WTF Is the New KU Mantra

  • Landen Lucas got 3 fouls and 1 TO in 8 minutes against Pittsburg State…WTF!

    Perry Ellis is a senior and made 4 TOs against Pittsburg State…WTF!

    Svi Mykhailuk couldn’t the broad side of a KSU Experimental Barn…WTF!!!

    Senior Traylor goose egged defensive rebounds and grabbed 2 offensive rebounds in 16 minutes…WTF!

    Senior Hunter Mickelson may have fallen in love with basketball, but it doesn’t do him any good, since Bill Self remains in love with Landen Lucas and Jamari Traylor, started Lucas, subbed Traylor before Mickelson, and then watched go 10/6 in 13 measly minutes…WTF!!!

    Frank Mason null sets the trey, but some how snags 4 boards from the point…WTF!

    Freshman Carlton Bragg makes fewer TOs than senior Perry Ellis…WTF!!!

    LaGerald Vick is more productive on a PPP basis than Brannen Greene but BG gets to play twice as many minutes…WTF!!!

    Devonte gets 8 assists and becomes KU’s new PG, but MR. Reliable’s shooting tanks. WTF!!!

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I’m glad (for the most part) that we looked like one big cow patty. It helps keep fan expectations down. Usually, we murder these teams and fans get a false sense of where the team is at because they don’t consider the quality of our opponent.

    Also… it gives Self plenty of red meat to rip these guys a new one in practice all week. 6 days until the next exhibition so that means a lot of focused practices.

    There were some bright spots. Carlton looks like he will earn serious PT. Hunter looked pretty good, too. Landen doesn’t really seem like he has changed at all. Jamari brought some good energy. Self has him tagged as the “energy guy” this year.

    Wayne… I hope he is just still hobbled with a bad ankle. He looked slow and disinterested.

    BG… well… taking Self’s words… “he just doesn’t get it!” (so far, anyways)

    Svi… I know this game was nothing, but I was hoping to see more after eating all those hype sandwiches the past 6 months! He is definitely heavier… but he looks slower. Maybe he isn’t a fast-twitch guy.

    Vick… I finally figured him out. He is the next MICHAEL COOPER!

    Devonte had moments where he showed he is a point guard. Frank had moments where he showed he is a shooting guard.

    I’m really praying with get Cheick cleared and he develops quickly. The team needs his energy on the floor. This team is so capable of going out and taking a nap at half court.

  • @drgnslayr said:

    This team is so capable of going out and taking a nap at half court.

    Hangover from the WUG? Going from international gold to an exhibition, and from a freewheeling short-clock game to work in the hi-lo factory may depress the players more than they or anyone else realize.

  • @ParisHawk hi low worked pretty good when they ran it. Lots of open 3’s, just not going in. Svi didn’t look good, hopefully Selden was bothered by his ankle.

  • @ParisHawk

    They probably just need more games to loosen up. All the practicing with no games can stiffen up a team, especially when their practices are all about teaching them structure.

  • @drgnslayr I agree. They definitely looked sped up and nervous (except the frosh Bragg. Go figure!). I anticipate that going away and seeing a much more relaxed, under control team come Tue/ Friday.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Last year you kept calling these same trends bad ball. So this is what it’s gonna be this year?

    In some ways I feel like we know what we’re gonna get from our juniors and seniors and from our coach and therefore we’re gonna have another unsatisfying season, at least from a March standpoint. None of those guys were superstars last year, we shouldn’t expect them to be superstars this year, correct?

    It’s always funny to me that a team gets everyone back from a team that finished weakly and we say, great we’ve got an experienced team coming back, well an experienced team that wasn’t that great to begin with.

    I’ll say this about the game. I watched half heartedly. The long October of baseball watching had me in a little bit of sports burnout, so while I had the game on the laptop I watched Law/order svu with my wife like we always do on Wednesdays, except for the last month because I was watching baseball. The game had very few moments that I saw that made me think this team was going to be any different than the last two editions.

  • @wissoxfan83

    Great post by the way.

