Which Jayhawk Will Improve the Least?



  • I am torn on this issue.

    I venture only a toss up between Jamari Traylor and Hunter Mickelson, among returning scholarship players, or an OAD.

    OADs do not seem to improve over the coarse of a season. Instead, they seem to reach a point, when Self decides the hope for any improvement, no matter how much he tries to coach them; i.e., the hope that they might learn to play the game properly in a single season from coaching is dashed, and he just puts them in and lets them do what they could have done from the beginning.

    I believe this is John Calipari’s secret to coaching OADs.

    OADs cannot be coached up in a single season.

    They really do not get better at all.

    They are just either denied being able to do what they can do naturally, or allowed to do it.

    Every OAD KU has had has gone through this awkward phase of being coached that seems not to produce any measurable improvements.

    Then at some point, Self says, “Okay, go play.”

    Many of us, including me, have rationalized this transition as players struggling with getting acclimated to D1 speeds and so on, and then suddenly, as Self says, “a light goes on.”

    I now think that is a lot of hogwash.

    Every OAD KU signs should be put in the starting line up if he is better than another player, and allowed to do what he can do without any coaching to “develop” him as a player. They DON’T develop. They don’t want to develop. There isn’t time to develop. Their posses don’t want them to develop. They can’t rationally take any physical risks, beyond those that come from playing a fairly violent game, even when one protects the merchandize.

    Play the mofo’s if you are going to sign them.

    Forget about them getting better.

    They don’t.

    They just get less confused when the coaching stops and they are allowed to use the bag of tricks they are born with.



  • So Embiid wasn’t an OAD?



  • That’s an easy question to answer - Brannen Greene.

    With his injury basically wiping out his entire offseason, Brannen Greene that we saw last season will be Brannen Greene that we see next year, except healthy. He can’t work on his defense, his ball handling, his conditioning or really anything because he can’t run or jump for five months. Just a horrible break for him, and for KU overall.



  • @ParisHawk

    He was not an OAD. He was a project.

    But I think he proves my point.

    He most certainly did not improve over the season.

    Self just realized that Wiggins wasn’t going to play the way he wanted him to play, for whatever reason, and so Self moved the saddle onto Embiid and said, “We are done coaching you, Feet, don’t fail us now.” Self said before the season started that Embiid had the best feet of any big man he ever recruited, maybe the best he ever saw. Self road those feet.

    Everything Embiid did at the end, he could do at the beginning.

    Zero learning. Embiid just looked better, because they quit coaching him and started running everything through him tailored to what he could already do.



  • @ParisHawk he wasn’t recruited as a OAD, I remember him being described as very new to the game, and raw, a project player.



  • @justanotherfan

    You are probably right about BG, but that part of me that believes in great talent + plus hard work = great accomplishment was holding out hope for him to shoot 46% from trey for a season.

    Tyrell Reed shot 46% his junior season when he was not battling operable injury.

    Brandon was firing away at 45-50% when his form was good and his hip was not making him hop on his trey atttempts like a rabbit trying to compensate for a sore joint.

    I am saying my prayers for him to pull a recovery with hard work–he is an intense Georgia man–and for his 6-7 height to compensate for whatever pop he loses in rehab. And then for him to come out and jump an inch or two less on the elevation but be symmetric and steady enough to rip cords like the man without a conscience about shooting that he is.

    I figure if he shoots 45-50% from trey instead of the 40.4% he finished at, then maybe he would not be the least improved player.

    But I get sentimental about great shooters and guys trying to bounce back from surgeries.

    I may not be totally objective. 🙂



  • @5541-james

    Exactly.

    And he really didn’t give himself a chance to learn to play the game at KU.

    He had to just play with what he already had.

    And by jumping he deferred learning to play the game longer.

