Follow-up: Self Answers The Rotation Question

  • Following up on my post this past weekend on three point shooters, I went straight to the source – coach Bill Self. On Hawk Talk Monday, I called and asked coach Self the following: We have three shooters, Greene, Frankamp, and White, that haven’t gotten consistent minutes. How much consideration have you given to choosing either Greene, Frankamp, or White, and giving one of them rotation minutes so that they can get acclimated and comfortable? And, second, is one of them ahead of the other two?

    Self said we could obviously use perimeter shooting. He said ideally, yes, we have to get to where we play just one. They had discussed that. But Self said that he just doesn’t know who that guy is yet. He said we need to get to where we play five perimeter players. Four guys separated themselves early – Tharpe, Mason, Selden, and Wiggins. But between the other three, none has separated themselves yet. He also mentioned other team deficiencies like ball handling and defense.

    So there you have it. Apparently, Hawk Talk is being aired on TV on Tuesday, Dec. 3, on the famous Jayhawk Sports Network tomorrow (TWC, etc).

    It certainly sounded as if Self wanted to pick one and will pick one – he just hasn’t decided between the three. He said clearly that we wants to get to a five man perimeter rotation. So as a few of you pointed out, perhaps the decision time is not here yet.

  • Nicely done!

  • I’m thinkin’ it has to be a color-Conner is not even close to Andrew, & I personally think at least at this point, Greene is still trying to learn Self ball. Thanks for pinning him down HEM, you’ve done well.

  • Outstanding!

  • HEM-I agree with your basic idea about the 3pointers, but I don’t think its necessary to settle on one (unless you’re “I’ll never change” Bill Self). We’ve got three great outside shooters & Bill said each could win 3 or 4 games for us, but he shows no faith in them. And your point about coming off the bench cold and being expected to heat it up (Vinnie Johnson, anyone?) is spot on. Greene seemed to be in Bill’s doghouse until he got desperate in the Villanova game, but he looks like the best pure shooter of the bunch. And what does Bill do but hammer down on him as soon as he does what he’s in the game to do. And Bill still insists on running the offense through the post (Tarik Black?)

    I’m just sick of seeing us lose big games to less talented, uninhibited, freewheeling three point shooting teams while our guys all choke up and look over to the bench every time they even think about raising a three.

  • Good Call, HEM. Too bad you couldn’t have squeezed in ‘so what has Greene done to piss you off!’"

  • @Blown - I tried to keep it short and sweet. The caller before me asked about how KU got Danny Manning and hired his dad – and MU troll – and got hung up on.

    @KUinLA - That is a great point where Self said each could win 3 or 4 games for us. It reminds me of last season when Self, a couple occasions, said that he should be playing AW3 more; and then didn’t. And I would agree. I think that Greene looks like the best pure shooter of the three – meaning that is picture perfect form. He repeats it each time.

    @globaljaybird - Now, when you say a “color”, you mean White or Greene, not the white kid, right? I say that because one of the preseason games, Billy Thomas was doing the in studio analyst work. He mentioned that the White/white kid was a good shooter. He didn’t clarify as to which White/white kid he was referring to. Both ways he was right, though.

  • If you settle for one of those shooters, aren’t we pretty much telling the others to transfer next year? Especially if we sign another guard this year.

    Shooters are hot and cold… even the best of them. If we have all 3 getting partial minutes don’t we mix and match during a game and see who is hot?

    It does take a while for a player to get into the flow of the game. I know I’d hate to be a guy on the bench coming in cold and expected to burn the nets.

    Maybe by establishing them as “come in and nail it” players they can improve those skills. I guess you could sit at practice and come in and shoot to see if it is a skill you can count on.

    I don’t know… seems everyone has a good argument.

    Yeah… we have a White, Greene and Black. Don’t we need Yellow to make it a Jamaican National Team?

  • HEM- I read your initial post and have always thought that if Greene was given some pt, a bit more confidence, and some chances, he would be the best go to shooter. I think he’s the total package. Self will definitely need to adjust soon. He can’t do it soon enough. People have definitely gone to sleep on KU after the horrible showing in Atlantis, which is good. Selden, Wigs, Ellis, Tharpe, and Embiid need to take notice. They have been put on notice by the bball analysts. This team has got to develop a killer instinct, because they have much to prove right now. But, play KU bball, nothing else.

    Coach Self, get your rotation set and let your starters settle into their roles. Let your bench settle into their roles and create some consistency, please.

  • Shooters are hot and cold… even the best of them. If we have all 3 getting partial minutes don’t we mix and match during a game and see who is hot?

