Auburn Signs Heron, Lol; Pearl Sure Can Recruit, Lol

  • No one can recruit…Lol

    …like Bruce Pearl. Lol.

    3 Top 100s signed already…Lol

    …after Pearl returns from…Lol

    …having been banished…Lol

    …from coaching D1! Lol.

    Including top guard…Lol

    …Mustapha Heron…Lol

    …from Connecticut! Lol

    At Auburn! Lol

    When Self can’t sign Heron! Lol

    Or three Top 100s. Lol

    What gives? Lol

    With D1? Lol

    And the NCAA? Lol

    Which gives…Lol

    LB and SMU…Lol

    …heavy penalties? Lol

    It’s so baroque. Lol

    Lie to us, NCAA…Lol

    …about Bruce! Lol

    Tell us it’s…Lol

    …all hard work! Lol

    And how much…Lol

    …Connecticut kids…Lol

    …want to be like Charles! Lol




  • @jaybate-1.0

    I wonder… Self still doesn’t really promise MPG. Maybe Cliff’s fall in the spring is not part of the problem but his lack of early season minutes is?

    I can imagine other recruiters telling recruits that they don’t want to take a chance of being benched early on if they go to Kansas.

    Even stud Oubre was denied early minutes.

  • @drgnslayr I agree completely. It is undoubtedly part of the negative recruiting narrative. I know some will be quick to respond with the positives here. But the recruits are kids. Many probably personally know Cliff from the AAU circuit. Why else would Kansas be sitting here now, with post spots open, and no post recruits pinned down, while others have 1 or 2 in the bag?

    Here’s what I posted a few weeks ago as a general illustration. My guess is conversations are much more blunt in many cases:

    I’m in the living room of a top post recruit, and I’m selling a competing program, and Kansas comes up: “Look, I don’t know what went on with Cliff Alexander. I tend not to focus on things like that. But as a player, I would always wonder if that could be me. All coaches are different. Some coaches are more receptive to freshman mistakes, and learning. Some coaches aren’t as patient. It’s not that one is right or wrong, it’s just that one way creates more of a chance that a player might not get the minutes and exposure that a top player needs. Cliff was highly talented, and out performed other guys when he was in the game, but his minutes were lacking. Some coaches let players play through mistakes, others no so much. Again, what’s right or wrong? As you know, we realize that there is a learning curve but that the learning process is accelerated when that player gets more playing time. Particularly a top player like you.”

  • @drgnslayr

    I have tried out similar logic, but its validity breaks down this way. The NBA drafts hugely on potential. Self can’t destroy potential. Only an injury can do that. All Self can do is expose what any trained scout would have seen in a workout any way.

    IMHO, something happened must have happened to Cliff between his last season of high school-summer game ball, when he was good enough to outplay Okafor, and his KU season. What happened we will probably never be told, but something must have happened that made first Self, and then NBA scouts say he just wasn’t the same guy, or player.

    Round up the usual suspects.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    In HS, Cliff’s size and abilities were able to let him dominate. The game became more competitive in D1 and Cliff didn’t make the jump in his game to meet the situation. A big part was he just didn’t adapt quickly. Had he kept his eligibility, we would have experienced a much-improved Cliff over time. I’m convinced of that.

    The problem that we can’t overcome is perception. In sales… “Perception is king!” Always has been and will be. The perception (and also on paper) shows that Cliff went from being a top prospect to not even getting drafted… all in the span of a year. We can argue all we want… we aren’t high school recruits looking for a school. I have to admit that if I was a young recruit, I could be persuaded to bite some of the bait offered by recruiters dissing Kansas.

    Now, at this point in the game, it becomes much harder for Kansas to recruit. Why? Perception. The fact that we have ZERO momentum… to the point that we are going backwards instead of forwards… the job gets harder. Recruiters can now say about Kansas… “See, elite big, other elites are also not signing with Kansas! They have issues and others see it, too!”

    What Cal figured out a long time ago was momentum and perception. A big part of what made him so good at recruiting is that he always sold momentum. Cal would say, “hey Joey… Nathan, Tyrone and Tim are all coming to Kentucky! Jump on board! We’ll dominate and win a championship! We’ll have the #1 recruiting class and you will be a big part of that!”

    All the great assets Kansas has to offer quickly goes to the wayside. We have LESS THAN ZERO momentum. If our coaches were car salesmen and I was their manager… they would be looking for work elsewhere.

    But as coaches… they are solid! Just not great salesmen. Wiggins was a fluke. So was JoJo. We barely recruited Wigs. In fact, he’s that odd recruit that didn’t like all the sales talk.