    We will see if Tuesday is any different, especially when Self brings to practice all the ammo from last nights ugly game with him. I expect some individuals to improve especially one’s who’ve played little in the past year.

  • If Wayne is hobbled on a bad ankle, he should not be playing against Pitt State. This early in the year, its more important that Wayne get back to 100% than that he be in the lineup. I think this is a flaw of KU - we seem to try to play our guys when they are a little banged up against far inferior opponents when it does us no good.

    I want Wayne at 100% against Michigan State. I am not interested in Wayne at 85% against Pitt State.

  • ESPN Power Rankings:


    Last Season: 27-9, 13-5 Big 12

    It’s hard to classify a season that ended in yet another Big 12 title (the 11th in a row for the Jayhawks) and NCAA tournament berth as a disappointment, but somehow, 2014-15 left folks wanting more out of KU – mostly because there was so much to offer.

    Yet from the beatdown handed out by Kentucky in the second game through the end-of-the-season loss to Wichita State, it never quite felt like the Jayhawks got it together. Injuries certainly had something to do with that, as did Cliff Alexander’s fizzle due to NCAA issues. Still, there could have been more.

    Which makes this season all the more interesting. There isn’t that much chatter about Kansas, despite a roster that returns Perry Ellis, Frank Mason III, Wayne Selden Jr., Jamari Traylor and Devonte’ Graham and adds three ESPN 100 recruits.

    Maybe that’s a good thing. Kansas won’t sneak up on anybody, but after sliding down the expectation ladder a year ago, the Jayhawks could very well make amends this season. – Dana O’Neil


    Best Case: Kansas is legit, and this year’s Jayhawks will win the Big 12 and have a great chance to reach the Final Four again under Bill Self. Like North Carolina, the Jayhawks have depth, size and experience coming back, and some new blood that will fit in nicely and even lead the way. The Jayhawks return their top three scorers from last season, including Ellis, a senior who is the leading candidate for Big 12 Player of the Year. He had the top usage percentage on the team, Mason had the most win shares, and Selden made the most 3-pointers. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Carlton Bragg are future pros, but Selden could be the key performer. If he takes over a consistent, primary scoring role, Kansas can cut the nets down.

    franki.jpg Frank Mason III Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Worst Case: Kansas wins the Big 12 again. What? Are you kidding? Kansas has won 11 straight Big 12 titles. Which team is knocking the Jayhawks off of the top spot? The answer is . . . nobody in the Big 12. Kansas may not cut the nets down for a national title, but there will be another Big 12 banner in Allen Fieldhouse. Ask yourself, what makes this the year that the Big 12 will fight back?

    1.jpg “They have talented perimeter guys and a lot of depth in the frontcourt. They are the one team in the Big 12 that can bring waves of big guys. They can overwhelm you athletically in the paint and on the glass. With their personnel and track record, they are definitely the front-runner to win their 12th straight league title.”

  • @wissoxfan83 preseason games are trying out combos, I bet it will still be ugly tues. I hope the defensive effort will be better. I also think Perry will see more time at 3 if Selden isn’t up to par. Bragg is awesome, but I’m not sure he can keep up w/bigger stronger guys like Niang-yet. Who will guard McKay? We need diallo!

  • @justanotherfan said:

    If Wayne is hobbled on a bad ankle, he should not be playing against Pitt State.

    This is the nub of it. His injury appears chronic. Self is playing him, until Selden can’t play at all. And then he will play Selden some more.

    What we saw out there may be very much what we see this season.

    Korea was what Wayne Selden can do when he is not injured.

    But Wayne Selden is ALMOST ALWAYS injured.

    It is a tough break for Wayne, as it was a tough break for Wayne Simien.

    Simien got lucky and had most of his last season healthy and tore up the game for a season.

    Self can only hope it happens for Selden. too.

    And Self appears to have decided that Selden is always injured with something, and so you play him all the time.

    Its a hard call.

    My heart is with you on this: sit him till he is well.