    The problem is these shooters need some time to let a few fly and get in the rhythm of the game. They are mentally and physically “cold.” If a kid never knows if he’s even going to see the floor, his head may not be in the game. Maybe that’s on the kid. But these are freshmen/sophomores we’re talking about who can more easily be overwhelmed by the moment/situation. And if they do come in they get only a few minutes with maybe 1 or 2 shots then ride the bench the rest of the half/game. So they never even break a sweat and physically get warmed up.

    Perhaps the answer is to give each of these kids 10-12 minutes over a 2-3 game stretch. If they don’t make the most of that extended audition then move on to the next.

  • @JayDocMD - What you just said, it’s the reason that I was a little nervous about this season before it even started. I know it sounds stupid to some, but there’s such a thing as having too much talent. You can’t play everyone and if you try, all you do is interrupt the flow of the game and the rhythm that has been established. It applies to the bigs too, not just the shooters. Coach is going to have to tick some people off, hurt some feelings and establish a starting lineup and then establish a bench. I guess that’s what he’s trying to do now, but it just seems like players are in and out constantly.

  • Would someone please respond to Tharpe’s hoisting up treys and I might add Mason too. But Tharpe may be my biggest challenge right now. The guy is a junior pg and he hits a few and misses even more often than not. I just don’t think we can afford for someone to huck up some unnecessary treys. Our shooting is sorely lacking and I don’t understand the mental block. I know it’s there, but Self is an inside first, high post second, rim attack and kick last. I’d like to see about 2-3 passes or rim attack before someone hucks a trey. Opponents are beginnning to sag on defense and daring KU to beat them oustide, AGAIN.

    Would a pure shooter please rise? Greene, White, or Frankamp?

    I want someone to catch fire and for Self to keep adding fuel to that fire. I don’t want that shooter yanked and for that shooter to lose his rhythm. But, Self will do what he wants. I get the funny impression that Self is so inundated with possibilities that he really doesn’t know what he wants right now.

  • I totally agree Blown.

  • @JayDocMD - I agree… it works best to have shooters out there for a while. They not only need to pump up a few shots, even running the court helps get them warmed up. But how long does that take? What if Conner is out there and it takes him an entire half of basketball to get up a couple of shots?

    I think the one mistake would be to have these guys forcing up shots.

    I wonder if you could work up a kind of ritual for these guys. Do they really need to pump up a few shots before they hit their rhythm?

    I wonder if they could work on this in practice. Where they sit cold and come in and quickly contribute. I think the key may be more about getting the body warm. They should already have plenty of reps in during the shoot around.

    So Conner enters the game. He spends the next two plays totally spending energy, running around the key and through screens. He doesn’t shoot yet, unless he is totally wide open. Meanwhile, the defender thinks he’s not looking for a shot and starts slacking off him a bit. All the movement quickly gets his body warm and then he can look for his shot more aggressively.

    Just an idea…

  • Taking a step back, it is sort of humorous that some of us (myself included) are concerned about Coach Self playing too many players and not sticking with a set rotation. I can’t remember how many times through the years I’ve grumbled about him not utilizing our depth.

  • @HighEliteMajor-I also saw Thomas on that metro sports feed & thought, what did he say (mean)? Was freezing on the patio at Tanners waiting for a table but was attentive enough to PU on that. Andrew would be my pick but Greene likely has the greater upside, yet has struggled with decisions on the floor. You know Bill, can’t let some get too comfortable about earning minutes while others seem to get a pass. Will be interesting to see what happens to Mason’s minutes now since he experienced total brain lock vs UTEP. I know one thing, Boyle will have his team ready for Kansas, & some others will also see a little blood in the water after the Nassau trip. Selden’s a stud for sure, but I’d like to see what Greene could do in the flow at the 2 spot with the other starters less Black for Embiid. IMO once Joel gets the vertical down without leaving his feet or leaning in over the offensive guy, Black should be coming off the bench. That’s same the way Black is getting all his silly fouls also, Bill’s gotta bite the bullet & turn the guys loose, just to find out what everyone else seems to want to know, whether it seems he does or not. The meter is running so this is the time to do it & just get it over with.

  • I listened to your question last night while driving to Lawrence. The previous caller tipped his troll hand by starting off “Hey Billy”. If we could be at the practices each day, our speculation’s about all of this would probably mirror that of Coach. Self put things into perspective about this season and how this was actually a good week for the team. They learned a lot. Eating post game dinner at 2:30 a.m. and then getting up to play in a consolation game against a 2-3 zone, a 4 corner, and a box and one after a loss where they had fought back from playing horribly, “coaches word’s”, gave him great gratification. Also, not to expect an off night and going undefeated is absurd. Coach referenced the team that went to the finals of the NCAA playing against Kentucky in the Champions series, with no understanding of the offence except to have Tyshawn dribble till he got fouled. This is going to be a great team when this talent starts to believe in the system and attacks the full court press like they will after this week of practice.