    Thing is… why do we want to be like Kentucky? Why do we want guys in plaid suits out recruiting players? Since Kansas really is the “gold standard”… why don’t we act like it? Why don’t we be the first to push into a new horizon? Offer something different from all the used car salesman approaches out there. Offer REAL development. And then we get our pick of the right kind of elite players. The ones who aren’t buried in a cloud about their own talent level. We land the hungry recruits who have humility and the reality that their game has a long ways to go. Those are the players I want at Kansas. Not the top elites that think their poo doesn’t stink.

  • I will not say that Self, solely, caused Cliff’s drop. But I think his handling at Kansas was a large part of it.

    Why is it so difficult to believe that a coach’s handling of a player can affect a kid’s value? Self exposed his flaws, as opposed to accentuating his positives.

    How do you say could this occur?

    It all goes back to “system.” A “system” coach runs his system, and players be damned. The system does not seek to assimilate. The system does not seek to accentuate. The system is the system. The player either fits, or he doesn’t.

    That is why, in large part, freshman take a bit more time under Self. Self seeks to repair flaws to fit what Self does – to fit his system.

    With Cliff, perhaps his blossoming would have occurred in late Feb or March. But that was not possible given NCAA issues.

    Regardless, the undeniable evidence on the court was that Cliff was a better player than Jamari (should be playing at Cleveland St.) Traylor, or Lucas. Yet Self preferred the vets. Self nit-picked Cliff’s performances, and used some tough love to mold a better player. It’s what Self does.

    Problem was that this entire process called Cliff’s ability, attitude, and skills all into question – when compared to the competition. There must be a good reason why Cliff is struggling to find the floor at Kansas, right? Logical conclusion.

    I just think that Self’s handling of Cliff played a large role in his drop. Not the only thing. Maybe even not biggest item. But it certainly played a large part in his mess – meaning I think a more inviting system would not have led to the same result.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Its okay to blame coaches for players’ failures to develop. Nearly 50% of all D1 players transfer according to Bob Bowlsby. Players apparently often don’t get along with coaches and vice versa, and players often don’t get as much development as they desire, and so move on.

    But, again, that does not explain why the NBA would not draft a player with the correct potential, whether developed, or not.

    Cliff was unquestionably identified as a player with such potential by the end of his senior season in high school. And he was an incredibly athletic stud, even if he were a bit shorter than the average NBA big.

    He was labeled a strongly probable OAD by most.

    He worked Okafor in an all-star game or two.

    He played fairly well against most of the top summer competition he faced, while the ranking gurus and the NBA scouts watched him before coming to KU; that was ALL potential, not system. High school coaches and AAU coaches are not running any offensive, or defensive schemes remotely as complicated as NBA coaches. Neither are college coaches for that matter.

    He was said to have a good motor.

    The NBA drafts potential with a good motor.

    They draft it in Europe.

    They draft it in Africa.

    They draft it in China.

    And the for sure draft it in USA.

    Cliff had the potential and the motor when playing in non NBA systems before he got to KU. He seemed to have a pretty good motor at KU, too, whenever he wasn’t lapsing into lack of focus.

    Conspicuously, Cliff lacked the potential after he played for KU for only one season, and played less than half the minutes he might have.

    Which is more probable?

    Self and his system destroyed/degraded Cliff’s potential?

    Or something else did?

    It just seems wildly improbable that Self and his system could destroy Cliff’s potential to the point that no one else thought they could develop it better than Self. Almost beyond statistical significance.

    Something happened to Cliff’s potential–to the worth of it in the eyes of NBA GMs.

    But what remains a mystery.

    He developed abnormally puffy eyes at KU that I do not recall him having in the feeds of him before KU.

    He demonstrated intermittent apparent lapses in concentration most of the season, but that could have been inadequately developed neural nets from youth, or it could’ve been freshman jitters, a broken heart from a romance, or what have you. All have previously shaken players confidences sharply, but I don’t recall any of those things degrading potential, or destroying it to the point that the NBA wants no part of a highly athletic big man with productive per minute played numbers through out his pre-professional career.

    Cliff also made intermittently astonishingly bone headed plays, and intermittently failed to react entirely to the most normal circumstances of play, in addition to showing great impact plays other times. His play was extremely uneven, but when he was good he was very good.

    He came with some extra weight, but then guys that come to KU often come with extra weight, then lose it, then gain it back in muscle in redistributed locations. Weight gain in and of itself does not seem a likely culprit, unless the weight gain were tied to puffy eyes, lapsing concentration, and intermittent failures to react.

    He seemed to run the floor just as well at KU as before.

