing to their advantage is good size for the league. It’s usually hard to wow scouts once they form an opinion of you.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Yes, that is what Cal said, but he also said that they are currently projected to be second round and borderline undrafted/second round, although he thinks they will move up. I am not sure they will move up and if they leave they will likely be second round, that was the point I was trying to make, rather than whether they were leaving or not.

  • @BeddieKU23 Agree that Duke wouldn’t have advanced with Okafor - also believe they wouldn’t have advanced without Jones and Winslow. That was really my point - that is took three uber talented frosh to make it happen (and a fourth, at least in the NCS game).

    Fair point about the timing of Oubre and Alexander. Oubre was good get. Alexander seemed to be primarily a Snacks-Chicago AAU thing - will be interesting to see how replicatable that is.

    Good point about transfers - seems that we’ve had more than our fair share. Trying to recall how critical any of those were, however. Rio and Downs did okay elsewhere - anyone else a critical roster component that I’m not thinking of?

    Bingo re geography - and Drake et al. Again, that’s kind of my point - given what you well articulated about some of our inherent recruiting disadvantages (doing our best to overcome, but they are there), is it realistic to think that we will be the first choice or can consistently get the 2-3 you would need to reload every year once you are in that pattern. UK can - demonstrated in the past and already has this year. Duke did this last year and already has this year. Can we? Guess time will tell. But, given that there are only 5-10 uber freshmen talents each year and I fully expect those 2 schools to continue to get half or more of them, doesn’t leave a lot to go around to KU, AZ, UNC, UCLA, and so on.

    And, you may be right about Bragg. No way to know now. There are exceptions, but there has been a fairly strong correlation between HS ranking and draft status, at least as to OADs. To be clear, that doesn’t mean that a high ranking coming out of HS will lead to being a lottery pick (see Selden). But, the high OAD lottery picks have almost always been McDs or 5 star players coming in. It’s also the case that a lot of kids will declare if they clearly aren’t ready or, worse, don’t have a snowball’s chance in Gila Bend of being drafted or making it in the NBA.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Saw a projection from one unnamed GM who said that one of the twins was late second round (around 60) and the other wasn’t in the top hundred on their board.

  • @DCHawker

    I agree the collection of freshman was key, although I think Cook really was the engine of it all. Okafor controlled the game so much with his offensive ability and that was the key between last years duke and this years duke. Just like Wisconsin making the finals because of Kaminsky’s offensive ability. He wasn’t the sole reason but he probably was the biggest factor.

    Jury is out on a lot of the transfers. But my point on that was kids that leave the program early that KU invested in them to be 3-4 year players is just as bad as knowing a top 10 kid could bolt after a year. Peters quit Basketball, Adams had more off-the court problems, White left for Nebraska, Lindsay left for New Mexico. Milton Doyle left before the first game, he’s played pretty well at his new school. This year all that can stop if everyone stays that should.

    Self can go into the fall with less teaching basic system knowledge and more coaching team and individual work. With Korea games and less roster turnover we will have a big advantage over the last 2 years going into the fall.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Exactly.

    After last night’s game I’ve decided that the only OADs worth pursuing are centers and point guards. Guys who are going to directly impact the game on every possession, on offense or defense. Guys who have the mentality that it’s squarely their responsibility to ensure victory.

    Look at the OADs Self has recruited in the past few years. Xavier Henry, Josh Selby, Andrew Wiggins, Cliff Alexander, and Kelly Oubre (I’m leaving Embiid off this list because he was not considered an OAD at the onset of his recruitment). None of them fit that mold. They all depended on others (largely) to set themselves up on offense. None of those guys possessed the Alpha mentality required to be a sensational OAD. Selby could have been there and, for a time, looked like he might have been that guy. But then injury happened and Bill took the ball out of his hands.

    Calipari and, now, Consonants have proven that the heavy OAD emphasis can work if its done at the PG and C positions. Albeit with truly elite talent, of course.

  • Ok, then … if we are offering advice to coach Self, would it be then to avoid OADs all together, except the game changing center and/or the game changing point guard?

    That would mean no Wiggins, no Oubre, no Cliff. But Embiid would be ok? – (understanding Embiid may not have been a publicly presumed OAD when he signed, but probably was considered that by Self. We know Pitino said in June/2013 that we could have the top 2 picks in the draft – they knew).

    I would say, though, that it was the entire package at Duke. The highly talented group of players. They do not win that title in my opinion if they were lacking either Jones or Okafer, and likely not if they were lacking Winslow.

