The Need For Intelligent Recruiting

  • The season is over. In recent years many top high school recruits have moved their decisions into this time of year. To date, Kansas has only one new player recruited for next year while still having 3 scholarship available (and possibly more soon).

    Many Kansas fans feel unsatisfied with our team’s performance this last year, and also with several other recent years.

    We all know how important it is to recruit the right players in. Talent is important, basketball intelligence, important. And recruiting balance; filling quality depth at every position. Players should be fit together with the idea that they could develop good chemistry.

    I’m looking back a year ago. One year ago we were coming up to the NBA draft and all the talk was about 2 Kansas OADs bound for glory in the draft. Andrew and JoJo accomplished their glory by becoming the 1st and 3rd picks.

    Most basketball fans would think that Kansas could then use such publicity in a popular fashion to help “keep the momentum going” and land another stellar recruiting class. We did land two blue chip prospects last year. One panned out well, the other not so well. Meanwhile, there remained a big hole in the interior, an area always given the brightest light in Jayhawkland because of our focus on hi/lo offense, and M2M defense using a superior big man to “make up the difference” when guarding assignments are blown. Our defense will always highlight the skills of a good shot blocker. There is a reason why Jeff Withey earned so many blocked shots as a Jayhawk. A big part of it was his skilled timing, but also he was aided by the plethora of opportunities he had to block shots.

    It was recently exposed that Kansas spends more money in recruiting than any other D1 school in the nation. Are we getting our money’s worth? We left a glaring hole in the post last year and no other school in the nation puts such an emphasis on the 5 position than Kansas. How can that be?

    I am saying that now because it appears we could be in that same position again this year. Many will argue that there just aren’t great 5s available out there. But I’m wondering why we should be a team that has to “fight for the scraps” in the post when supposedly our entire strategy plays through our big man. We’ve definitely put several bigs in the league, many who came to Kansas and were not 5-star recruits.

    I look at last year and I see recruiting desperation at Kansas. We didn’t even fill all our scholarships. That should say something. And we picked up a late signing at the 2… a position we ended up crowding 6 capable players in one slot! Yes… 6 players! Is it any wonder that a diehard Jayhawk like Conner left for bluer skies? HALF of our scholarship players were capable 2s! HALF! Wayne, Conner, Frank, Devonte, Brannen, and Svi! Okay… we have Frank and Devonte sharing the point, too, but Frank is a converted PG (from the 2) leaving Devonte as perhaps our only true PG. On top of all this, it is clear that Wayne receives special treatment for his PT. He has started every game as a Jayhawk. What amazes me is the contradiction stated in past years from Self. When we had problems with EJ in his senior year Self mentioned that much of the problem was he had no one else to play and compete at that position, so he couldn’t just pull EJ. Last year, he had 6 guys that fit in the 2, but the majority of minutes were given to a guy that clearly underperformed.

    If it makes you feel better, remove Frank from the equation since he was our full-time PG last year… then that leaves 5 guys we invested into at the 2 and we didn’t even reach a decent level of output at that position! That fact is screaming off the page! First… we totally botched our recruiting to have that kind of imbalance at one position. Because of it, we were bound to have holes in other places. Second… even with all that talent funneled into one position, we end up underachieving at that position! And the result was a mid-season transfer.

    All of this points to desperation in recruiting. All of this points to a lack of purpose in recruiting… a lack of structure… a lack of performance… a lack of execution. Why do fans point at the players for a season that fell below the bar? Wasn’t this a gigantic coaching failure? Wasn’t a big part of this recruiting failure? And by the blue blood program that spends more money on recruiting than any other program in the country?

    Why do we always have to count on last-second recruits coming in and saving us? Why do we only have one recruit signed so far? Why do we sit now nervously on the bubble, waiting to see if we can fill gigantic holes in our post? OUR POST! “BIG MAN U CAN’T LAND POST PLAYERS?!”