  • Well, now you’ve gone and done it…asking tougher questions than the local media ever does. Showing up the pros will get you blacklisted from the press room buffet!

    My personal preference out of that group is AW3 at this point. For one, he’s “paid his dues,” as they say. I don’t think that alone should ever get someone playing time, but if you have three guys who are neck-and-neck for one role, that can be a tiebreaker of sorts. You’re giving the nod to that extra year of practice, that summer of Hudy, and the fact that he’s more adjusted to college life in general than the other two.

    I also sat fairly close to our hoop for the first half of the Towson game, and White was really getting after it in transition. I thought he was one of our best players that game, and he showed more energy than I remembered ever seeing from him. He’s barely sniffed the floor since then, though, so maybe I wasn’t seeing everything. Also, it was Towson, so not terribly indicative of how he’ll do against top competition.

    Whoever ends up being this year’s 3-point assassin, I hope the other two stick around. I see major roles for all three of those guys in future seasons, and hopefully they see it too.

  • A couple of thoughts:

    The best set up 3 point shooter is Framkamp; whether he can translate his shooting to game situations is yet to be determined.

    Greene has sweet stroke but at this point his defense has not been up to speed. Frankamp has played much better defense. White falls somewhere in between but he has a big advantage over Frankamp with his size, and so does Greene.

    Coach Self has always indicated in the past that the goals is to have the rotation down to 7-8 players by conference playing time. However, this season he has indicated that he might end up playing up to ten players; a result of the talent available and the new rules that, as we have all seen, have players in foul trouble at an alarming rate. Maybe we need to listen to him and accept that the rotation will not be the traditional 7-8 but more like 9-10 players.

  • HEM,

    Thanks for asking Coach that question as it has been on all of our minds based on the comments! Truehawk…I wouldn’t think that Self has a problem with Tharpe putting up 3s as long as they are within his “rules”…later in the shot clock (as you can get a 3 at anytime), open look, in balance, etc. My sense is that most of the time that has been the case (with a few exceptions) but I could be wrong.

    I don’t think we’re going to see a 9-10 man rotation. I think the piecemeal minutes (White, Green, Frankamp, Lucas) will stop at some point.

  • Frankamp doesnt play, because Mason brings better ball handling, better size, and better attackability, and likely better defense. As Self said: Frankamp got beat out in practice already, and when he has come in, while he has done good things, he has not found his 3-range (yet). Circular argument if he-cant-get-mpg, his-shot-wont-improve --> trumped by fact he isnt getting enough of the whole pkg done in practice to be able to get more mpg in live games.

    AW3’s issues last season were horrible defense and ball-handling. That will keep a 3shooter on the bench, because they are a total liability on the Defensive end: 2-4 blowby’s and quick buckets, or getting one of our bigs in foul trouble can change the WHOLE offensive philosophy: domino effect. For a few % better 3ball percentage for a few minutes. Think of the concept of “net negative or net positive”. What did AW3 spend time working on over the summer like a man possessed? Ball-handling and defensive footwork. If you cannot play D, your 3gun is useless! If you are a turnover machine, you are altering the game’s dynamic balance, and your 3gun is irrelevant! EJ rode pine his first 2 yrs because he couldnt keep his man in front of him…so his 3gun and above-rim hops were useless. So whose fault is that? Self’s for demanding competence to see court time? He is in the business of winning. So when a kid like Wiggins comes in who can actually play on-ball D like very few frosh can, is that Self’s doing? Is Wiggins a quicker learner than EJ or Frankamp or AW3? Or did he arrive with D ability?

    Greene doesnt play because he makes poor shot clock decisions. Greene makes poor shot location decisions. Greene is not a great ball handler (compared to Selden, Mason, Tharpe, Wiggins), although he is not awful. Again, its about the guys “in front of him”–> they are simply capable of doing more at this point in time than Greene is. Greene’s on-ball D is not as good as Wiggins, Selden, and Mason, or Tharpe. Greene is an unbridled pony right now. Got to make him reliable. Sherron could play D as a frosh, in addition to his “pure” 3gun. Sherron had to-die-for handles when he arrived. Sherron changed the whole game speed when he came off the bench. See how Embiid changes things already when he comes off the bench. What is Greene going to do now?

