Point-Counter Point: Ready for Some Old Wrinkles? :-)

  • The early season we will see a lot of b2b practice games the first three weeks to see if Self can find anyone that can score that way. Against some cupcakes, it will look like some can. But against good teams it will look like they cannot. Part of working on the b2b game goes beyond turning and dunking on an angle, or hooking a leg around a defender and catching a pass and dunking it, or catching and shooting a turnaround. Part of it will also involve the posts practicing passing cross lane out of doubles and kicking out to wings for open look treys. Hence, a bit more work on the b2b, while hoisting more treys in kick outs to try to win games at .82, while getting Diallo and Bragg experience with speed and violence.

    Against MSU and other good teams, we will see more driving and less Diallo and Bragg.

    The key to remember is that in pre-con we will see the team continually adding and subtracting pieces, so that it starts conference with as full of a tool chest as feasible.

    This will be less of a chore this season, because the perimeter players all pretty much know how to play with a full tool chest, so this season will revolve around teaching Diallo and Bragg as much as possible as soon as possible, under the assumption that Perry, Landen, Traylor and Mikelson know HOW to do things, whether or not they can do them well,.

    So: to the undiscerning eye, it will look like Self is changing the offense to “play through” our bigs a whole lot more early in the season, and being longer and more athletic, Diallo and Bragg will look pretty good against the cup cakes, but when ever we have to win games the first half of the season, games will be won just as they were last season. Shoot the trey, defend the lead. Drive it. Defend the lead. Shrink the impact space. Disruption of rhythm. Bad Ball. And all without a great wing man like Kelly became during the middle of the season, and the withered away from due to the ever enlarging gauze ball on his knee down the stretch. But this is now and that was then to invert the cliche.

    During the first half and during games with leads, we will play a classic high-low passing game as often as we can to teach Diallo and Bragg how to do it. Bad Ball will be played with the usual cast of Merrill’s Marauders from last season minus Oubre–a big loss, unless Brannen and Svi REALLY man up.

    Around late December, Self will make some assessments about what Diallo and Bragg can and cannot contribute during conference. What they can do will stay in. What they cannot do will be thrown out of the offense. Because we are dealing with freshman bigs that will have been poster children for child abuse by Ratso and his thugs after the MSU game, unless Self just keeps them out to be merciful, it will take a couple of cupcake games after MSU for Diallo and Bragg to get their balls grown back. So: as is usual for freshman bigs, there will be sharp ups and downs, and once a good coach sees them play a good team or two, then all their weaknesses will be schemed against and Self will have to sharply reduce what they are permitted to do.

    In the big pic, Self will try to craft a traditional high low game that will involve rotations of Diallo, Bragg and Perry, and also a Bad Ball game that will involve rotations of Landen, Traylor and Perry. This will keep it simple for Diallo and Bragg only having to learn to play high-low, not Bad Ball, too. Starting mid to late January, depending on what Diallo and Bragg can learn, they will begin to be introduced into Bad Ball rotations, too. And as the competition toughens in B12 action, more drive ball will be the trend, rather than less.

    As usual we will see some pretty good trey balling early when everyone’s wheels are sound and legs are rested. And as usual, as the season wears on and the gauze balls and the Victor’s Secret lingerie starts showing up on the knees of long ballers, and the tendons and ligaments of same, and they lose their elasticities, the trey balling will taper off because the shooting percentages will be falling in practice, where Self measures when to cut the 3ptas from the 15-20 per game range to the 10-15 range.

    What should be a huge concern for @HighEliteMajor and me (the resident 3pt apostates) is that Self has signed no more perimeter players. This spells doom for sustaining 20 3ptas the last third of the season. Losing and not replacing Oubre means we actually have fewer legs to draw on to keep our perimeter rotation from losing its legs down the stretch. Oh, it will be deceptive the first month of January, when Self likes to let them shoot a lot of treys early in conference to steal the early road wins and assure the home wins, and get that early conference lead to begin defending end of January with 10-15 trey plus drive ball and cram it inside when we can.