    But my head agrees with Self. For highly talented guys that are only well about 10% of the time, the only option is play them injured and hope they figure out how to play injured, and hope they catch a random break on injuries.

    Bill Bridges was always injured. And his injuries were really severe: knees, but other things, too. Bridges had to learn to play injured. He was a great talent that no amount of sitting was ever going to fix.

    Larry Bird, went from never injured to chronic back injury that cascaded into other things starting his second season in the NBA. He had to change his game and learn to play injured for most of his professional career.

    My recollection of Simien was that he was injury prone his entire high school and college career before Self got him from Roy.

    Self apparently had a conversation with Wayne and said something like, “Look Wayne, you are a great player, when healthy, but you are never healthy. You are so good that you are better than most guys even when you are injured. If you are willing to play injured, let’s both just forget about your injuries and I will build the team around you. Wayne Simien at 75% is better than anyone else I have at 100%. But you have to play through the injuries for me to do this. If you don’t want to play through the injuries, then I’ve got to go in another direction. Its your call.” Wayne clearly rose to the challenge and got lucky on the injury front.

    I believe Self has probably had a similar discussion with Wayne.

    Wayne is the guy until Wayne literally can’t walk out on the floor.

  • @wissoxfan83 said:

    It’s always funny to me that a team gets everyone back from a team that finished weakly and we say, great we’ve got an experienced team coming back, well an experienced team that wasn’t that great to begin with.

    KU didn’t finish weak.

    It finished injured.

    Big difference.

    The team was actually very good for a few stretches last season, when injuries receded some.

    And it was good enough to win a conference title injured; that says a lot about how much talent there is on the team, despite the deficiencies in the front court.

    And it had such great character that it found a way to win despite the injuries.

    I know we are both big fans of Bo Ryan.

    But the probability is that Bo wouldn’t have won a conference title with KU’s injuries last season. Make that high probability.

    Bo just wouldn’t have been able to improvise far enough outside what he normally does, the way Self did, to get her done. He’s just not that kind of a coach. He has many strengths, but improvising on the fly is not among them.

    Bo has proven over the years he needs good luck with injuries to win titles, or go deep in the Madness.

    Self is so good that he can win titles with injuries, but even Self can’t go deep in the Madness with lots of injuries.

    For what its worth, I don’t ever recall Bo Ryan having an equivalent rash of injuries on a team as short of big man talent as happened to Self and KU, and then winning a conference title.

    Last season was very, very freaky for Self and KU–a huge anomaly in Self’s KU tenure. Most injuries I ever recall across the board. Least front court talent. And we were largely bailed out the front nine by great outside shooting and on the back nine by BAD BALL.

    And Self just bounced back and won the WUGs like it was no big deal totally shifting gears from what he has ever done in the past!

    Self is a fabulous coach.

    And though this team STILL lacks a great front court, there is enough material coming back with experience, plus Bragg, to make this team a threat to win another conference title, AND probably make the Sweet 16.

    What board rats are often not factoring in is how much the team’s outside shooting is likely to fall off from last season. Mason had a career season statistically last year. Players rarely have more than one of those in a four year college career. Kirk Hinrich and Tyrel Reed only had one great outside shooting season each. It is unrealistic for Mason to shoot as well as he did last season. And if Mason falls off just to 39-40, KU is going to need a ton of improvement out of its bigs to compensate.

    Then there is Devonte Graham and the sophomore slump to be concerned about. Only a very few players start out with as statistically fine of a season as he did as a freshman, and follow it up with another equally fine sophomore season. If Graham AND Mason fall off a little, as should be expected, this team will struggle to achieve what it did last season.

    Making a Final Four seems impossibly optimistic to me this season, even though I know the team will have several great spurts this season, because of having more offensive productivity in the paint.

    Add Diallo, and then I would get more excited and wishful, but only somewhat. The reason Diallo is such a sweetener, is that even though he would only play at most 15-20 mpg, he would add the one thing this team is still weakest at, and which a good team requires: rebounding.