    Maybe this problem is about to go away for next year… after all, we get to play an extra season and represent our country soon. Surely that is a big enough carrot to entice a big man to select Kansas. Or is it?

    Could the problem be our use of the hi/lo?

  • @drgnslayr Kind of begs the question of how does Sleazy load UK with 2 NBA teams and still manage to recruit more 5 star McD’s AA’s? Leaves everybody else scrambling for leftovers waiting for the spring signing period to see who declares. Probably stay that way til his slimy a$$ is busted or he goes back to the league.

  • @brooksmd

    There is plenty of awesome talent out there that the squid isn’t in on. He didn’t go hard after a guy like Buddy Hield, Neither did we.

    Perhaps the problem is Self started recruiting in Calipari’s shadow. Cal just recruits off the charts. He doesn’t go after guys that have unknown potential. Seems we used to do that more often, but now we mostly focus on the guys that get all the attention.

    I think we are sckrewed as long as we recruit in Cal’s shadows. Of course there are players both schools will go for, but we should be going hard on guys that are undervalued. These guys usually turn out to be some of the better players because they have a chip on their shoulders. TRob is a good example of that and he helped take us to the championship game with a team that had ZERO McDs AAs!

  • I think our issue is that we have not adapted to the talent we have.

    For example, Cal rose to prominence at Memphis with the dribble drive motion, which featured very few post ups for interior players. However, at UK, he has used post ups when he had serious post threats like Cousins, Davis, Randle and Towns.

    But at the same time, he still uses some DDM principles with his other guys when those post threats aren’t in the game. He has a lot of pick and roll action in his offense so his guards get to be creative on that. He also uses the flare screen action to free up shooters like Doron Lamb in his title year, or Booker this year. He let’s the Harrison twins run clear outs to show their strength and finishing ability.

    Simply put, Cal’s offense reflects the strengths of the individual players that he recruits. Cauley-Stein rarely posts up because he’s not a good back to the basket player, but he scores because he runs pick and rolls up top, catches lobs and works the offensive glass. It’s pretty easy to see how that can translate to him becoming a Tyson Chandler type of player at the next level, just like you can see the Harrison’s becoming Arron Afflalo type players at the next level. You can see Towns being a Demarcus Cousins lite because you can see the skills and how they will translate.

    Same thing for Duke. You can absolutely see how Justise Winslow will be at the next level, probably similar to Kawhi Leonard. Tyus Jones has all the makings of a solid NBA point guard, and the system allowed him to showcase that.

    How often have we seen KU really highlight the strengths of its best players? Not to say Self hasn’t been effective, because he has, but he hasn’t truly highlighted his best player’s abilities. That is something that the elite players can see. Self has built a system that highlights the system. For a while this year, he was heading towards highlighting his best players, but then he pulled back (remember the “Fool’s Gold” comments).

    Self feared taking that next step and handing the reins over to his best players. Cal has done that. Coach K has done that. Sean Miller has done that. There’s a reason that Coach K won a title, Cal has been to back to back Final Fours and Miller keeps going to the Elite Eight. They have adapted their system to fit their personnel. Self wants his personnel to run his system.

    He wants Perry to dominate with his back to the basket, but Perry is better facing up.

    He wants Wayne to be a standstill shooter, but Wayne is a slasher.

    We have to do more to mold our system to our current personnel.

  • 1:30 mark

  • @justanotherfan So what you are saying is you want Cal at KU?