    I mean think about this perimeter situation. IF Devonte doesn’t have to spell Wayne so much, and can spell Frank more; AND IF Wayne learn to be consistent; AND IF Brannen gets his pop back; AND IF Svi learns to guard and shoot and drive as well as Kelly; THEN this perimeter still will be one injury away from the same lack of depth that forced Self to wear legs out of Frank. And we all know one perimeter injury ALMOST ALWAYS happens. And we know one UNREPORTED OPERABLE perimeter injury always happens. SO: SELF HAS TO SIGN ANOHER PERIMETER PLAYER THAT CAN ACTUALLY PLAY A LITTLE TO KEEP FROM BEING WEAKER ON THE PERIMETER NEXT SEASON THAN LAST SEASON.

    And if Self does not sign another 3, then we will see a lot of trey balling early in conference to get as much juice out of trey balling as he can before the injuries and wear and tear accumulate and he has to come up with another mumbo jumbo explanation for fans about why the three point shooting has to be reigned back in again down the stretch.

    I mean, last season Self told everyone that three point shooting was “fools gold” and the team had to learn to play a new version of inside out called driving it from outside fro all positions to get the equivalent of an inside shot aka BAD BALL with Mobile Big Man Attack Platforms in lieu of b2b bigs.

    Um, why did he call it fool’s gold, after he had just used 20-25 3pta trey balling to steal an early conference lead? Because…his trey ballers by then were starting to look like the flipping MUMMY from the waist down and Brannen wa playing on an operable hip injury; that’s why!!!

    Self could not very well hold an presser and tell the fans and opposing coaches: “Well, Frank’s legs are toast, Brannen’s hip is operable, Oubre’s knee is injured AGAIN, and Devonte gets sped up and roughed up, and so we really don’t have anyone that can hit the broad side of a barn from 19-9 away, so we are going to cut our 3ptas to 10-15 per game and start driving it all the time.” That would have been giving away the plan a bit too much, wouldn’t it? Self HAD to come up “fool’s gold” for the KU fans especially, because he knew they would begin excreting rectilinear masonry forms during the coming games, if they didn’t have some psy-ops jibberish to focus on in the short term, while KU began playing BAD BALL.

    All signs point to more BAD BALL the last third of the season unless:

    1.) two skinny freshmen 4s learn to dominate from the five;

    2.) Self signs another perimeter player that can play 15-20 mpg at 2-3; and

    3.) the refs start penalizing drive ball instead of rewarding it.

    The chances of the above three things converging by next February 1st seem similar to the probability of Jeb Bush turning on the Saudis; offering all the oil under Yemen (note: there’s reputedly enough oil under Yemen alone to supply the entire world for 50 years) to the Chinese; and telling the North Koreans that they and they alone are entitled to all the oil off North Korea.

    Of course, there is one other possibility that could reduce the likelihood of defaulting decisively into drive ball down the stretch. Self could sign a footer that can step in and score b2b.

    But this likelihood seems almost as improbable as Hilary Clinton admitting that she has always been, a reputed neocon plant in the Democratic Party; that she was a member of the Young Republicans during undergraduate school and law school, and that she worked as a volunteer for the Republican legal team trying to save the Republican’s and Richard Nixon’s bacon during Watergate, while she runs as Democratic candidate for President against Jeb Bush. And this IMHO is VERY improbable.

    So: in terms of probabilities–batetradamus foresees a very experimental first half of the season coming in which everyone’s hopes and dreams will be fulfilled briefly from game to game, and then down the stretch of the season batetradamus foresees another ascent of Bad Ball.

    The biggest question for KU: did the B12 schools add many true 5s that can score b2b? If the answer were yes, then KU could be in for a rough ride. KU lucked out last season. Last season the Big 12 was a conference with almost no 5s and very few long 4s. Self could smoke and mirror and BAD BALL through his lack of a b2b 5. I haven’t kept track of what the recruiting cat dragged into the B12. Does anyone else know?