  • @jaybate-1.0 the last 2 dang years!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Yep. But the injuries the previous season were to cornerstones–Selden and Joel, not to sooooooooo many on the team. At least that’s what my feeble brain recalls.

    Last season was a coach’s nightmare.

    And a fan’s too.

  • @jaybate-1.0 w/out Embiid was a nightmare! 1/2 a perry, no Cliff.(puke)

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Hey, I forgot about half a Perry and Joel missing out.

    Its all been so terrible, I am repressing things now. 🙂

  • @jaybate-1.0 I think we can say with absolute certainty that Traylor will be a net negative on the boards again this season. But, everything else? I just chalking it up to its a pre season game, lets just wait and see how they progress through this month before too many WTFs. I think Selden still might be favoring that ankle. Although he did have a pretty sick looking one handed jam through traffic earlier… BG and Svi and Selden all got burned on defense. Svi should be quick enough to slide, BG just isnt. Selden has to be favoring that ankle still…right?

    Alright, Second half, about midway through it. I saw SVI stay in front of his man, who happened to be a smaller guard. So, he can do it. Svi is quick enough to fight over a screen and stay in front of his man. But, then on the next defensive possession by KU, BG and Selden get burned and well, pretty much the whole team gets out hustled by Pitt state. That warrants a big WTF!

  • For the life of me, I cannot see why Traylor will see more than 5 minutes a game. He is easily our worst big.

    Great story and glad he is a Jayhawk. I just wish Self would split his PT on more than just what he feels comfortable with.

    I would like to see the playing time split up like this: Ellis- 32 Mickelson- 24 Bragg-18 Lucus- 5

    Taylor should only be in as an emergency guy or to send a message to someone if they aren’t playing hard.

    Later in the season, Bragg’s should go up and reduces the time of Mickelson. But as you can see, I am not a fan of Traylor’s game.

  • @JhawkAlum I know a lot of fans don’t want see Traylor on the floor.

    In reality Id rather see him in the floor over Lucas who at times looks like he’s being forced to be a basketball player and is just going through the motions.

    This is just my opinion. Take it for what it’s worth. Do with it as you please.

  • @JRyman

    I’m curious what is up with Lucas? He looked the same way in WUG. He did have one decent game… was it against Germany? But… he was the last guy to be able to adjust to the rules and eventually foul less. He is having the same issue now.

    I think it is showing us how rigid his game is. It takes him longer to adjust to changes. We see it in the rules… where we can’t always see it is with his adjustment to each team we play and to different players.

    I think he has made it this far in basketball… NOT because of his athleticism, or scrappy play and attitude, or talent. He has made it this far because he has always focused on the fundamentals. So that explains why it is hard for him to adapt quickly to changes.

    If you watch him in the post, he is the only post player we have that knows how to seal for a rebound. The only one! Yet… he can’t own the boards because he just isn’t athletic and doesn’t have enough scrap in him. I bet I’ve seen him get out-rebounded a dozen times where he had the seal off, but still got out-hustled. Those moments make him look really bad.

  • @JRyman I do see some benefits with Traylor. In the past, he has provided a momentum changing block or dunk. It is just tough to see a program like Kansas play a big man who can’t score and doesn’t rebound 20 minutes a game. You won’t see very many final four teams have a guy like Traylor play significant minutes.

    In your opinion, what does he excel in? Not scoring, DEFINITELY not rebounding, not post defense. Maybe defense on a stretch four? Even if that’s the case, he is at most a situational player. Not a rotation player.

    I was still on his bandwagon last year. Hoping that his redshirt junior year, he could transform into a Kevin Young type. But he isn’t half the player Young was.

  • @drgnslayr I agree on Lucas. He is the only one who seals. And even if he doesn’t dominate the boards, he is still significantly better at rebounding than Traylor and is at defending the post.

  • @JhawkAlum If Huddy could somehow figure a way to Lucas and Traylor we’d have an all American 5.

    I think the hard part for us KU fans is that we have been spoiled with above average to great big men for the past 30 years. From Manning to Ostertag to Lefrentz, Pollard, Simien, Shady, Cole, The Mori, TRob and Embid. I’m sure I’m missing more.