  • Way late to the debate, but if we’re picking one, I say go with White. He doesn’t have Greene’s upside and will probably never get to the NBA, but all around, he’s the most advanced of the three. That said, as much as we have a 3pt shooting problem, at it’s core, I don’t think it’s a 3pt shooting problem. Yes, guys are getting in cold or not hitting shots. AW3 was 0 - 5 in the Bahamas, but over 40% coming in, (Wigs was 4 for 10 for those who care) so I don’t know that we’re really at the right place hit the panic button on the issue. The core problem that I did notice from the Battle games is simply that the ball is very sticky on the perimeter. We don’t seem to have a group of guys that’s good making reads without the ball in their hands. They catch the ball, then decide what to do with it, rather than knowing what they are going to do when the ball arrives. That makes reversals slow and allows traps in the post to be effective, help defenders in the post to get back out to defend the perimeter, and the halfcourt offense to stink overall.

    Given that poker was the only thing I was ever any good at, I like to think of bball game theory in terms of poker. A successful hold 'em player has a plan for his hand as soon as he sees his cards. He knows what his cards are worth, what will beat him, etc. He doesn’t even have to hear a bet to know if he’s going to fold or what bets he’s going to make. The same thing is essentially true of effective half court play. You have to be able to see what the D has given you without the ball in your hands in order to be effective. You can’t wait to make the reads until you receive the ball because by that time, the D is already reacting and your information will go quickly out of date. As much as I disagree with a lot of the criticism of Wigs, I think the reason he becomes subject to it isn’t that he’s unwilling to attack and take over games, but it’s that he fundamentally lacks this skill at this point in his game. He either reads too late or makes the wrong decisions too often. I don’t really think he’s passive or wanting to just blend in, it’s just he doesn’t have the BBIQ to take over a game the way we’d want. He could probably get away with that if we had more reliable PG play, but with our PGs, Mason is a score first type, and Tharpe really isn’t playing to his role, taking too many shots, and not knowing when it’s a good time to pass versus attempt a layup.

    With all of that said, I’d point us back to 2012 and not that in that year, not only did we lose to Duke, but we went on to lose to Davidson in KC, then follow that up with labored performance against a horrible USC team only eventually to come together and play for the title. There will be plenty of time for armchair analysis between now and March, but I’d say regardless of anything I typed above, it’s too early to really know who this team is and what their deficiencies really are. 7 real games isn’t much of a sample size. Shooting could bounce right back and then we’d think we have a whole different kind of team. I’ll be more concerned if they’re playing this poorly at the end of January, but right now, it doesn’t amount to much. The silver lining, if there is one, is that playing this many quality opponent’s means this team is going to grow up fast. The next cupcake-y team that we play is Toledo at the end of the month. If we’re still struggling to figure things out at that point, maybe it’ll be time to shake things up and look for remedies, but for the time being I can live with the fact that this team is winning without really being very good.

  • @ralster You are one of the experts on this site, but I feel your assessment of Frankamp or Mason is a little off.

    Frankamp doesnt play, because Mason brings better ball handling, better size, and better attackability, and likely better defense. As Self said: Frankamp got beat out in practice already, and when he has come in, while he has done good things, he has not found his 3-range (yet). Circular argument if he-cant-get-mpg, his-shot-wont-improve --> trumped by fact he isnt getting enough of the whole pkg done in practice to be able to get more mpg in live games.

    I don’t believe Mason is taller than Frankamp, but I agree he is stronger and faster and probably better ball handling. And I’m not sure if he plays better defense than Frankamp. I feel (not an expert) Frankamp has displayed decent defense while there are way too many reach-in fouls from Mason. Maybe Frankamp played more within himself, but Mason played on the edge of his abilities? Also I haven’t seen where Coach Self commented Frankamp got beat in practice. I’d imagine him like Jeremy Case who would light up in practice, but couldn’t hit the ocean from a boat in a game. 😞

  • Also I like Andrew White III a lot. I love his dedication and hustle. Tyshawn Taylor played himself into the NBA being a top 70 ranked HS player. And I think White might too. If he doesn’t get a chance to play in the NBA, I’m sure he will have a successful career in Europe like Russell Robinson.

  • Now how would you like Frankamp looks like this?


  • @Wishawk Where’d his nose go? Lost to the grindstone?

  • Sorry, @dylans I forgot to mention it’s a Sherman’s turret with a Tiger’s gun. So there got to be some fitting issues. 🙂

  • @Wishawk: Haha, I love the WW2 reference (Sherman turret/Tiger’s gun). Regarding my “better size” statement about Mason: I was talking about weight (the bangability). Mason 5’11, Frankamp 6’0…but Mason is listed at 185lbs, while Frankamp is 15-20lbs lighter.

    Would LOVE to see Frankamp shine at KU as I live in the Wichita metro area, so Im really rooting for him + Ellis from that angle as well. RCJH

  • If I had to pick one of them I’d probably go with Greene.

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