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Although you can never have enough, KU has several good 3-point shooters.

    • Mason - 0.429
    • Graham - 0.425
    • Greene - 0.404
    • Ellis - 0.391
    • Selden - 0.365

    And Svi, that many think he is a 3-point shooter, but as I have posted before, I have yet to see that and he hit 0.288 from the 3 last season.

    The problem with our 3 point shooters is not that they cannot hit, the problem is that they cannot really create their own shot, except for Graham and maybe Mason, although Selden has knack for hitting 3s at the right time to either start a rally of stop the opponent’s momentum.

    I have been watching the NBA payoffs and I always enjoy watching the better 3-point shooters in the League operate; they need very little space and have such quick release that are almost unstoppable. If I were in the coaching staff at KU, I would sit these players have have them watch players like Redick and Curry and Harden and learn how they create their own shot and then they make it…

    As far as 5s, they are quickly becoming an endangered species. Very few true 5s left in the game since players that 10-15 years ago would have been playing center now they play PF or stretch PF. If you look at the NBA rosters I would be surprised if you find 10 starting players that are listed as center and most of the players that we think of as centers are really PFs and this trend has also moved to college. KU does not have single player listed as Center and even Lucas and Mickelson are listed as Forwards; Texas might have one or two of their bigs listed as center and maybe OU (???) but other than that I cannot think of any other League player listed as such. Players like Miles Turner that would have been perfect for the Hi-Lo, now go to Texas where he plays stretch PF. No love for centers anymore.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I so hope you are right, but here is why I have my doubts that you are.

    The three point shooting stats you list appear to me to reflect not what these shooters can make when relied on for an entire season, but what they can make after their first hot streak and right up to the point that practice and game shooting indicates it is time for Self to pull the plug before the slump drags the team into losses. Self has a track record the last several seasons at least of electing NOT to let shooters shoot their way out of slumps. From the start of seasons, KU shooters get tested and tested until they get hot; then they are allowed to shoot a lot of treys until their slump starts, and then at that time forwards they are tested and tested to see if their slum has ended. If you think about this technique of Self’s it almost guaranties that a shooter is never going to shoot his way out of a major slump the rest of a season, because the testing and pulling procedure ensures it takes many, many games to ever begin to shooting back to one’s average; i.e., come out of a slump.

    So: these KU player shooting stats do not quite mean what they appear to mean on many other teams. All teams I played on growing up and most coaches I have observed have tended to let three point shooters keep shooting for an entire season, as if it were their designated job hot or cold. Self does not really do that. Self let’s players shoot a lot when they are hot and not when they are not. This puffs up (biases) their shooting percentages and makes them look better than they are.

    Wayne likely would have been low 30s, or worse without this treatment.

    I suspect Mason will shoot back to his average next season. KU has had a number of trifectates have one exemplary shooting percentage season followed by a significant fall off.

    I suspect Graham’s percentage would fall significantly, if he were allowed to shoot more this season, which he probably will do since he will probably play more.

    Ellis 3pt percentage would likely fall if he were asked to shoot as many treys all season as he did during his hot streak the second half of the season.

    Greene we have warm and fuzzy feelings about, and rightly so, I believe, because he managed 40.4% on an operable hip. If his hip heals and his pop returns, and his one-legged shooting hop goes away, then we could expect a 45% season could be in his grasp. But will he get his pop back?

    And where as you pinpoint the problem of three point shooting to Self not being willing, or perhaps able, to devise and run action to get good shots for players, and/or limited players that cannot create their own shots, I see shooters that are plenty athletic to create shots off action, and to take open looks either one. Brannen Greene is 6-7 and a decent dribbler certainly by the second half of last season. Probably half the threes he faces in D1 he could shoot over anytime he wanted simply due to his height (when his hip is not operable). Frank is super quick and can create a shot. Svi can create a shot at 6-8, but he cannot make them, as you rightly note. Devonte has the ambidexterity to create a shot any time.