    Those are really really big shoes to fill.

    Maybe we are just spoiled?

  • @JRyman

    “Maybe we are just spoiled?”

    Mwaaaa??? 😉

  • @JRyman Oh we have definitely been spoiled! I think we saw it last year when we didn’t have a dominate back to the basket big.

    But I am talking about what we have available. And with our current big situation, I don’t understand why Traylor should be playing. Not to mention if Diallo gets a partial qualifier and can play the second half of the season!

  • @drgnslayr Lucas will play against Ridley type players

  • @JhawkAlum did you see the game?

  • @JhawkAlum why does Traylor see the floor? I think it’s his energy and or motor.

    I know. I know a lot of people don’t like those words. But in his case I think it’s contagious to other guys on the floor. Maybe he gets a tipped pass on D that leads to a run out? Guys see that and feel they need to push up their game.

    No he’s not a shot blocker or rebounder per se but he does have something that works for him and the other 4 guys feed off of.

    Other guys in the past and present with high motors just off the top of my head. Jerod Hasse. Frank Mason. Sheron Collins. Yes they had other intangibles and skill sets but don’t discount their motor and energy they brought to the game.

  • @JRyman actually Jamari is a pretty good blocker. The Pittsburgh st game, Mari was guarding a perimeter player most of the game. Mari also knows all the sets. Did you see the play after a to w/Mari and Mason?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 said Did you see the play after a to w/Mari and Mason?

    No haven’t watched yet. Some highlights here and there.

    I’ll be watching come NoCo though.

    Like many have said these exhibition games are just glorified practices that make players play tight trying not to screw up early.

  • @jaybate-1.0 said:

    KU didn’t finish weak.

    It finished injured.

    That’s a huge point, and it seems like Self and KU are bound and determined to repeat those mistakes for the third consecutive year. Embiid was banged up. They brought him back quickly. He never got right. Given his NBA career, he may not have ever gotten right, but KU could have traded a couple more games without Embiid to make sure he was ready for March.

    Selden and Ellis both played in the Big 12 tournament while banged up. Why not give them the weekend off and prepare for the NCAAs?

    At KU, we prioritize all wins the same. That’s just not the case. A win in November or December is not as valuable as a win in late March. Yes, the fans will lament if we lose, but honestly, I would trade two or three more regular season losses for one or two more March wins every year. It’s not even something I would think about. I make that trade.

    KU must manage wear and tear better this year, or we may be in the same position that we have been in - an 80% healthy squad knocked off by an inferior team in March.

  • @justanotherfan

    You articulated this very well. Thanks for the assist.

    Over the years I have come to accept an insight once shared with me that smart persons don’t do dumb things, so much as they make net benefit choices based on constraints and accept the costs as necessary to get what to them appear the net optimal benefits.

    It follows that if you and I are smart enough to recognize and frame the issue as we have that Bill Self is also quite capable of doing the same also.

    In turn, Bill Self must be making what appears to him an optimizing net benefit choice subject to constraints, and not a short sighted mistake.

    Put another way, Bill Self must realize that he is trading off possible wins in March by playing guys hurt for wins earlier in the season and conference titles.

    Thus the question is: what vision of costs and benefits and the context they occur in drives him to this choice?

    If we concede Self is a smart coach–one with above average intelligence, and highly competent to coach the game to be played many different ways, then I think we have to look to the context he is operating in to see why he is making the choices he is making.

    Self has not just a little but a lot of first hand experience at who wins the recruiting battles, at what it feels like to come up against teams with vastly more talent in March, while at KU, and in the regular season, at places like Illinois, Tulsa, and ORU.

    Self has gone 0-fer, or nearly so at ORU. He knows coaching’em up can only do so much.

    Self knows that taking over a program that is up, like Tulsa, was much more feasible to create a good coaching W&L statement than at a place that was down like ORU. He knows W&L statements and conference titles are the gold standard with management in his profession. Mostly you don’t get fired when you win >25 games and you win your conference title. Period.