    He was relatively productive on a per minute basis playing in Self’s system in scoring and rebounding that you suggest lack of play and ill-fitting system triggered his underdevelopment, and which I note must have done so to the point of destroying his potential to the point of no one in the NBA wanting to draft him on potential. Hmm. Even the nepotistic moron GMs and stat men in NBA could read those simple ppm-played stats that you and I have noted and extrapolated from those that the potential was still there to be developed in terms of his actual on floor productivity at KU. So the potential to be productive was not what must have been degraded to the point of the NBA not wanting to chance a draft choice on him.

    His mom reputedly took out a loan that by the butt end of the season made Self unable to play him at all. The NBA is famous for playing guys that had violations in their college backgrounds. So: the loan, which he reputedly did not even take out, and the related blow back in and of itself could not explain the NBA not drafting him.

    What makes the NBA, or any employer, not take a chance on a gifted applicant for a job?

    That applicant’s potential being wrecked by a former coach/employer, or something else?

  • @jaybate-1.0 You make good points.

    I would say that in the college game, this is the first time a player is seen in real, high level competition. AAU, while excellent basketball, is not near the D-1 college game, of course.

    Thus, the first time a scout would see Cliff is under Self. That presentation can certainly influence a scout’s opinion.

    Potential is about the ceiling, right? It is also about the angle of the curve.

    I cannot imagine Cliff falling so greatly in the eyes of scouts if he had played 25 minutes per game at Kansas, and simply played at the same level we witnessed in his lower minutes per game. His per minute stats were pretty darn good.

    I think it’s quite unreasonable to discount this.

    If Cliff would have gone to, say, Illinois, and put up the same per minute numbers he did at Kansas playing 30 minutes per game. – if he did that over 30 minutes, he would have scored 12.1 points per game, had 9.0 rebounds per game, and 2.25 blocks per game. Okafer played 30.1 minutes per game and had 17.2 points per game, 8.5 rpg, 1.4 blocks per game. Cliff’s per minute stats stack up well.

    That presentation would have been much nicer.

  • I think there are so many factors involved… I’m not trying to divert blame away from “guilty parties” but IMHO I think many things worked against Cliff.

    Self’s fault: I think, as usual, @HighEliteMajor has nailed the issue of rigidness in coaching through a “system.” Kansas has shown that it can’t really adapt the structure to the player… it works the other way around… player adapts to structure. And, in general, success is a result of players coming together in a style of play. That doesn’t mean coaches shouldn’t take advantage of the skill set each player brings to the game… on the contrary… this is a REQUIREMENT to success. And from a recruiting perspective, we are sitting on the wrong side of the fence. Recruits prefer what Cal tells them… “I’m here for YOU!” That isn’t the message from Self or Kansas… The message is, “We want you to become a part of us!” Big difference… especially in the success rate of recruiting. I understand that we don’t want to recruit elites that are narcissists… but come on… let’s watch all the recruits we missed on this year and in March, how many of them are focused strictly on themselves?

    Cliff’s fault: Cliff should have been able to improve and hold on to his elite status by going to any D1 school. He made some mistakes, his family made some mistakes… We wouldn’t be having this conversation if he didn’t blow his eligibility because he would have returned, unless he was prepared to make yet another huge mistake in his future. Cliff’s mistakes on defense were often simply not acceptable. Self’s focus is defense. Having 4 guys play their guts out for 33 seconds and then Cliff give up a back door is simply not acceptable. If left to continue he would bring the team down to his level of play instead of the other way around. It truly does only take one “bad apple” to spoil the bunch. And while he clearly had more to offer than Jamari and Landen, his errors were more colossal. At least, that is what I keep telling myself. In reality, I don’t know that to be true, but I try to rationalize why he wasn’t given more minutes. We don’t attend practices and typically PT is earned by what a player shows in practice.

    NBA’s fault: Let’s face it… NBA scouts and management follow the flow of popular momentum. They are human and that is what humans do. Cliff’s disastrous conclusion to his D1 experience put him in “nowhere land” and he became virtually invisible, except when mentioned as being the poster child of failure in D1 by several sports “authorities.”

    Mysterious fault: I’m pretty sure there are factors none of us know. Self hasn’t come this far in his career by making huge coaching blunders. And I don’t think Cliff intended to wipe out in college.

    All of our analysis will be answered in the next few years. If Cliff really had potential he would step up and fight through the NBA system and end up on top. He can’t blame Kansas and Self now. It’s all him. I hope he makes it because he will always be a Jayhawk and it is hard to not have a soft spot for Cliff.

  • @drgnslayr said:

    Mysterious fault: I’m pretty sure there are factors none of us know. Self hasn’t come this far in his career by making huge coaching blunders. And I don’t think Cliff intended to wipe out in college.

    My money is on this one. I believe without it, Cliff would have been a huge star.

Log in to reply