    Our players play for a coach who believes in using ball movement inside out and around the perimeter to create the open looks, because they are more open and easier to make, when the ball movement is effective. You and I and others think Self needs to creat more action to get looks, but this is what Self believes and IMHO anyway, not a problem of the player’s lack of ability.

    Quickness of shot release is a significant advantage. But so is great footwork enabling one to create some space. The greatest way to create a shot is being ambidextrous and a good dribbler, so that the defender can never overplay you to one hand for a drive and as a result has to lay off you farther to make sure you don’t drive on him; this is the way great NBA perimeter players get those open looks. Because they can go either way, the defender is laying off a half step and so the offender only has to take a jab step and the NBA defender HAS to give ground instantly; then the offender with great springs no step jumps and drills a three. When the guy tightens on him the next possession he drives a shoulder into him and steps back and shoots and gets a foul too. This footwork and ambidexterity on the dribble is vastly more important than quick release. Just go out on a floor and practice with anyone and tell them to guard you close. If a player guards you close, it doesn’t matter how quickly you pull the trigger they block it. Next ask him to sag off a little, then jab step on him and go straight up and don’t worry about releasing quickly. You get it off every time. Basketball, if you have all the basic skills and fundamentals, is 90 percent footwork, same as tennis. Same as volley ball.

    Now, about the 5.

    8 of the top ten teams had incredible height last season. Eight teams come to mind in the NCAA tourney that had four near footers that I can recall: Duke, UK, UA, Louisville, Utah, Zaga and even lowly New Mexico State.

    It was telling that Virginia which had EIGHT guys 6-8 could not really get it done in the Madness once the footer stacks were playing for all the marbles and pulling no punches; i.e., not saving anything. Even eight 6-8 guys on a team were not up to the four footer challenge.

    6 or 7 of the 8 teams had 4 footers each and one–UW–had Kaminsky–the game’s first true stretch 5 footer in the last ten years.

    Height inside is more important now than ever before, because all of the height is getting stacked at a hand full of schools.

    Your example of Myles at Texas is a great example. Texas guarantied itself being a mediocre also ran by having him floating outside without the kind of trey ball that Kaminsky had. Myles was useless outside. Coaches and players will use what happened to Myles in recruiting and coaching for years. THAT is why you don’t let near footers play the perimeter unless they really have the skills to do it, and then you are only letting them play out their intermittently, as Bo Ryan used Kaminsky.

    Gotta have at least one footer to match up with one of the 4 footers on the other team, so that you can use your stretch 4 to pull their other footer starting away from the basket.

    Height at center is more and more decisive in the game than ever IMHO. What is changing is how important it is for that footer to be like Nowitzki and Kaminsky; that is what is changing–the stretch 5 is going to replace the stretch 4 as the toughest person to guard on a court.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    On second thought, let’s just hope you’re right. 🙂

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Would it surprise you that Kaminsky is listed a Forward and not Center? Would it surprise you that with all the height it had, Kentucky lists only Dakari Johnson as Center? and While Okafor is listed as Center, neither UNC or MSU list a single Center? and Virginia lists only Tobey as a F/C? Like I said, true center are hard to come by as tall players nowadays prefer to play forward.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    You are so right that they are calling these footers anything they want to be called and the guys want to be called forwards and forward centers in hopes of not having to be full time rebounders and enforcers in the L. It is a smart move from a career longevity stand point to try to avoid the roles that shorten a career the most.

    But in the end terminology is unimportant. Shell shock became battle fatigue. And battle fatigue became post traumatic stress syndrome. But the they describe the same activity. If you are a big that can shoot the NBA trey you get to play Robert Horry forward and Dirk Nowitsky forward center. But most of the footers can’t pot the triceratop, or put it on the deck ambidextrously , so, even if it becomes fashionable to call them LONG GUARD’s next, most are going to be gutting it out around the paint for a living.

