Size-wise, the Fascinating Tweeners on Self's current Chessboard

  • If Diallo does, indeed, lock down the 5-position start by second semester, Bill Self’s lineup could be 80% filled with “tweeners” at positiitons 2, 3, 4, 5: Mason, Selden, Ellis, Diallo. A very intriguing conceptual strategy for speedy Division 1 play.

  • @REHawk

    The coach takes our blinders off and helps us see what should’ve been obvious.

    Fascinating angle for at least two reasons.

    1. Tweeners are less likely to be taken early by the NBA, so these kinds of players can be very talented and yet not leave us as soon; this is a great work around for avoiding being “the youngest team in America.”

    2. Athletic tweeners that can force play onto the X-Axis and make bigger, slower players guard and chase them create real problems for those bigger, slower players in a shorter time clock, faster tempo game.

    Others will probably come up with more, but thanks for sharing that insight.

    What the Hell, coach!

    Tweeners might even be able to press a little. 🙂

    Naaah, what was I thinking!

    But 1 and 2 might be very effective edges and counter plays in the age of asymmetric stacking.

  • @REHawk

    The tweener label is the kiss of death if you want to be drafted.

    Tweeners work perfectly at the college level.

    Tweeners tend not to do well in the NBA an thus they are frowned upon.

  • Selden is not a tweener. He is a failed 2 that has been moved to 3 because he wasn’t a strong enough ball handler to play the 2. He can be a very good 3 because most college 3’s are small enough for him to handle.

    Mason is not a tweener. He’s a scoring PG. He will just play off the ball some.

    Devonte is not a tweener. He is a shooting PG that can play off the ball.

    Perry is not a tweener. He is an undersized 4. We saw last year that Perry cannot move to the 3. He isn’t a 3 or a 4. He’s a stretch 4 that is undersized.

    Diallo is not a tweener. He is a NBA 4 that will probably be a college 5.

    The only real tweeners on the team are Svi, who is a 2/3 and Vick, who I can’t figure out how to label (probably 2/3 as well). JamTray is just undersized (can’t play the perimeter). Greene is a 3 (has the height, not a ball handler to play the 2). The only reason that so much of this opened up is because Selden is one of our more talented players, but he had to move positions to be more effective, which meant that someone either had to play out of position, or we would always have to sit 2 of our best 6 players, which is not a good strategy.

  • @justanotherfan

    Isn’t Ellis the textbook definition of a tweener? While he can play the 3 and 4, he is too small to play the 4 and is not a proficient enough outside shooter to play the 3 in the NBA, of course. He is fine in college.

  • @justanotherfan Wrong, wrong, wrong + wrong. If these guys have hopes of matriculating to professional play, their current positions as Jayhawks fall into the tweener category. (Well, ok, I will back off on one of those “wrongs”: Selden, as a KU 3, could hardly be defined as a tweener.)

  • @justanotherfan I think your definition of a tweener is different than what most of us think.

  • I’ve always considered Selden to be much more of a 3 than a 2. He was listed as a small forward on ESPN recruiting in high school. ESPN commented on his weaknesses with “if he doesn’t grow anymore he could plateau as a 6’4” combo-forward". It sounds like his height is the only thing “tweener” about his game. If he were 1.5 - 2 inches taller though there would be no doubt about what to call him. I feel like the only reason Self has played him at the 2 is because that’s what everyone assumed his NBA position would have to be. I’m with others that think Self would be crazy not to keep him as the starting 3 alongside two ball-handling guards.

  • @Makeshift

    It really is the size of the fight in the dog, more than the size of the dog in the fight.

    Charles Barkley was considered 6’6"… though some say he was 6’5". His NBA position was power forward and he was an 11-x NBA All Star and led the league in rebounding in 1986-87.

    All of this stretch/tweener conversation is just looking at a statistic… height. Perry will be a “tweener” 4 if he plays soft. Then people count his height as a disadvantage and reason why he isn’t producing. He is taller than Barkley, and even though Perry is good, I’d take the shorter “Chab” at the 4 any day of the week!

    Same is true at all positions.

    Look at Cheick. He will be considered a short 5… may not even reach the description of “tweener.” However… if he dominates with his strength and hustle like most of us think, there won’t be many comments made about him being a “tweener.”

  • How about the most interesting tidbit or rumor I heard: 6’9 Bragg has grown an inch and is 6’10, reportedly. Obviously he has to get Huditioning and grow into his body, but what if he grows another 1-2 inches? He’s a muscular kid to begin with. Could be an absolute gem of a MickeyD, but he’s got a ton of things to master.

