Self gives explanation of his "fools gold" comment.

  • “It’s fools gold because you don’t play as hard defensively because everything is going in. This was great for us to learn to be exposed what our weaknesses are, because if you make shots, you’re not exposed. The biggest thing is we have to play with more energy and athleticism.”

    This is Self’s explanation of why he thinks 3 point shooting is fools gold.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 most coaches will tell you the same.

  • over/under on how many times we hear “fools gold” from Self this year…ready goo

  • @BeddieKU23 not as many as on here!

  • I have some fools gold for you. Cheick Diallo SHOULD be cleared soon.

  • @Statmachine I’m hoping you mean he is?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I can not confirm or deny but Fran Fraschilla seems to think so too.

  • HEM knows that this was a lie intended to make the best player on the team quit shooting.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I agree, I just don’t generally agree with him continually saying this in the media. You want them to focus on defense & using their athleticism then teach them how.

    But 3 point shooting to his offense is just as important as having the posts to play the hi/low.

  • Ken Pomeroy has recently published analysis that tends to show:

    • 3-point shooting percentage depends more on having good shooters

    • 2-point shooting percentage depends more on having good offense

    • Over several seasons, Bill Self is in the top 10 of coaches both in 2-point offense and in 2-point defense.

    • 3-point shooting percentage varies more from game to game than 2-point shooting

    The last point could be part of the reason for “fool’s gold”.

  • “It’s fools gold because you don’t play as hard defensively because everything is going in."

    So when nothing goes in, you play harder defensively? Did everyone notice that the last two games?

    I thought we weren’t supposed to “play hard”, we were supposed to play “with energy”?

  • @ParisHawk that only applies to Traylor!

  • @ParisHawk

    True, usually Self team’s are very good % wise on offense/defense.

    But last year we weren’t, and basically have the same team back.

    Overall this team was tied for 136th in shooting which is a good 100 spots below where a typical Self team finishes. 2pt % we were a horrendous 245th in the country at 46%, but in the top 60 nationally in 3pt %.

    We are again a team with a strength in the perimeter but we still want to chuck the ball inside to our 245th ranked 2 point scoring team.

    Even in a game to game variation the results say this team was a much better team scoring from 3 then from 2. We didn’t make half our 2 point shots last year, didn’t even come close to half.

    Self just doesn’t want to ever admit that sometimes your roster is built to do things differently then how you want them. If you can’t make them what you want & this year is a prime example where we have practically the same roster from a year ago, you adjust to what your strength is instead forcing what is not.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    It has taken me a while to grasp the “fool’s gold” concept… but I think I’ve got it now.

    If we look back just a few days ago at Devonte Graham’s comments, we will see WHY Self has gone to this extreme about 3-pt shots.

    “In Big 12 play, if we’re not making shots, we’ve got to guard,” Graham said.

    Maybe that was a slip of the tongue… but usually there is something more to a slip of the tongue then just the slip. This should not have been a conditional statement. We should guard REGARDLESS if we make the shots or not. That’s the difference from being a Final Four team or a team eating popcorn watching the Final Four.

  • @drgnslayr I am going to eat popcorn and watch the final four!

  • @Statmachine This is going to be a great year! We watched the Royals win a World Series, will watch our Jayhawks win another National Championship, watched the Chiefs…wait…

  • @Statmachine

    Me, too.

    Hope our team is playing instead of watching and eating!


    Winning can be contagious… but we’ll settle for 2 out of 3!

  • We need to take Coach Self’s comments in context and listen to the entire thread and not juts parts of it. Here is what Gary Bedore wrote…

    Bill Self wasn’t alarmed at Kansas University’s 4-of-19 three-point shooting in Wednesday’s basketball exhibition opener against Pittsburg State.

    “That’s one thing I’m not worried about,” Self, KU’s 13th-year coach, said Sunday of his Jayhawks, who hit 21.1 percent from three and 58.5 percent of their two-point tries in an 89-66 victory over the Gorillas.

    “Even though we shot it miserably from the three-point line, I’m not worried about the shooting at all. I think one of the strengths of our team is going to be our perimeter shooting,” Self added.

    The Jayhawks practiced once Friday and twice Saturday before taking Sunday off. Next exhibition is Tuesday versus Fort Hays State, set for a 7 p.m. tipoff in Allen.