    And again, the reality is that two teams with four near footers reached the Final Four and a third relied on a stretch 5 footer.

    The one team, MSU, that lacked height looked pathetically outmatched.

    Height still rules inside.

    And the trend is going to continue. Overtime there is a drought of dominant footers for a few years, the 6-9 guys rush into the void. But as soon as the footers come back in numbers, they inevitably take the game back.

    There is no way around it.

    Virginia to me represents the most interesting case of size matters. Bennet could not get his hands on any near footers so he tried another smart approach. He put seven or eight 6-8 in his rotation. It worked pretty well until he ran into some teams that could match his 6-8 guys plus throw near footers and trey balling at him; then they came up a day late and a Federal Reserve Debt Note short.

    There is a reason the NBA drafts size from all over the world.

    The future of footers in the NBA and in college is going to be a bifurcation between those that can shoot the trey and those that can pass in the post the way Kanowski did for Gonzaga.

    I really think the only innovation Self has not been in the vanguard of during his tenure at KU is Mark Few reinventing the passing big man game. That was the biggest innovation of the season last year. The passing big man is the absolute best weapon in drive ball and motion the the rim ball.

    Just as we saw Self appropriated XTreme Cheap Shotting from Coach K when he won a ring with it, and appropriated drive ball from Bo Ryan last season after Bo had had such success with it the year before, I suspect Self will appropriated the passing big man offense that Mark Few had his bigs doing so well this past season. This will fit really well with the Carollina Passing offense, if Self will teach his bigs to pass this off season.

  • I’m happy to inspire counterpoints!

    @jaybate-1.0 Let me ask this … Why do you think we need another perimeter player? Now, I think we do as well, but only as insurance. A sixth perimeter guy is terrific depth. But I don’t think we need one to play any role this season. In fact, I would argue that our five perimeter players offer perhaps the most diverse set of skills we have seen on our perimeter since 2008.

    Am I giddy? Maybe.

    But I love our perimeter group. But to reach the levels of my expectations, each will have to make improvement. Essentially, think of it is a trade – Svi for Oubre – and adding a year of experience to each player. We’re better with that.

    Svi will be a better player, all around, than Oubre. Quote me on that. When we look at Svi for 2015-16, he’ll be better than Oubre was in 2014-15.

    Without a doubt, though, this whole deal rides on significant improvement by Selden and Svi. We need Selden to make a significant move forward, and we simply need Svi to play at a level similar to last season with the shots going in at a higher rate.

    If any perimeter player we might sign can beat any of these guys out – as a freshman – I’ll be shocked.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    SVI should start and play as many if not more minutes than Selden.

  • @VailHawk Were you referring to 2014-15, or next season? (I’m funny, aren’t I?) Doesn’t matter, you’re right.

    But don’t lose faith in Selden. Selden’s shooting improved from three and I think it will bump up even more next season. He has been a disappointment based on the hype. But imagine him being the #35 player instead of OAD fringe? What we’ve seen then makes more sense, and it should give us hope for next season.

    By the way, I read your dream sequence last night. 85? Yikes. Did I smell old?

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Not smelly, just wise Morgan freemanesque!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Not giddy at all. Pretty accurate iand insightful in most ways about who we have coming back as usual.

    Perimeter rotation players have to contribute the following:

    shoot the trey drive it guard 6-3 and unders guard 6-4 and overs. rebound 4-5 per game make the entry pass protect

    To make the High Low work best you need three trey ball threats on the floor at all times.

    To guard all the possible match-ups you need three 6-3 and unders and 3 6-5 and overs.

    That is six players.

    You only play these six a lot until January 15, or February. after that the bench shortens and they only play situationally when you need three 6-3 and under, or three 6-4 and over, or various combinations in between.

    We have two of the three 6-3 and unders needed: Frank and Devonte.