    Self knows lots of coaches have gotten fired a few years after winning a ring. Self knows already people are beginning not to care a whit that he won a ring in 2008. Rings are the ornaments on a career. They help you get ranked higher than other guys by reporters and fans looking back. Coaches can’t eat looking back. They can’t create huge trusts for their kids looking back. They can do those things by winning more than >25 and conference titles. They need to get a ring once in a while, but most reason that that will take care of itself, if they keep the program up and winning >25 and hanging conference titles frequently. Rings just aren’t controllable. Most guys aim to coach for 20-30 seasons, if they can hang on. No one has won more than ten rings. Next is 5 rings. Most top coaches win 1 or 2 rings. Rings are not controllable. Rings can buy you a few seasons of popularity and can get you into some recruits you used to not be able to get into see. But the rings are not controllable. Seeding by a system aiming to create the biggest audience determines a large share of which top team wins any given ring. If you are at KU in a small population state in the CST, you can pretty much know that you will usually get the raw end of seeding. Thus a rational coach logically infers that rings don’t pay the rent and keep the lights on in a 30,000 sf house on an estate. Winning >25 games and conference titles, which are something a coach at KU holds a distinct edge in doing, and so has some control over, do pay the rent and keep the lights on. And the longer he coaches the bigger the trust funds he leaves for his kids. And never underestimate the extent of the desire of a parent to provide for his kids and ensure to the best of his ability that they never have to fend for themselves the way he had to, when he was young, unless they want to. A parent knows that some kids are gentle and not equipped to run with wolves, while others are. A parent wants to protect all of his children from the real world, if he can. Love, education and an enormous trust fund are the best ways to do that.

    The longer Self coaches at KU, the more certain he is his children never have to fear for the rest of their lives. And the longer Self coaches, the more certain Self’s grand children never have to fear for their lives. And so on. It is that simple. There is no end to the desire to secure the futures of the generations either. If Self could make a billion dollars coaching, he would try to do it. There is inelastic demand for wealth, because, as the Rockefellers demonstrate. No matter how much wealth they have and how much they control, they can further enhance it and further secure the order that secures them and their future generations at the top of the heap of the global economy. Self may say he doesn’t foresee himself coaching a long time. Fine. He can say what he wants, but when he looks at his children eventually he will think: well, another year of $10 million, or another five, and they are iced at the level of the next grade of wealth up. All the talk about wealthy people doing what they do because they love it is only half the story–the half put out to the plebes. The other half is that they are highly incentivized and driven to enhance their wealth endlessly for their future generations and for their visions of how the world ought to be organized for their future generations. For every one wealthy person that talks about making their kids earn their livings there is in the back ground an enormous, unspoken of, and growing trust fund. Period.

    So having covered the driver of wealth, let’s get back to immediate context.

    Self cannot land the best players…not yet.

    Self cannot get nearly the numbers of the best players that other elite programs get…not yet.

    And he’s been at it for over a decade now at KU.

    And he has been the most successful coach of his generation for a goodly portion of that tenure.

    Self probably looks at the field of coaches at elite programs, AND the field of inexperienced coaches with much less talent than himself, with dump truck loads of OADs and 5 stars backing up each season and thinks, well, that’s not how it is at Kansas. I’m not bitter about it. I have one of the great jobs in my profession. I get a lot of very good players and always tend to have more than the other teams in my conference. I have an unfair advantage in the conference, and if I use my skills wisely, and keep trying to get better as a coach and keep trying to make my teams better, with what talent the system allows me, then I can pretty much hang on her indefinitely and get richer than I ever dreamed, and amass a fortune that will ensure great lives for all of my family for generations to come. And I am doing what I love. And I have great kids. And I am a midwesterner that has been to Paris and learned that there are somethings in Lawrence that I like better than in Paris. I like to visit Paris on the private jet for a long weekend, but I like living in Lawrence. I like walking down Mass Street and popping into this cafe, or that pizza joint and talking ball and small talk with the towns people. They are my kind of people outside of basketball people. They like me and I like them. They aren’t asking me to work miracles. They are asking me to be the best I can be with what I have to work with. They are asking me to keep Kansas being Kansas, not turn it into Kentucky. I like that. And I will work my butt off for them and for my kids and my wife and my staff and me. This is my home, unless something drastic changes.