    “The other day we were 27-of-44 in our scrimmage from three (for 61.4 percent),” Self said after Wednesday’s game. “It’s fools gold because you don’t play as hard defensively because everything is going in. This was great for us to learn to be exposed what our weaknesses are, because if you make shots, you’re not exposed. The biggest thing is we have to play with more energy and athleticism.”

    Self said effort has been intense at practice since the Pitt State game.

    “We’ve gotten better since our last game,” Self said. “I thought we played very poorly in a lot of areas in that game (including staying in front of perimeter players). Hopefully we’ll be improved this week.

    “I’m not overly pleased,” he added of workouts. “I think some key players, especially some returning guys, can step it up another level.”

  • @JayHawkFanToo It would appear to be hard to make the case that Self is against shooting three pointers if the team shot 44 of them in one scrimmage. That is more shots than the most fervent devotees thought would ever be seen in a 40 minute game. Although 40 minutes is less than the length of a normal practice, I doubt that the practices have more than 40 minutes of actual scrimmaging.

    He may not be able to totally control the three point shots in a game, but there is no way that three pointers are attempted in practice unless he wants it that way.

  • Personally, I never said Self was against 3-pointers. I’m the one who’s “against”: I’m against the expression “fool’s gold”.

    And: what kind of 3-pointers is Self for?

    • Does he scheme to get open 3-pointers?

    • Are shooters free to shoot 3-pointers early in the shot clock? (Not saying it’s always a good idea, especially if no one is in position for the offensive rebound.)

    There’s more to the argument over “fool’s gold” than simply whether KU shoots 3-pointers.

  • Don’t get too excited about 44 3pt attempts. Not saying it will never happen again BUT Coach Self hasn’t changed his mindset since last year.

  • @Statmachine “Fools gold” is a phrase applicable in may areas of sports. Hitting 3s (or layups against a team committing unforced turnovers) can give one the illusion of playing well even though other areas of the game, such as defense, are not up to snuff. As an example, I bowl a lot. I am very inconsistent in picking up spares but I can get hot with strikes. Four strikes in a row can result in a good score even after missing 3 spares. The strikes are “fools gold” if I think that I am bowling well because of them.

  • @Statmachine said:

    Don’t get too excited about 44 3pt attempts. Not saying it will never happen again BUT Coach Self hasn’t changed his mindset since last year.

    Was this scrimmage the blue and red teams playing each other? If so, then 20+ three pointers from each squad doesn’t seem like that much of an anomaly. I say, let the threes fly. When they’re dropping, the more likely the bench can be utilized which should keep the team from being so worn out come tourney time. When they’re not dropping, hell keep shooting em. After watching them force the ball inside last year with a team that simply was not built for that kind of battle, I want to see some offensive schemes designed to suit the team we actually put on the floor.

  • This post is deleted!

  • @Statmachine said:

    @rocketdog said:

    Was this scrimmage the blue and red teams playing each other? If so, then 20+ three pointers from each squad doesn’t seem like that much of an anomaly.


    Well, okay. After I read the number 20 plus, out loud to myself, it is more than we’re used to I suppose. But I meant what I said about letting em fly. I’d like to see a little less hook and a little more patience and let the kids redeem themselves - even if it means a loss or two early in the season.

  • I think Coach is still having nightmares from 2011 when we shot a ton of 3’s and made barely any against VCU.

  • @rocketdog I deleted that post because when I posted it I was being silly. After I looked at it I thought it looked rather ugly. Anyhow I took it down…

  • @Statmachine No problem, it made me think about what I wrote. By the way, I do appreciate reading your posts and the knowledge and insight you bring to the board. Keep up the good work.

  • @Statmachine after you delete a post if u touch on the post hit purge and it goes away.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    "“The other day we were 27-of-44 in our scrimmage from three (for 61.4 percent),” Self said after Wednesday’s game. "

    That happened because no one was guarding anyone. Self said he can’t get his guys to slide on defense. They just don’t play motivated on defense.

  • Banned

    HCBS’s view on the three don’t shoot the three until the game is almost over then shoot away. Sadly the opposing team knows they’re shooting the three.

    Go Figure?