    We have three of the three 6-5 and overs needed: Selden, Brannen, Svi,

    Thus we are shy a 6-3 and under.

    And we are shy (so far) of a 3 that can do all the things that a 3 should do: shoot the trey at 40%, drive it,entry pass it, and protect against either a 6-3 and under, or against a 6-4 and over.

    Neither problem on its own is insurmountable, but together they compound.

    Guys like Rush, Henry and Oubre are crucial to being able to get away with shortcomings at the 1 and 2, and they are crucial to dealing with defensive and trey ball needs.

    6-4 Travis Releford, as much as I loved him and respected his game, was always a potential weakness when a Rush, Henry, Kidd-Gilchrist or Oubre (RHKO) type showed up. A 1 and a 2 can get away with up and under against longer types, when they’ve got the safety blanket of the RKHO type that can help and even switch off in a pinch, or sometimes for a half. Travis could not do that and he was in my estimation the best 6-4 3 KU has ever had.

    So why do we need a 6-3 and under guy that can play, when our problem is a lack of an RKHO type 3?

    Because…since we didn’t sign a great 3 to replace Oubre, we will have to committee the three with Selden some, plus Greene and Svi. And the committee may even have to use to Perry there some also. But the bulk of it is going to have to get done by Greene and Svi.

    And Greene and Svi are more shooting guards in their development so far.

    And neither so far has a full tool box.

    And when the wear and tear, reported injury. and the unreported operable injury feed in, without the six man, we are going to be in worse shape than last season, because we aren’t going to have an Oubre grade threat.

    This is why I so wanted either Ingram, or Brown, to sign with KU, at the 3,or to get Malik to sign at the 2.

    If Self picks up that 2 that can play some now, then he can afford to commit Selden, Svi and Green to committee the three and hope one separates into something solid, or even special.

    And he can ride out the injuries, wherever they hit on the perimeter.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I said last year Perry would never play the 3, I would not be surprised to see him there this year. If BG doesn’t get back to 100%, Svi and Selden don’t improve, if we don’t sign a quality 3, I can see Perry there. If we can play Bragg and diallo together or another combo of bigs, never say never. I wanted Ingram too.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I have been preaching for while now that Perry needs to be playing some 3 since that is the position he will play in the NBA…and his is his last year. You are absolutely correct that if Diallo and Bragg click together, I can see Perry playing the 3 since he is too valuable not to have in the game. Not having to guard much bigger players, he can be absolutely deadly again other similar size 3s.

  • Just go Rewatch this if you feel a lack of confidence in Svi. His 3 point shooting is going to get better for sure next year. He will go to the rim more. He might even lead the team in assists next year with the vision he has. Guy is going to be a stud. Just imagine being 17 and dealing with all he was dealing with last year. No way he had a shot at being good. Last season will not be indicative of how good he can be. He was dealing with a new country, new basketball rules, new teammates, new coaches, new everything.

    I mean here is a great example of what Svi was going through at the beginning of last season: One of my friends is a manager on the team and Svi came into the managers office to ask for something early in the season.

    He starts pointing down and saying that he wants a “spanking.”

    “You want a spanking Svi?”

    “Yes a spanking.”

    “I don’t think you want a spanking Svi…”

    “Yes a spanking.” And he goes and points to a pair of slide on sandals.

    “Ohhh. Gotcha. Some FLIP FLOPS.”

    Hopefully Svi will put a spanking on everyone this next season.

  • @Kcmatt7 Thanks for defending Svi. He seems a talent who will blossom in time. I gave him my highest praise, when first seeing him play by saying he had Larry Bird level talent. Bird got overwhelmed by Knight at Indiana and went home. Svi stuck it out. Svi could be a fine player if he were a fine shooter. Because he does a lot of good things with the ball and will eventually learn to guard. But he will need this year to get there. I see him being a draft choice in two season, assuming he proves he can shoot 40% from trey. Oubré was a draft choice last season–a cornerstone guy. Svi has to get good before great.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Diallo and Bragg starting and moving Perry seems improbable for 6-8 freshman bigs. Remember Perry as a freshman big at 6-8?