    However, suppose you took just Okafer and air-dropped him into Kansas? Right now.

    Mason, Svi, Selden, Ellis, Okafer.

    Bragg, Greene, Graham, Lucas off the bench.

    Thus the dilemma. That looks pretty good.

    Is Diallo that good?

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Kind of hard to find draft stuff now on 2014, but what I found, draftexpress, had him at 24. The Top 30 gives contract guarantees.

    Hey… maybe the twins are gone! While looking for old draft stuff I found this:

    Aaron Harrison Rumors

    John Calipari: 5-7 Kentucky players likely gone to NBA

    Maybe back to the NIT for Kentucky next year?

    And maybe no more top talent to Kansas for next year?

  • @HighEliteMajor My answer to your question would decidedly be NO - do not avoid OADs altogether - but also don’t base your recruiting strategy on going after the highly likely (even if not certain) OADs. Given some of the unique recruiting challenges we face, it would be to build the core of your roster focusing on the best 4 and 5 star guys who are more likely than not (again not certain) to be around at least a couple of years - go after them hard and sign them early - guys who would love to play for a blue blood program. Leave a schollie and selectively go after the very top of the class - not out of need or desperation - if you don’t get him, you still really like your roster and chances. If you get him, you’re thinking NC.

    Yes dropping in Okafor would look great. But, how many others had the same low post skills in his class - Towns and that’s probably it. So, if you went all in and whiffed, it’s a lost season (relatively speaking - like the last two). Even if you drop Okafor in, you better hope it gets you a deep run, because what about the following year. You have to replace with a similar talent level, because you have nothing at all in the post.

    PS - have not heard anything to indicate that Diallo has anything close to Okafor’s skills in the post. May be a better defender, however.

    @drgnslayr While I would like nothing better than for UK to end up in the NIT next year, regardless of what happens with the twins (who may end up staying), they look to be loaded again. Arguably their two best players after Towns - Booker and Ulis - are likely to be back (although Booker shows up as a mid-1st round on most draft boards). And, they will have Poythress back, plus probably Lee and maybe Johnson. And, Calipari already has the top-ranked class (2 5 and 1 4 star) and he could very well get one or two of the uncommitteds - looks like they are waiting to see with UK guys declaring - wouldn’t be surprised if Newman ends up there.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Is Diallo an elite offensive talent that Okafor is. Not even close, Okafor has rare skill set for a big.

    Diallo is a better defensive player even though he’s a good 2 inches shorter and a few pounds lighter. I’ve seen enough games that weren’t an all-star setting to know that Diallo can impact the game like no other big in his class. But if you throw him the ball in an Iso situation he’s not going to score like Okafor could. The things that I like about Diallo the most is that he can get put-backs, an underrated skill, he runs the floor effortlessly and his hustle is never a question.

    What do we want at the 5? A shotblocker? A footer? A scorer? Diallo is A, none are 2 but Thorne is close. and Zimmerman is the last.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I thought the refs were part of the package as well…:)

  • @drgnslayr

    UK is not going to the NIT next year, They are the #1 ranked team in the first ESPN poll for next season.

    BTW, ISU is ranked #4, KU #8 and OU #9, Baylor #15 and Texas #21, so it looks like the Big 12 will continue to be tough and Conference Title #12 will be a lot more difficult to win.

  • I’m reading a book now called “Tales from the Jayhawks hardwood : a collection of the greatest Kansas basketball stories ever told”. It has stories and quotes from many of the great Kansas basketball stars that ever played here. To name a few, Dave Robisch, Clyde Lovellette, Jo-Jo White, Bud Stallworth, well you get the idea. Really almost all of the greats.

    Every single one of them, when asked why they chose The University of Kansas answered the same.

    It felt like family. I felt loved. I felt respected. I was overwhelmed by the history and tradition. The campus was beautiful. The fans were knowledgeable and friendly.

    Not one dang mention of " I wanted to be in the national spotlight." “I felt going to Kansas would improve my NBA draft prospects.” " I felt I could make an extra 3 mil per year if I went here instead of…Utah State (whatever)."

    Pay attention Bill. Recruit the ones who want to work hard and be part of a family. They will hang banners in the Fieldhouse.

  • @nuleafjhawk

    How the times have changed. I bet none of those players had as a final goal to go to the NBA but to get a degree. Nowadays, college is just a steppingstone to the NBA; unfortunately for better or worse…this is reality.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Reality Bites.

Log in to reply