    I understand why he jumped. Bad injury that could easily wreck his desirability in the draft, if the degree of injury slowed him the next season at KU. But he is such a huge talent that it is very sad that he could not get more development time. At least he got some serious bones. That’s most important unless you are already independently wealthy. And he has so much talent that if his back permits, he will have a long career in the NBA even as a back up, during which time he can develop his skills to at least journeyman level and make as much money as Ostertag and Collison. He made the right decision to jump, but oh what might have been!!!



  • I think Jamari. I thought he would be a pretty huge piece of our puzzle last year and he probably regressed. He is a great athlete and will have an occasional amazing dunk or block or hustle play but I think what we have seen is what we are going to get. A 6’7 guy who is stuck playing the 5 spot who can’t rebound and can’t shoot.

    Love the guy. I just don’t think he is going to ever get better which goes against how I have felt for the last few years. This last season just gave me the impression that he is not ever going to be good.



  • @joeloveshawks

    Here is what I am learning from this post. We all hate the idea of anyone not getting better, when they put in the work. Its unjust. We all love these guys and deep down want all of them to keep getting better, not just for the team but for themselves.

    What the hell, Joe! Its clear to me we both love The Tray.

    If Jam Tray is a guy we both fear might not get better, let’s jump on his wagon and shout, "You CAN do it, Tray. You have come so far, don’t stop now. You are just a jump hook, or a short J away, from getting loose with that drive you showed last season. And maybe that injury was keeping you from going after those boards that you seemed to be getting the hang of chasing for a game or two mid season.

    There have been so many times big and small in my life, when it seemed hopeless and then it wasn’t.

    Go, Jam, GO!!!



  • @jaybate-1.0 thank you!



  • @justanotherfan

    I see your point but I am not sure I agree. Brannen was starting to play better and his defense, although still lacking, was considerably better than the previous year and his defensive rebounding was much improved. In hindsight, I can see how his injury completely negated side to side movement and seriously handicapped his defense. Brannen is a smart kid and I am hoping he he will be a nice surprise once he is healed. Many players actually come out stronger from an injury since going through the rehabilitation regime gives them a more balanced and better training approach that takes better advantage of their strengths and compensates for their weaknesses…I am hoping it works this way for him.



  • Tyler Self.



  • @jaybate-1.0 All good points but hey, you asked who we think will improve the least and that is my answer. Hope I am wrong. I hope Tyler Self improves the least.



  • @JayHawkFanToo I’ve said this before, but I’ve never seen a d 1 athlete move like BG! But now I can understand why he moved like that. Question is was he always so bad that nobody, including team drs and trainers, suspected an injury? I think he HAS to be better, just not sure it will be next fall w/out summer wkouts. Really think he would benefit himself and team w/redshirt.



  • @JayHawkFanToo and @jaybate-1.0

    I absolutely agree that guys coming back from injury usually recover just fine. My hesitation with BG is that with him missing the entire offseason, he doesn’t have a chance to add anything to his game this summer. He can’t work on his one dribble pull up jumper (a deadly addition to his game, btw). He can’t work on his quickness on defense. He can’t tighten up his ball handling.

    BG needs the offseason to strengthen the areas of his game that were shaky last year (defense, ball handling). It isn’t just about overcoming the injury - it’s about rounding out his game to make him a more all around player. With the injury, I just don’t see how that happens.

    If he comes back too quickly, he risks re-injury or permanent limitation. But not coming back eliminates almost the whole offseason. By the time his hip is likely strong enough for work, it’s time for conditioning. He will likely be behind on conditioning, depending on how limited he is during the last 6 weeks of his rehab.

    So BG will, by virtue of the injury (not anything to do with his work ethic) probably be out of shape when fall conditioning starts, having not played actual basketball in more than five months. Just not a good recipe for improvement.

    I’m definitely rooting for BG. I like his game and think he has a lot of potential. Just the timing of this injury is a killer.



  • @wissoxfan83 safe bet.



  • @wissoxfan83 do you honestly think Tyler goes to weights? Man, he’s so scrawny.