    But it’s not impossible! 🙏

  • @jaybate-1.0 But highly improbable. Coach Self favors experience above talent.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I know OU has most of its guys returning, not sure what it added. Iowa St is the same but dont they have another near footer coming in from juco transfer? WVU, not sure. Texas, not sure apart from Shaka coming in. How are they going to run “havoc” with heavy weight Ridley plodding up and down the court?
    Lets see, who else can challenge KU?
    KState? ROFL! They just lost 80% of their roster and have signed zero top 100 recruits and have to piece together a roster full of juco transfers! Door mat anyone? If anyone should be “excreting rectilinear masonry forms” it should be the Kstate coach and their fan base.

    Oh yah, one last thing about MSU and Ratso Izzo. He just lost out on one of the top big recruits, Caleb Swanigan. And, didn’t they lose some guys to the draft and to graduation? Im sure Ratso will be playing thug ball as per usual against KU but he’ll have to do it with 3/4ths of a good roster.

  • @HighEliteMajor That’s what Im sayin too HEM. Svi is gonna be a stud for us next season. Im betting the house on Svi. I just have a feeling he is going to sky rocket.

  • @Kcmatt7

    Good post on Svi.

    Wow… a guy that knows how to use a shot fake. What a rare treat, especially for us guys who appreciate smart ball over dumb ball just requiring shear athleticism to make plays.

  • @jaybate-1.0 You definitely might be right that he will need an extra year, but I personally believe he is about to explode. Per my source, he has been putting in a ton of work already and has been dominating at practice.

    I’ll even make a bold stat prediction for him.

    Ppg: 12 Reb: 3 Assists:4 Steals: 1

  • @Kcmatt7

    In my books, Svi already knows much of the tougher parts of the game to learn. Last year he needed some defensive polishing on how to fight through screens, etc. And then he needed more strength. Part of that is just for him to get a year older. If he pushes it all summer in the weight room, he should be a different player this coming year.

    The last step is for him to have the uber confidence it takes to be a guy who earns the basketball spotlight. He has to cross a hurdle most of the other players don’t have in front of them… he has to build uber confidence in another country… the country that created the game of basketball. The country that made all the film footage he has been watching his entire life, dreaming about being a real ball player.

    The same holds true for players like Cheick.

    I’m always amazed at these players when they do build the confidence to challenge (or surpass) American players at their own game.

    I hope Svi feels himself worthy to take over the game this year. He has to step up and fight for his minutes… knowing he is worthy to be one of the best, even if he is not American.

  • @Lulufulu

    OU returns 4 starters. They lose Thomas (anchor in the post) & Booker a 3pt chucker off the bench. They signed 2 combo/SF guards who should be good in time. They got a Juco Center who is one of the best Juco’s. He will probably start from Day 1. They also had a Top 100 big that sat out last year and red-shirted. I’ve talked to someone on their staff via twitter and they are very high on him.

    Iowa St. returns 4 starters as well. They have to replace Jones & Hogue and they signed 2 transfers( 1 eligible in Dec from Marquette) & 1 point guard. No bigs so far but they have been after all the graduate transfer bigs with no luck so far.

    West Virginia lost their best player Staten, but return 9 guys who played last year. They also signed one of the top 3 Juco scorers in the country, he also played a press system so he fits with Huggins new style. Also joining them is a top 50 SF. He has a chance to start as a freshman.

    I think Smart will scale back his Havoc style to some degree until he signs kids that are his. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does a soft press back into a zone. Gives you the chance to still play a gimmic defense while not exposing Ridley too much. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ridley lose considerable weight this off-season.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    If I were to start Perry, Diallo and Bragg, I would have Bragg at the 3. He seems to be much more comfortable facing the basket than Perry. He also seems to be a much more dynamic ballhandler. I’d rather see him at the 3 than Perry. Perry’s jumper is a set shot. Bragg’s is more of a pull up off the bounce.

