Self Ignoring An Asset: Three Point Shooting

  • “The Jayhawks really lack three point shooting on their roster.” Or something to that effect. That thought from Stan Van Gundy. Of course, Van Gundy doesn’t know the KU roster. He just sees missed three pointers and a low percentage. Van Gundy made the last two games of this tournament agonizing. He needs to return to coaching – anywhere. But that’s another story. The real story is why our three point shooting remains on the bench.

    The bigger point is what Van Gundy properly analyzed – KU won’t be an elite team without elite outside shooting. Van Gundy knows what he is talking about there.

    Jesse Newell, today, asked if KU’s three point shooting should be a concern. Jesse knows KU’s roster – great question. The answer is yes, but only if Self continues to manage the minutes distribution as he has over the first seven games of this season.

    KU’s three point shooting should be and is a concern right now only because coach Self has refused to make one of our three point threats a regular member of the rotation. Look at the UTEP game. Self played Frankamp five minutes, White four minutes, and Greene didn’t get a sniff.

    Memo to Van Gundy: The Jayhawks do have three point shooting on their roster. Self just isn’t utilizing it.

    The talk heading into the season was that the Jayhawks had an incredibly deep roster. Self had multiple options. Lots of discussion on the outside shooting that Greene, Frankamp, and White could bring. But Self has been paralyzed by indecision. He’s played each of them in spurts, but no consistency. Paralysis by analysis, perhaps. Maybe he doesn’t know what he wants to do? Maybe he doesn’t know who he wants to play? Maybe he doesn’t trust any of them? The answer so far is potluck – Self is playing everyone a little bit. Perhaps he’s trying to keep everyone happy.

    But far more concerning is that Self actually does know what he wants to do. That Self has decided that he really doesn’t need to play any of our shooters as a regular part of the rotation. My fear is that Self will continue to ignore this valuable and necessary asset.

    When we won the national title in 2008, we had two reliable outside shooters – Chalmers and Rush. Both were above 40% from three point range. Do you see anyone on this roster, other than Greene, White, or Frankamp, that will sniff that? I don’t. Maybe Tharpe, but I wouldn’t bank on it.

    One thing we don’t know is what is going through Self’s mind. White, Frankamp and Greene pinball in and out with no rhyme or reason, and no consistency. That doesn’t benefit anyone.

    Let me state one thing I believe with conviction – players cannot get comfortable, get in the flow, and be expected to perform being handled like this. It’s easy to say that every player needs to be ready. It’s a much different thing to do it. A role provides comfort. Repetition creates familiarity. Comfort and familiarity lets a player “play” and not “think” as much.

    This team has three-point shooting. It’s right there on the bench. Self just needs to exploit the terrific resource that his recruiting has placed at his doorstep. That is best served, in my opinion, by picking one of the three and giving that three-point threat a solid 15+ minutes in the rotation, every game. Give one player that comfort. Give one player that role. Let him be our three point assassin. Let him shoot without looking over his shoulder.

    For my money, right now, I’d pick Brannen Greene. He’s tall, athletic, aggressive, moves well, and seems able to get to the rim. I eliminate Frankamp because of his lack of size and versatility. White is a close call with Greene. Anyone reading this knows what I mean. But I just think Greene seems to have a little of that “alpha dog” in him, and appears to have a more diverse skill set.

    I’m stating the obvious here, but shooting can change the game, it can keep you in games, and it can minimize other shortcomings. It also provides diversity in the offense that will permit other aspects of the game to open up. We just need to capitalize on what we have available.

  • HEM, Good points. I posted on another thread that White came in briefly, missed one 3 pointer and then came out. What we don’t know is…did he make mistakes, such as losing his man, out of position on offense or D, etc. You’ve made the point before that some are allowed to play through their mistakes, others are not. Mason has made plays, but he has certainly made his share of mistakes. Would White (or Greene or Frankamp) make plays if they were allowed to play through their mistakes? Self seems to prefer Tharpe and Mason playing together when Wiggins and / or Selden comes out. What we don’t know is what goes on at practice.