  • @justanotherfan

    Recovery form injury has changed dramatically in recent years. 25 years ago I had arthroscopic surgery on my left shoulder to remove scar tissue that had formed between the ball and socket (carrying a laptop…make that a 30 pound transportable computer did it); I had to stay in the hospital for 2 days and my arm was fully immobilized for 1 month and after that, when the holding gear was removed, my arm hung limp on the side and it would not move and I had to do go through extensive rehab to get it fully operational again. Two year ago I had a more extensive arthroscopic surgery on the other shoulder to remove scar tissue as well as bone spur; the surgery was done as outpatient and I was sent home the same day with a plain cloth sling and instructions to only use it if the shoulder became painful. Within a week my arm was almost back to normal and all the rehab required was to exercise at home it with rubber bands.

    I will guess that Brannen will soon be starting with light exercise and graduate quickly to a heavier routine. Like I said, recovery form surgery is now a lot shorter than it used to be and exercise/rehab starts fairly quickly. I am really not worried about him not being in shape come next season.



  • @JayHawkFanToo Yeah the medical advances are amazing-my father was part bionic by the time he passed.

    One thing that will probably slow BG’s recovery is that joint is weight bearing.

    I have two bad knees and a hip that’s worse. I keep putting the repairs/replacements off.



  • @wissoxfan83 All Tyler has to do is score 4pts and have 2 assists to double last years output. I believe that would be the most improved player! HCBS did say he was going to lighten the schedule so I would guess you are dead wrong lol…



  • @JayhawkRock78 better to fix them now than later. I’ve seen that w/my folks.



  • @Crimsonorblue22 Right now I have two kids in high school and the activity level is off the charts. He will be off to college in the fall and I was thinking maybe things would be easier to handle then or next year when the other one is gone to college. I will admit I am a bit nervous. My sister had both knees replaced last year and it was a LONG recovery.



  • @JayhawkRock78 did she have them at same time? A friend did it that way, he was around 50, recovered nicely. Hips are easier. My mom can hardly walk now because of her knees, to late to have them done now. She gets steroids shots, not much relief.



  • I’ll say Perry Ellis. I think we’ll see the same player next season, much as we saw pretty much the same player this season from the prior year.

    In 2013-14, Ellis was 13.6 points per game, 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and .6 blocks.

    In 2014-15, Ellis was 13.8 points per game, 6.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and .7 blocks.

    Marginal improvement at best. We discussed many times that he’d be better with a real center. Well, he had a real center much of 2013-14. Numbers were a touch worse then. We pretty much know what we’ll get from Perry, which is pretty darn good.

    My prediction is premised on the assumption that we run the same Bill Self system offensively. If that changes, I could see Perry bump to 17-18 ppg pretty easily.



  • @JayhawkRock78

    Don’t wait, unlike wine, it does not get better/easier with age.



  • @Crimsonorblue22 Yes she had them both done at once. I was thinking I could only handle one at a time. I knew a guy with one bad knee and the other was okay. He told me the stress on the other knee during recovery was so bad he had to get the other done-kind of made be wonder if the first one wasn’t done very well.



  • @jaybate-1.0 I think Coach Self will improve the least. Maybe. Or maybe it’ll be baby Jay.



  • @JayhawkRock78 usually before you get one side fixed the other gets worse 'cause you favor it.



  • @Lulufulu

    Baby Jay…PHOF



  • I’m going to put on my KU glasses and say all the players will get better. However in light of your question I’m going to say a OAD. There will be a recruit a OAD that won’t live up to the hype.



  • Olivia Wilde will not come to a KU game this next season, and so she will not get better.

    And now, a moment of silent mourning. 🙂



  • @DoubleDD Cliff left!



  • @jaybate-1.0 she had a baby, maybe that was the reason?



  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Oh, no! The chalice in the palace with the brew that is true is no more? Or is it the vessel with the pestle? 🙂

    Olivia, you are still our favorite movie star and now you have a baby jay!!!



  • @jaybate-1.0 been awhile too.



  • I’m seeing the glass half full this morning… so I’d rather comment on the player I see improving most.

    DEVONTE GRAHAM!


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