  • @drgnslayr Thanks for the thought provoking comment on recruiting. I always wondered why, and here are my two cents: 1) KU has to spend as it is in the middle of this huge country where it takes 3 hrs min (that’s direct flight) just to get to Vegas, that’s not the coast. So I’m ok with the $ spent. 2) In my humble opinion, we haven’t landed top PGs because Self is known for hi/lo, and self-boasting PGs aren’t going to take a second seat to footers, and I can’t blame them. 3) Self’s “earn your spot” invites injuries because these young kids have to physically play like never before, and he’s motto “to play through injuries” has no appeal to talented kids who want easy way to NBA. If I were a top 5 and trying to protect my assets (body) and need to buy 1 year in college, I won’t go to KU. Wiggins has the IQ and athleticism, but was young and would have followed Self’s motto. That said, he has a father who knows the industry and understood the risk of injuries, thus telling Wiggns to get buy without injuries. His dad protected Wiggins from Self. That’s how I saw it. 4) Agree, Self needs to modify and adjust his strategies according to each player. It’s one thing to follow a system, but good leader knows how to maximize one’s resources on hand. He had to this season, but some other seasons, he left me scratching my head. I’m not criticizing Self, just pushing and wanting him to be better. I have no doubt he will. 5) Lastly and most importantly - because this is beyond Self and staff’s control - jb’s ShoeCos that controls the industry. Where the money is, the corruption follows. Self who plays by the rule (unlike Cali or K) is playing in the field with one hand tied to his back. I say Duke’s K because he may not be like Cal, but he bends & stretches & manipulates the rules and that equates to cheating in my book. All said, I remain hopeful and excited to see how Self jump starts.

  • @Statmachine

    I have been looking for this video for a while, I am so glad you found it. I quoted the words before since they seem directed to the “fans” that believe they know more about the team than he does…:)

  • I sure hope HCBS is pounding on the doors of the 2016 class like a mad man! Next year no matter what we will lose Traylor, Mickelson, Lucas, Ellis, and then early departures in Svi, Selden, maybe an OAD or 2? Its not really that far fetched to think that Mason and Greene could leave also. We will need a monster recruiting class next year! Which means we will be young again SMH. Imagine what losing 8 guys or more in 1 year will look like?

  • @HawksWin I’ve read a number of posts on avoiding injuries including Wiggins holding back and I believe that’s true.

    I also think back to my youth and remember I didn’t like contact in middle school, but the bigger, stronger and older I got the more I liked it. Even on a bball court.

    So I think you have some alpha dogs in this mix, and some of these athletes will go all out because that’s who they are. Now maybe most the guys who are flying around and fearless aren’t NBA bound (Jamari?), but I think there are some NBA prospects that do play all out without holding back (Okafor).

  • @Statmachine Shades of 2008 when we lost the NC starting five?

  • @drgnslayr “but we should be going hard on guys that are undervalued. These guys usually turn out to be some of the better players because they have a chip on their shoulders. TRob is a good example of that and he helped take us to the championship game with a team that had ZERO McDs AAs!”

    But then you’re looking at possibly 1 or 2 down years, loss of the pseudo Big 12 Championship streak, and then watch the naysayers start calling for the firing of HCBS. I agree with what you’re saying but at the same time we have the “we are KU and we demand championships” crowd who would tar and feather HCBS. Some reside on this board.

  • @brooksmd YES!!! KU has to step it up next season because we could be really thin on talent following next season! I think it could work out with recruiting though because he will be able to tell the 2016 class that he WILL have immediate PT if they just sign right here. Plus the over seas trip to boot.

  • @brooksmd

    After the 2012-2013 we lost all five starters including 3-5th year seniors Releford, Withey, and Young, senior EJ and red-shirt sophomore McLemore…21 years of combined college experience for the starting 5 and went from one of the more experienced teams in the country to one of the younger and at one time started 4 freshmen in 2013-2014.

  • @brooksmd

    “But then you’re looking at possibly 1 or 2 down years, loss of the pseudo Big 12 Championship streak, and then watch the naysayers start calling for the firing of HCBS. I agree with what you’re saying but at the same time we have the “we are KU and we demand championships” crowd who would tar and feather HCBS. Some reside on this board.”

    True… but if we were recruiting right then these guys would be our backups, learning from the guys ahead of them. In the old days players started on JV before advancing to Varsity.

    I am not going against recruiting OADs. I might be going against recruiting STRICTLY OADs because we need some guys that will stay longer and develop.