  • Completely agree. I posted on the live blog that I thought we were going to be a good/great shooting team this year. We can be, we are not playing the right guys in the right situations right now. Even when Frankamp/Greene/White are in, we don’t seem to be running a set play for them to get open, like we did with Ben last year. Another reason could be that Self is working on his preferred strategy of “pound it inside” so far. To him maybe that needs to settle first before the perimeter game; usually his modus operandi…

  • Reminds me of another debate: “5star EJ rides pine, while BStar plays…”. But in all seriousness, AW3 went 0-4, FrannyMankamp went 0-2, and Tharpe went 2-5 (40%, no sample size though…). Ellis 0-1, Embiid 0-1. Selden hit 2, WiggyMania hit 1 very smoothly (so his could just be an in-rhythm thing?)…Even Masonry hit 1, although his 3% is dismal so far, and his 3form looks very tentative, like he is gingerly going in uncharted waters…Now all we need is Black and Traylor attempt some 3s…

    Greene has had issues with his decision-making, not sure why he is in the doghouse–but clearly is woofin’ from the bench. Greene also had a penchant to shoot a pullup-J from about 16-17ft…just inside the arc, often called the worst shot in basketball, as its % is low like a 3att, but you dont get the reward of 3pts, just all the risk. He’s hit a couple, but likely Self wants him in closer, or out for a proper 3att.

    Frankamp = overwhelmed right now, doesnt have the skillset or bang-able physical size to do what Mason can…so he is buried on the depth (&size) chart.

    Agree with FarsideHawk, that Self may be pounding it inside…but open-look 3s got to be taken (& hit…) by a royalty-level “complete” program team.

  • Hey, did Stan VanGundy drive anyone else freakin’ NUTS with his constant salivating vicariously as-if he were an NBA scout? Man, he made the game sound like an NBA-combine pickup game, just for the purposes of player evaluation. Just what we KU fans want to hear, is someone spinning Embiid-to-NBA into an OAD situation (even if it is, just dont want to hear it).

    The one good thing VanGundy said was that he “learned something as a coach” by watching Self’s team actually dedicated practice time to perfecting lob-dunk delivery. He did compliment Self nicely.

    Who knows whats going on in practice with the 3% of various players…?

  • Also, so far…Tharpe is the better 3shooter between himself and Mason and Frankamp. And Tharpe can run the offense. Ever wonder why Self keeps Tharpe as the 2 guard at times when Mason comes in as PG? --> because he knows the offense, can penetrate as we know, and he IS A 3gunner, one that is more legit a 3threat than ever before. And ball-handling. When Selden is not in, its Tharpe at the 2slot. Greene is shakiest ball handler, and doesnt know the offense, eventhough he is a great “shooter”. AW3 not the best ball handler, still learning the flow, although a great “shooter” as well. AW3 more suited to come in for Wiggins.

  • Many of you, and Coach Self, talk about driving to pass instead of driving to shoot. OK, but pass to whom? It’s great to be able to hand off to Wiggins or Embiid, but that’s only possible in transition.

    Got to have the 3 point specialists spotting up to receive those passes. With our starters + Mason + Embiid, who spots up beyond the arc waiting for the pass?

    Didn’t jaybate mention all this before FaceGate? Something about Selden/Wiggins needing to hit the 3 so Wiggins/Selden have room to drive. If they can’t, somebody else has to.

  • @ralster … Me and mom of three were the only ones in the chat room last night and I think if she could’ve got her hands on VanGundy’s throat she would’ve throttled him.

  • I believe Coach Self is messing with the shooters. He is not concerned about the 3pt shooting percentage because he knew who were the shooters, and he trust them to be good shooters with natural abilities. But he is forcing the issues with Wiggins and Selden. At this point, neither Wiggins nor Selden displayed the alpha dog mentality to take over game. They have the green light to drive as much as they want, and shoot as often as they want as long as the shots are within the flow the game. But neither was willing to do so consistently. Both played really well at spots such as the Duke game, but they don’t bring it every game. Both of them are superior athletes, so boot camp didn’t really pushing them to their limit. So Coach has to find different approaches to address the mental toughness side of the issue. Coach wants them to get out of their comfort zone and really achieve what they are capable, but didn’t believe they could. So Coach at this point doesn’t want anyone to help them. He wants them to solve the problem on their own. He wants them to take over games like they are supposed to. I think Coach gathered enough evidence through the few games so far, and the next week will be his teaching sessions. I expect huge improvement on all fronts at the Colorado game next Saturday. And I won’t be surprised if the shooters suddenly rediscovered their touches then too. Or I may be dreaming. 🙂