    The key to Self’s choices about when to ask players to sacrifice their bodies lies in what I have outlined above.

    My hypothesis is: Self looks at at the talent distribution and the seeding system, and the inherent talent advantage he usually holds in conference, and the seeding benefit of winning the conference, and the talent disadvantage that he operates at increasingly in the Madness, and comes to a VERY rational conclusion.

    Let’s win as many games as quickly as we can and sacrifice our bodies for the conference titles, because even if we rest up and get healthy for March Madness, between the biased seeding, the biased refereeing, and the great advantage in talent the other elite programs tend to have over us, we are almost never going to have a significant chance to win six straight games when healthy.

    Let’s make the best of what we can control. We can catch a lot of teams in development in pre conference, and if we are willing to lay it all on the line in the conference, we can beat a lot of teams in conference simply with greater talent, I can get us the rest of the wins we need, and when we occasionally run into a coach with an unusually good team in conference, well, he will be trying to figure out how to position for post season, and we can leave it all on the floor against him and win that conference title to. And, so, who cares if he wins another game or two in the Madness and we go out the second round in our off years, if we go out elite Eight in our good years, and, when once in awhile lady luck smiles on us in our match ups and injuries, we get a ring.

    Do you see what I’m saying here?

    Self is a realist.

    That he is also a risk taker sometimes obscures that.

    Self is an enormous risk taker, when he thinks he has a significant chance of winning something.

    Self saw that he had the talent needed to win a ring in '08 and he played his cards very close to the vest in the conference run. He conserved his team for that Madness for sure, because he had the horses to win it all. And once he got there he took outrageous risks against UNC with that surprise lane jumping defense the first half. And he was always willing to risk defeat by sending teams out flat in that Madness until he got to UNC. He was so sure he had to take risks that he was willing to play his A game against UNC and then hope to win with his B game against Memphis with a coach he knew he could outcoach, one way or another, since he had equal talent,or maybe more, despite all of Cal’s ringers.

    But most of the other years?

    Its been apparent that Self’s most talented teams were less talented than at least two of the other elite programs in any given season.

    Self plays to win.

    In life and in the game.

    The way you play to win is to aim at what you CAN win at.

    Getter done.

    Then worry about how to steal another slice of cake later.

    But you better win what you can.

    And he does that.

    Mostly he has the talent to win the conference and he does it.

    Once he had the talent and experience needed to win a title.

    It seemed he had the talent in Wiggins and Embiid, but then he realized that Wiggins and his posse were not going to let Wiggins play full tilt. So he shifted gears an put the saddle on Embiid, who was the only player with a ton of talent willing to play hard enough to win a conference title. And he lacked a point guard. And then he lost Embiid to injury using him to try to win a title at all costs. Why did he risk him? Because he probably guesses that Wiggins and his posse would never let Wiggins play full tilt even in the Madness. Without Wiggins AND Embiid playing full tilt, there wasn’t enough talent on the rest of the team to have a prayer of winning a ring. When Embiid got injured, Self had to have known how serious it was and that the likelihood of Embiid ever returning 100 percent that season was slim and none. So: a ring was never really in the cards, unless Wiggins was willing to step up. And the Stanford game made clear that that was never going to happen.

    I frankly am impressed with Self’s grasp of the context he is coaching in.

    I am impressed with how level headed and calculatingly rational and insightful he has been during his KU tenure.

    He really hasn’t misread the level of his talent once.

    I think the guy gets it totally.

    I think the fans are still learning.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @jaybate-1.0 what I wouldn’t give to have healthy Embiid, wiggs, Tarik, Mason and Dg on a team.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    It would be a sight to behold!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I was just thinking that I wanted Steph Curry on our team. Not a knock to what we have at all. I just think it would be cool.

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