    There are going to be naysayers all the time. On some things I am in that group. We shouldn’t make this personal and dramatic. We all want results, so does all other D1 teams. I believe a big part of this site is for people to come on and give their ideas that might put us on the right track. I don’t want to fire Self. I have some questions and would like to see them answered. I’d like to have a feel for the direction we are headed.

    It does feel like we are a team in transition, but what are we going to become? What will be our new identity?

    Aren’t we in the hunt for another 2 now? Kind of freaks me out.

  • There isn’t any great 5’s left to get. But in terms of system players and fit, Diallo & Thorne are it.

    You could say Zimmerman’s skill would be good in the high/low but he’s already publicly said he’s going to college for one year with the least risk. He could at least gave fans any hope that he’d try in his short career. AKA I’m going to do just enough to get by.

    Maker is a UK system and possible red-flag written all over him. The fact that staying another year in prep school is a distinct possibility says that. He won’t get better playing HS kids but it will allow him the least resistance to the league.

    At this juncture Diallo is the only inkling of a player who could play more than 1 year of college ball.

  • Edit

  • @BeddieKU23

    We could use Diallo and Thorne.

    I guess what I’m getting at is why is it midnight and our carriage turned to a pumpkin? I look around the country and see many D1 schools, ranked far far below Kansas, and they have a decent big man. I’m not still expecting the next JoJo to suddenly appear in the night.

    Waiting on a kid like Zim sounds like fouls gold. He reminds me of Tarc at Arizona. We waited on that guy, too.

    Is our bar just set too high, and then at the end, when the music stops we grab the first chair available?

    Maybe we keep waiting around too long for a frog to turn into a magic prince?

  • @drgnslayr

    After last call the women still left at the bar start looking much better…or so I am told…:)

  • @drgnslayr

    It just looks more and more like Chaos recruiting than anything. We didn’t sign anyone in the fall, but for the staff’s sake almost everyone they were recruiting with regularity said they were going to wait. If it wasn’t for getting Bragg in January I’m sure we’d be in even more meltdown mode. Knowing that, knowing guys would leave wouldn’t it have been beneficial to try and lock someone else in the fall?? Nope we are stuck in the carousel waiting for a kid to get off at our stop…

    You look at the 16 class and you see almost 30 kids already signed. Why haven’t we locked in anyone yet? Goes into your fools gold statement of waiting around for that magical chair. I look at a kid like Schnider Herard who was ranked in the #50’s before rivals update is now up to #35. Sign him he’s 6"10 250, don’t wait for him to hit the grassroots stage and have a breakout summer and then next time he’s in the top 15… The kid has been to KU multiple times and we should already be trying to get him to verbal.

    You know the top 10-15 kids are going to do the same thing that previous classes have done and wait. They know the exposure they get from holding out. I wonder if its as stressful for Self and staff as it is for us fans waiting and waiting for kids to announce on ESPN.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Good points. However, this particular class has been difficult to read because so many top players are still unsigned, no doubt waiting to see who declares and who stays and who will have available playing time. 7 of the top 12 players are still unsigned and all 7 have KU in their list of candidate schools; all we really need is one (two would be better) capable C/PF and with Bragg we will be in very good shape…it makes you yearn for the predictable days when only senior left and underclassmen stayed hoping to get playing time in their junior and senior years…the good ol’ days.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Valid response, I think its trending towards a norm where the top kids are going to wait to the last minute now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see none of the remaining kids sign til next spring.

    Weird things have happened, kids have gone overseas like Jennings & Mudiay. Kids are re-classifying at an alarming rate (Wiggins, Towns) to mention a few. Duke literally may have to rely on a 2016 kid reclassifying to be their point guard next year.

    ESPN plays a factor now too. They televise more and more HS games, and then when kids announce want them on TV to do it.

  • Unless a kid really knows for certain where they want to go (no matter what) then it is smart for them to declare later. Mostly because it is hard to say who will come and go on teams they are considering. Plus… there are other late players signing so they want to know who all will be coming to what school.