    Wish I knew if this “growth” by Bragg was true or just a rumor…anybody? (I’m about ready for some skilled height taller than 6’8, because of what that would mean in the paint. Cannot wait to see Diallo play, led everybody in the McDAA game.)

  • Mason is an absolute warrior, now wearing gold…

    Nic Moore made some key plays, but overall I was underwhelmed by his game.

    Devonte Graham is already ahead of Moore, and has a higher ceiling. Graham’s shot would not have been off, either. I think finding Devonte Graham was as big as ‘finding’ Frank Mason.

    Not to overstate this, but having Mason + Graham, is like having Sherron + Chalmers…or Tyshawn + EJ. Selden and Svi will be bigtime. Diallo + Bragg will be wild cards/gravy. Mickelson’s time is now. Lucas keep banging on rbds, Jamari keep disrupting and causing havoc.

    Every man do their job. (Help Frank).

  • @ralster Great post … and then you said “Jamari keeps disrupting and causing havoc.” – were you meaning for the opposition, or for us??

    Anyway, I don’t think you overstate your guard comparisons at all. The proof will be in the pudding. The two tandems you named gave us Final Fours. This is the year.

    We have the best collection of perimeter players in the country. We have no worries there, barring injury or unforeseen regression.

    This season will ride primarily on two things:

    1. Coach Self - Scheme, scheme, scheme. Do we have a fit? Will he be flexible? Will he make the right decisions for this collection of players? More than ever, I’m feeling confident in our direction. The WUG may pay bigger dividends than we imagined.

    2. The quality of our back to the basket scoring.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    “The WUG may pay bigger dividends than we imagined.”

    I had picked up a negative view of WUG right before the games, after we lost Devonte.

    But fortunately, everyone else stayed healthy and we won it, so that right there eliminated my personal negative fears about WUG.

    The fact that our guys learned to play a quick tempo well is a real bonus. And if Self can adjust his coaching to focus on a quicker pace… we are talking a SUPER bonus!

    Now, if he can make a few better decisions on awarding PT, so he doesn’t run Frank’s wheels into the ground by February, we can have high hopes of performing well in March.

    I’m not going to call us a Final Four team just yet. But I do see an excellent chance for us to advance further in March than our previous years after our championship loss to UK in 2012. I always remain hopeful for another NC… but the stars will have to align.

    What needs to happen: No significant injuries, no key players worn out, newbies learning the system and contributing, older players stepping up and taking charge, our guys come together as a team, hustle hustle hustle, Self adjusting his coaching, tweaking, substituting properly, developing offense to fit the skills of his players, and our guys carrying a chip.

    If you look at that list you will realize most of it is hard work and attitude. The rest requires the stars aligning.

  • @drgnslayr “Self adjusting his coaching, tweaking, substituting properly, developing offense to fit the skills of his players …”

    No doubt. From dogmatic to pragmatic. We can’t expect a complete change, and actually, I wouldn’t want that. But some flexibility. I just want Self to come to the realization that his way isn’t the only way, and to be flexible based on personnel. All that can be done quite easily within his excellent system. System, though, can flex and adapt - his system can flex and adapt. And coaches can trust players. Hopefully the WUG dividends will extend beyond a well-earned, shiny medal.

    I’m very optimistic. This is a Final Four season. And if it is, one guy should get the credit.

  • Banned



    You know the WUG’s could be the very thing that changes the course of HCBS coaching style. It would seem from everything I’ve read and heard from HCBS, change is a coming. I think the experience has left him in a state of dazed and confused. He seen the results.

    HCBS didn’t have to just make adjustments to his game plan and his mind set. He was forced to. The concept of sitting back, trusting your players to just play was a new experience I’m not sure HCBS had ever unleashed in his coaching career. Keeping my fingers crossed here but if HCBS continues to be in awe of the results of just letting the talent just play. He could very well become the next Wizard of college basketball lore. Instead of a conference winning streak, we could see a NC winning streak.

    HCBS can win conference championships with his eyes closed. We all know that. Yet lets be honest he has had some trouble of transferring or connecting that success to the tournament. Yet the WUG’s experience may have been the key that unlocks a side of HCBS coaching that we haven’t seen before.

  • Self went back to being the Self we all know in the gold medal game against Germany. It was iso and feed Ellis down low and a only subbing the 5 based on situation and fouls. Mason, Selden, Moore, and Ellis did not leave the floor for about the last 15 or so minutes of the game.