  • @Wishawk I really like your take on this. If Selden can show the ability to knock down a clutch trey when we need it, it would help immensely. I don’t think we’ll see that from Wiggins this year, but his midrange game could explode. I’m envisioning a wow moment for us viewers somewhere at the beginning of conference time where this Bahamas tournament feels like it was last season.

  • @approxinfinity I think our 3pt shooting is fine, in the first 4 games, we had 38.9%, 37.5%, 28.6%, 43.8% respectively. I think the venue and the basketball definitely affected our shooting (around 20%) in the ballroom. So we should be fine over the long haul.

    Both Selden and Wiggins displayed very nice shooting form, so I think they have the tools to be really good shooters. They just need to trust themselves and keep shooting.

    Selden was 1-4, 1-2, 0-1, and 1-2 in the first 4 games. So he can do it, but he needs to develop the consistency.

  • The players didn’t mention the ballroom as a problem, they mentioned the ball.

    How much do basketballs cost, anyway? If we’re going to play games with another ball, why not practice with that same ball in the days preceding the game?

  • I play pick up every Monday & Thursday still and i’m one of those guys that playing with a different ball throws my (head) game off. That being said, every team there had to deal and cope with the environment. Excuses are monuments of nothingness.

    @Konk–thanks for telling me about Hoop Math. That’s a fun site to look at. I have a subscription to Ken Pom and plan to start following some of the trends that way. Any other good sites like those two, I would appreciate the heads up on!

  • Beating the Dukies gave this team and the coach bigger heads then they could handle. I honestly believe this weekend in the Bahamas will do them a lot of good over the year. Not only should Bill have their full attention, but Bill can’t be tricked by his fools gold any longer. There are a lot of good individuals on this team, but they are playing individually and not as a team. I wonder if there might be some rocky tensions going on among the team as rotations are starting to settle in and feelings and egos are being affected. Hopefully it will smooth over by xmas break.

    A few other comments…

    Frank Mason needs to stop shooting threes. The guy is not a shooter. I don’t know how he scored so many points in high school. I guess he’s so quick and big he is unstoppable on the drive at that level. I love his aggressiveness, and defensive tenacity, but he’s taking shots from deep, and at the wrong times.

    I would like to see more plays ran for Wiggins to see his outside game open up the middle. If we are not going to get White or Greene in there (not sure Frankamp can even get a shot off) then we need some volume three point shooting from Andrew & Wayne. Somebody has got to open up the defenses.

    Really sad that we won’t get to see year 2 of Embiid’s development. This is something special–I hope everybody realizes what we have with him.

    As the world spins, I have a strong gut feeling Greene transfers out in December. I hate admitting that.

  • I did not enjoy watching these last two games. In fact, I recorded the last game while I watched football,and checked in now and then. I didn’t like what I saw until it appeared we had built a14 point lead to ice the game. Then I looked and saw the game was down to two possessions and even less as it went down to the wire. Ellis bailed out Mason’s poor decision marking and play. Self was right-these guys are young. And I am not as high on Mason as I was before this tourney.

  • Well. The good news - we’re 6-1 and everybody’s ticked off, upset or worried. The bad news - we’ve barely won a couple of those games and most of the players look like they’ve never seen a basketball court before.

    Without naming names, I personally wish that Self would recruit more of the Jerod Haase type players. Smart, hard working, tough kids with never say die attitudes. One guy that comes to mind right away is Phil Forte. That was a bad miss for us. Yes, I know we made him a half-hearted offer and I know that him and Smart were a package deal, but we NEED kids with that fire in their eyes. Kids who are the first ones in the gym and the last to leave. Kids who shoot maybe 500 free throws per day ( and it shows - for the year he’s , missed ONE, %96.6). Give me a hard working kid over an " athlete " any day.