    It has really made recruiting tough because if you don’t get players to sign late the time has run out on even just respectable players. That thought put me in a panic this morning…

  • @drgnslayr

    …and with so many players leaving UK every year the chance of schoolies not being available for top players is extremely small. 🙂

  • I have a question about OADs that I would ike someone to answer and explain.

    Does the NCAA believe that the OAD issue is a problem? From what I’ve read the NCAA thinks it isn’t good for CBB and the NBA will have to fix it. Why can’t the NCAA go back to the way it was 40-50 years ago and declare freshmen ineligible for varsity competition? Or is it a fundamental right for a freshman to play on the varsity?

  • @Wigs2 Back in the day there were freshmen teams for basketball and football. These were also the only two revenue sports year in year out. Title nine made the schools split the funds in half and give half to the women. I believe that is when freshmen teams were eliminated.

  • @drgnslayr

    You would have to think if they are a top prospect that no matter where they go the coach is clearing his spot for that player.

    If you think about it right now looking at KU’s roster with the assumption Ellis will finish his career with us we have 3 Senior big men leaving next year and 1 guard (Selden) that could be gone after his Jr. year. Not to mention if Svi becomes a starter and improves leaps and bounds, or Greene becomes a more well rounded player to go with his jump-shot. Honestly our roster is taylor made for guys to commit early to. Then you got Bragg (unknown how big his role will be) and I really think Diallo is KU bound.

    The moral of my story is that we should be hitting this summer hard to get some 2016 commits because we are going to need a whole lot next year.

  • @Wigs2

    The OAD issue was not created by the NCAA and there is not much it can do about it. The OAD rule is an NBA rule that indicates that in order to play in the NBA a player has to be at least 19 years old and be one year removed from his graduating HS class. The NBA could go the way baseball does, you can go to the League straight from College but if you go to college first, you have to wait 3 years…there you have it, problem solved. Most of the true OAD players would move straight to the NBA (and bypass UK) and the rest stay in college for 3 years or go play overseas.

  • @BeddieKU23

    “The moral of my story is that we should be hitting this summer hard to get some 2016 commits because we are going to need a whole lot next year.”

    I think your story is a pretty good crystal ball into the future, as well as it can be predicted. I’m not sure why we are unable to land more talent early… like players who are ready to blow up their game and hit everyone’s charts.

    I wish recruits felt more urgency to come to Kansas. If I was a recruit, I would feel it, but then, I’m from Kansas!

  • @drgnslayr duh!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Duh… I’m from Kansas, or duh I’d want to go to Kansas?

    Ha… I WENT to Kansas… and they didn’t want me! I have to admit, it was my own fault because I had an opportunity to tryout as a walk-on and didn’t even try. I don’t even remember that they called the opportunity for “walk-ons.” Anyone know when that terminology came about? I don’t remember it back then… in the dinosaur era.

  • @drgnslayr I’m from ks, of course we all think KU’s the best!!! Most of us!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Think? Sista, don’t you KNOW?!

    Any doubt is blasphemy! Now drop and give me 20!


    (You all got me jacked sky high earlier with all your uplifting posts… so now you have to suffer the consequences)

    Church has begun! Father Drgnslayr will read from the wise book of Jayhawk. All rise!

  • @drgnslayr I think we need to find smarter basketball players, like Devonte. Making 1 great play will never make up for 3 dumb plays. It seems our offense collects dumb turnovers like white to rice, and this year was no different. The names change, but the turnover problem doesn’t.

  • @KUSTEVE that comment is so funny coming from jethro!