    If we’re in a close game late against Michigan St. or in the third game in Maui, we’ll see if Self reverts back to what he normally does or will he actually loosen the reigns and not force feed Ellis and tighten the rotation. Based on the Germany game, I’m not convinced Self is actually going to change in a meaningful way in late game situations.

  • @DoubleDD Keeping my fingers crossed, too.

    @Texas-Hawk-10 You are exactly right – I’m more optimistic now than before the WUG because I never thought we’d see what we saw from Self in 7 1/2 games at the WUG. Excellent handling of lineups, subs – really everything. He did revert to prior form in the second half vs. Germany. A stark contrast. We know what we’ve seen in the past and that should make all of us gun shy, as you allude to.

  • @DoubleDD

    “Yet the WUG’s experience may have been the key that unlocks a side of HCBS coaching that we haven’t seen before.”

    I’m hopeful for that, just like many in here. I’d like to see Bill trust in his players more. I’d also like to see him put more emphasis on proper substitutions during the game in attempt to keep fresh wheels under our key players. This is also necessary to help prevent injuries.

    As far as running less of the hi/lo… I don’t know. Since we just jump to a 30-second clock instead of 24, there seems to be just enough time to run the hi/lo.

    I don’t necessarily want to see us abandon the hi/lo… but I’d like to see us run a simplified version of it ALONG with other offensive sets. We are doing that now… so I’d just like to see us count on it less when it isn’t working.

    Part of this is a battle of wills. Self against Ellis. He wants to force the interior action in order to keep Perry involved in games. As we all know, if Perry gets a shot or two blocked, his history is to basically become invisible. Hats off to Perry for coming up big in the Germany game after starting off poorly. Maybe if he doesn’t have to be pushed so much into taking charge, he will (this year) and maybe Bill won’t use the hi/lo just to get Perry involved.


    Thanks for the dose of historic reality. We all need to keep Self in a realistic view. It is doubtful he will change much from what he was. I don’t think he has to make monumental changes… just improvement tweaks.

    What I really liked about WUG was the games leading up to the finals. How we won through attrition. It is doubtful we would have gone undefeated if we hadn’t run many of those teams out of the gym with our fast tempo. I know our coming season won’t have us playing games that tightly. But we can still get some of the same impact even on well-rested teams. Especially the teams that don’t have much of a bench (95% of D1).

    Look at the Big 12. Maybe Texas and perhaps Baylor have good depth? A bit at ISU, too. We should be able to stick it to teams like OU, OSU and WVU. And we should be able to push everyone else around, too.

  • Special Agent @VailHawk,

    You are hereby instructed to come up with a Tweener Logo for this season’s KU Jayhawks.

    jaybate 1.0 Director, BIA

  • Banned


    You’ll have to accuse me as it wasn’t my intent that HCBS abandon his High/Low offense. College basketball is really a long season, and having a game plan that you can hang your hat on is quite important. Yet sometimes the game plan isn’t working, especially in the NCAA tournament. This is mostly likely the biggest grip I have with HCBS. If the system or the plan isn’t working then just let your superior athletes just play. I believe HCBS learned this lesson in the WUG’s. If HCBS sticks to his guns and his system no way KU wins the WUG’s. A lesson learned that even HCBS acknowledges.



    Some times in life changing is the hardest thing to do, even if you’ve seen the results. HCBS has cut his teeth of pounding the ball inside no matter what. No way is he going to forget that and nor should he. After all it’s been good to him. Yet the WUG’s opened his eyes to the barrier that his coaching style limits his progress. It won’t be easy to change, and sometimes it will be the right move to go to his patent High/Low offense. It is the lesson he’ll need to learn. If he does look the hell out.

    Sometimes the Tournament is a crap shoot. Yet if you have the best talent and things aren’t going well? Then just release the grip and control and let your dogs play.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Are you thinking something in between Big Jay and Baby Jay?!?!

  • @VailHawk


  • In that final half game in S. Korea our players were so worn out that Self finally was forced to revert to systems basketball. We must not forget that IT WORKED WELL FOR THE OUTCOME. Given enough player talent, Self is a master at finishing games, pulling out wins in back and forth squeakers. I watched USA lose to the Canadians today in the Pan American Games. Kept imagining how Self might have coached our disparate group of American representatives in the closing minutes. I’m fairly certain of one thing: he would not have cut VanFleet from the group which had been selected for the trials. That young Canadian kid Murray displayed the difference to be expected from an accomplished point guard. Calipari is probably dancing a wild fandango tonight.

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