    I’ve seen some of our guys play 10 minutes and not even sweat. Seriously. A bunch of them are just going through the motions. Slowly.

    Sorry to sound so surly, it’s not all bad though. I’m very, very impressed with Embiid - when he learns how to play basketball ( you all know what I mean ) he’s going to be a real force to be reckoned with. When Mason learns to drive to the hoop and get fouled instead of putting up a 3 point shot that’s likely not to go in he will be a big asset for us. IF Wiggins will quit being so humble ( a trait which I normally admire ) and start being aggressive, it could change a lot of things for us. Wiggins reminds me very much of McLemore except that BMAC was a much better outside shooter.

    It’s easy for me to coach from the couch and I know that Coach Self will bring them around. It’s hard to watch them struggle at this point though, with that talent and potential that is on this team.

  • HEM I agree select one of the 3 = Frankamp, Greene or White and water under the bridge yet a likely Red Shirt for one would have been investing in the future. My question is who do you sit down for one of these?

    Not happy with Mason shot selection, so can we make Selden PG and play Greene or White. I would give it a try.

  • I understand why Self has distributed minutes like he has. He realizes these games become a battle of who wins the foul wars so he goes with a lineup that should be driving the ball. He’s been screaming at our perimeter to drive drive drive, but the only one listening is Mason. Our starting 1, 2 and 3 all have the capabilities to drive but don’t do it. Selden is the legitimate threat at 3… and we finally saw him use it against UTEP.

    So right now we aren’t getting enough offense out of our perimeter. Our guards aren’t driving enough, or nailing 3s enough.

    We just aren’t developed enough on offense to execute much yet. I don’t think it will help to shove in Frankamp, Greene or White in the current state of our offense. I said this yesterday… look at Frankamp’s % from trey. It stinks. Is it because he hasn’t adjusted to D1 basketball yet? Or is it the fact that we don’t execute a half court offense yet? I believe it is the latter.

    I’m really not worried about our perimeter shooting. It will come around when our offense comes around. Frankamp will continue to stink at shooting 3s until we settle in and run a real half court offense. He forces his shots because he’s just trying to get a few shots up. It does no good to give him floor time until we learn to play in the half court. I feel sorry for him because he knows what he can do and it isn’t translating yet. Really… Greene, White and Frankamp can all bomb as well as any perimeter player in D1!

    We’ve enjoyed some great FG% shooting in our first games, when the teams we played were lost on defense. Now the season is moving on and teams are learning to play better, and our offense has not kept up. You can expect that from a young team… it will take them longer to get things figured out. But they will!

    Meanwhile… we all need to hammer down on these kids. They will only reach close to their potential if they are pushed. It’s the “chip philosophy” I’ve been grinding into many of my posts these days. So the fans can play a part by pushing the players to get their act together. Read Self’s words… they aren’t getting it yet!

    I’m going to gripe on them constantly. It is for their own good. They can’t improve to the level they need to be at without feeling uncomfortable. It is about getting them out of their comfort zone, so they’ll work harder, pay closer attention to their coaches… and go fight for 50/50 balls!

    Come on CS… put a rock in their shoes! It works!

  • Here is what I expect out of our young, talented team during the timeline of this season:

    1. HOT HOT HOT… the first few games they sizzle. They play on heavy adrenaline and showcase a lot of individual skills. They can show glimpses of team play because their opponents don’t have their game together yet either.

    2. COLD COLD COLD… still in the early part of the season everything starts shifting to bad. The young players start feeling the pressure from their opponents as their opponents stiffen up on defense and run more aggressive offense. The basket seems to shrink in size and young players start losing some of their confidence. Their play stiffens up, they start thinking too much so their play slows down, and the game turns ugly. Young players realize just how little they know about basketball.

    3. WARM WARM WARM… after a period of doldrums young teams start showing signs of coming around. A few more shots drop and they start to realize all the work in the gym is beginning to pay off. Their confidence slowly increases and fans start seeing hope again.

    4. WARMER WARMER WARMER… gradually the team show signs of what they are capable of playing. Their play is a mix of mediocre and outstanding. It’s enough to post consistent wins. Confidence continues to improve.