  • @KUSTEVE how would you determine those? A written and oral bb test?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 i have a 6th grade education, and i’m real good at cypherin’!!!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 silly you…lol. basketball smarts …great handles…great passing ability…etc…

  • @KUSTEVE you can be skilled, but not smart, no?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 you can be 6’6, going over a 5’9 guy but you are 4 feet away from the basket when you go up for your dunk, so you throw the ball at the basket because you’ve already committed yourself. And then do it 20 times during the season. That isn’t smart basketball. That is a walking turnover. And we had those types of possessions all season. And that partly, was what caused us to go home in the first weekend for the 2nd straight year. We don’t value the ball nearly enough, or our possessions. Our point guard play was much better than last year, but I think we certainly needs lots of improvement from the rest of the team in just the basic fundamentals of the game, from passing, protecting the ball, making good decisions with the ball, etc. I watched Wisconsin in the championship game, and watched an offensive show of passing, hitting the open man, back doors, and I really wished our offense looked like theirs. I really do.

  • @KUSTEVE I know!

  • @JayHawkFanToo The NBA rule doesn’t force anything on CBB. The NCAA just doesn’t do anything about it and wants the NBA Players Union to fix the problem. If the NCAA was really serious about eliminating the OAD, and reinstate the freshman-ineligibility rule, the NBA couldn’t do anything about it. That would force them to draft players who have not been tested. Then those high schoolers who think they are good enough to play pro can either go to the NBDL or somewhere else for a year… I just don’t agree that it’s an NBA problem.

  • @Wigs2

    In today’s environment the NCAA could not reinstate the freshman ineligibility rule. The game, the players and the environment no longer fit that rule; frankly, you are the only person I have heard on the subject. The students don’t want it, the schools don’t want it and except for the very wealthy programs, most don’t have the money to support two teams. As much as we complain about the level of the game. the average HS prospect is physically at the level a college sophomore was 40+ years ago when the freshman rule was in effect; likewise, the current average OAD lottery pick plays a at higher level than a first round pick college senior 40+ years ago. The iPhone has more computer power than the mainframes NASA had in 1969 when it placed two astronauts on the moon…things change and we cannot go back to a rule that was applicable 50 years ago but now it makes zero sense.

    You are right insofar that the NBA cannot force anything on the NCAA and does not, and I did not say it did; however, the entire OAD issue is predicated by the NBA rule that outlines eligibility to join the League. There is really nothing the NCAA can do to change the NBA rule to affect one way or another the OAD issue. If, as you suggest, the NCAA reinstates the freshman ineligibility rule, players will simply skip college and either play overseas, join a Development League, go to basketball academy to play an extra year and college basketball will wilt away since any player with potential of a pro career would not go to college…more likely, the NBA would do away with their own rule and select who they want. The NCAA cannot force the NBA to do anything any more than the NBA can force the NCAA; they are difference type of organizations with different goals and objectives and each will do what fits their plans best.

    Frankly, the best way to bring parity to college basketball is to allow the best prospect to go straight to the League and bypass UK all together, and the ones that go to college cannot join the League for 3 years. This would allow the ubber-talented players to go straight to the League and the rest would have 3 years to bring their game up to the level that they can join the NBA and have decent chance to succeed, plus they would have the benefit of completing 3 years of college which would allow many to graduate and the rest can comeback and in one extra year get a degree if their NBA careers do not work…a win-win situation as it would prevent situations as Josh Selby’s with no chance of playing in the League or getting a degree.

  • @JayHawkFanToo after Googling “freshman ineligible rule,” I see that there has been some discussion about it as recently as February 2015.

    It would be great if all the major conferences would do that. Then maybe teams like UMKC would get the OADs and the 3 and 4 stars would go to the major conferences. That would be great

  • @Wigs2 we’d miss all the players that find out they are more than OAD. OAD’s would all go overseas.

  • @Wigs2

    Yes, there is talk but it is just wishful thinking; that horse left the barn and there is no bringing it back. If you read the stories you cited, this item is always mentioned as a segue to the application of the baseball rule. The unintended consequences of making freshmen ineligible would destroy the sport, all the good players would skip college and who wants to watch a NCAA tournament full of players that are not good enough to play in the NBA?

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