    He also has the athleticism and lateral quickness to handle perimeter guys on the defensive end.


    I think Smart still plays Havoc, but modifies Ridley’s role. Ridley was in terrible shape his first year on campus, but has steadily improved in that department. Smart will have him in shape, which may make Ridley a much better player overall than he has been to this point.

    As for Svi, I don’t have a good feel for how much he will contribute. I was very high on him last year, but he was much more overmatched than I ever anticipated he would be. I am taking a wait and see approach with him. I worry that the pace and perimeter athleticism was too much for him.

  • @justanotherfan I was going to disagree with you about Bragg at the 3 until I watched this video. (Just skip to 4:40). I didn’t realize how well he can handle the ball well for his size. He definitely needs to work on his left hand a bit still both shooting and dribbling, but I’m still impressed.

  • @justanotherfan

    I think Svi will be much improved but I do worry how much that will translate. He’s still very young even for a Sophomore. His shooting will have to improve a ton and that could simply come with consistent playing time. He does offer the best passing/dribbling/defensive combo of him & Greene at the moment. How much of an advantage will it be for him being here all spring/summer than Greene who is hurt.

    You could be right about Ridley, I do wonder if Smart will struggle with implementing the havoc in year one. A lot of upperclassmen who have little experience with a full time press style. That is hard to put in place in one off-season.

  • @Kcmatt7

    Highlight videos are just that…highlight videos. After Thon Maker’s highlight video was released, he looked like the second coming of Olajuwon and Jabbar combined…how did it work out for him? After the Nike Hops Summit nobody is talking about him. Svi’s highlight video shows the best plays over a number of games but it does not show all the shots he missed; like I said, a good way to see potential and athleticism but not a good way to evaluate a player in his entirety.

    If you want evaluate a players, look at his overall stats and not the highlight reel. I have followed Svi in International competition and there is no question that he has incredible talent; however, I am not sold on the 3 gun. if you look at his 3-point shooting numbers you we will see that much like KU last season, he is consistently inconsistent. he might shoot 0.400 or better one game and 0.200 or worse the next. One thing he might have going for him is that in Internationale competition the 3 point line is farther away than in college. Until I see him shoot consistently from the 3, I will not count him as an outside shooter but more as a mid-range shooter and also a tall player than can penetrate.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I look at highlight videos understanding that it is the optimal performance. That’s the point - what is a guy’s ceiling. If he isn’t doing it in his highlight video, its because he flat out cannot do it.

    Look at Bragg in that video. About the only thing he struggles with is the two ball speed dribble with the left hand. Everything else he looks great. He runs well, moves well laterally. Great hands. Explosive leaper. Clean shot and release. Catch and dunk skills. Second and third jump ability. Upper and lower body strength. Can take contact.

    Find a box that he doesn’t check in that video. I don’t really see one. Can he improve? Of course. But he checks basically every box you could want. Oh, and he’s 6-9, too. I think that video shows why he can play the 3, 4 or 5 in college. The athleticism to play on the perimeter, the strength to play inside. He’s a walking MUA.


    I think there is a good chance Svi is ahead of Greene next year because I don’t think Greene will be ready. That is my major concern for next year’s team - Svi not being far enough along, but Greene not being 100%. We desperately need another wing player if Greene isn’t healthy because Selden alone is not enough on the perimeter.

  • @justanotherfan

    We will get another guard. With 2 of them visiting this week, its hard to imagine these kids don’t see a golden opportunity for summer playing time that could possibly put them in a position for a rotation spot come fall.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Oh I totally understand what highlight videos are. I just was attempting to get people excited about the kid. I realize that he only shot about 30% from 3 on average in his international play. But you have to look at some of their scores. His team was pretty bad, so he is shooting some desperation shots just to try and keep his team in the game.

Log in to reply