    5. HOT HOT HOT… we are reaching the end of the season and the play goes HOT! Their play is still mixed, but mostly showing play on the high end. Players (and fans) optimism grows exponentially. Everyone feeling good about upcoming play in March!

    6. MYSTERY MYSTERY MYSTERY… anything is possible in March… from an early exit to going all the way. This is where teams find out if they have a real leader… someone who can not stand to lose and will do anything and everything necessary to create a win. Those players are rare and they remain hidden until the real crunch time happens in March. This is where the team needs a leader, but at the same time the team has to show it is really a team, where they all come together and fight their hardest.

    This is what I expect out of this year, and to be honest, it is a pretty optimistic prediction (even without predicting March). Anything could happen in between; injuries, bad off-court experiences, chaotic sports media, suspensions…

    Look at my timeline. We are just now entering the hard times. Brace yourselves! Keep some hope that they learn fast!

  • @nuleafjhawk Agree on your takes about Embiid, Mason, and Wiggins. " I’m very, very impressed with Embiid - when he learns how to play basketball ( you all know what I mean ) he’s going to be a real force to be reckoned with. When Mason learns to drive to the hoop and get fouled instead of putting up a 3 point shot that’s likely not to go in he will be a big asset for us. IF Wiggins will quit being so humble ( a trait which I normally admire ) and start being aggressive, it could change a lot of things for us. Wiggins reminds me very much of McLemore except that BMAC was a much better outside shooter."

    The one thing Embiid needs to learn is that any 3 that he attempts is an attempted turnover.

    Far too many of KU’s three pointers are coming from the wrong guys. And Mason is on the third tier of my list of guys I want shooting them. (1st: CF, AW3, and BG 2nd: NT, WS, and AW) Doesn’t he know there was a reason he wasn’t 1 of the 2 being guarded in the triangle and 2. UTEP was ok with him jacking up threes because his 3s < his drives. It’s too bad the guys on top of my 3pt tier ride the pine and aren’t allowed to get into the flow of the game. Then our 3fiency wouldn’t harm us like it has.

    Anyone else notice that we had no clue on what to run against the tri-2? Is it really that hard to learn on the fly? Instead we had the one guard that wasn’t being face guarded attempting passes to the post and the two being face guarded just standing on the wings. There were times when there was 0 movement from the two guarded.

    And how do we not know how to break a press? It seems to be our Achilles heel every year! Wayne would constantly stand at half court right next to a defender. I know that we don’t have a lot of time to practice but shouldn’t we try it out once a week? Maybe the same day we practice FTs? <— sarcasm, not sure we practice them either…

    I’m just like @Blown, when I play league ball I don’t want to play on a team with +7 guys because for me it’s harder to get into the flow/get my shot down when my minutes are sporadic. I’m a rhythm shooter. I’ve watched CF and AW3 warm up before the game and they’ll both drain 20 in a row. Then we have team intros, shaking hands, and them riding the pine for until 10-15 minutes before getting into the game and they come out cold.

  • Why is everyone surprised that freshmen are playing like freshmen? This is what we get in the new age of one year players. Coach Self will whip them into shape in practice and by the end of the season they will be playing, like teams before them, as a well oiled machine.

  • Kip… I wish we could all sit in on practices.

    If I was a betting man I would bet the ranch that Self has spent most practices working on defense. There is a reason he does it this way; defense comes first in Selfball!

    He’s afraid if they get too good on offense now, they’ll never accept working hard enough on defense to become a solid defensive team. Becoming solid on defense is our best shot at winning another National Championship.

    I bet he won’t focus hard on offense until Christmas. We always see a different team after break, and that bump is because our offense finally gets locked down in execution and tweaked to adjust for different teams and their strategies.

    Just look at what we’ve seen so far. Our most fluid offense is our open-court run outs. We already have those down better than most teams will ever learn. There is a reason for that… because run outs are a reward for playing good defense and fighting for defensive rebounds! So a big part of our offense practiced to this point is the run out. I guarantee we’ve put in plenty of time on that.

    This is just my opinion… sounded right coming out! I’m not a gambler so it is easy for me to go out on a limb!

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