  • Remember the word — LINKAGE. That’s what this is about.

    Here is the entire quote from Self’s interview. I recorded it, played it back, and wrote it down:

    Bob Davis asked a question about our three point shooting vs. PSU.

    Self: "The other day when we scrimmaged we were 27 for 44 from three."

    Bob: "Wow."

    Self: "No, I mean that’s like, wow, wow. 27 for 44 our team was from three, in a 40 minute game. But it’s fool’s gold. Because you make shots, ya know, and you don’t guard as hard, or you get on the side and force them to the basket and some guy comes off and blocks a shot, and it’s a good play in practice but the reality is its not how it works in a game. And so, i think if our identity is ‘let’s make shots’, we’re in for not as good of a season as we had hoped. We gotta be able to lock people up. And that’s always been our m.o. here. Sometimes we’ve been great, sometimes we’ve been average, but this team isn’t big enough or physically dominant enough to not really have that defensive mindset, 'cause I think what this team thinks is that we can do is outscore people and that’s a formula for disaster."

    That is what Self said. Please read it again and digest his statement.

    Ok, how do we analyze this?

    1. Defense First: How do you argue with this? Self clearly wants his teams to play defense first. Defense is reliable. Defense is much more easily repeated. It’s much more controllable from a coach’s standpoint. Some coaches aren’t defense first. But Self is. That is Bill Self. That works.

    2. Reliance on Shots: Self clearly believes that the reliance on shot making is a “formula for disaster.” Three point shooting is the ultimate in shot making. Again, this is more volatile. @wissoxfan83 fan referenced nightmares of 2011. Understood. If you are going to have a winning team, you better not just rely on shots. Again, that works. In football, how many teams that rely on offense win the Super Bowl. Not many. Anyway, there is really no argument with this theory (at least from my end).

    3. Linkage: That word – linkage. This is where I believe I disagree. My post from Saturday interpreted this quote a bit. What Self is doing – incorrectly in my opinion – is linking the idea of making shots with playing poor defense. Basically, conceding that he can’t get his teams to treat one end of the court differently, and without regard, to the other end of the court. Self views shot making with disdain because it will ultimately impact your defense. It must impact defense. That’s linkage. Bill Self links the making of shots with ultimate failure. Poor play, lazy play, according to Self, is a result of making shots. Making shots lulls you into a false sense of security. That leads to bad things.

    4. Paradox?: Isn’t this a paradox? We have to score to win, right? Making shots cannot be bad. My first thought was to compare this to football – does a football coach tell his team not to score because it will make his defense lazy? Of course not. It’s how you win the game. Outscore your opponent. A universal thought is that Bill Self is not a friend of the three pointer. But Bill Self is not telling his team not to score, is he? No. But it might be the way they score that is important. This is why the three pointer is the tip of the spear with Self. It is the way they score that might create a character that Self finds troubling. This is where it becomes a bit more linear, if I’m interpreting it correctly.

    5. Linkage to Three Point Shooting: Three point shooting is soft, it’s white collar, it’s pretty. Bill Self does not want a team that is soft, white collar, or pretty. It appears to me that Bill Self offers a disdain for a reliance on outside shooting because it creates a team character that he dislikes. He may like the points. But when a team floats down and drops in a three. Allows an easy bucket, then turns it over. Only to drill two three pointers in a row following, what does that create? It creates a team that – here we go – relies on the three pointer to bail its ass out of trouble. This is what Bill Self is talking about, perhaps the exact scenario. Do that too many times, and you get lazy. Therefore, the three pointer is Fool’s Gold according to Self. It masks deficiencies. It covers laziness and carelessness on the court. Bill Self does not believe it (shooting) can be there consistently.

    6. Scoring Inside: Of course, scoring inside squares with this philosophy. It was the battle zone much of last season – what was more reliable, our inside game or our outside game. We know where Self sits. The focus on inside fits directly with Self’s tough, blue collar preference. And it explains why Self was irate after blowing out Utah in the first half. That half was pretty, but Self viewed it as a mirage.

    7. Big, Bad Team vs. Not So Much: In Self’s quote, you’ll see he references the nature of his team. If he has a big, bad team, one that is big and “physically dominant”, could the concept of “fool’s gold” disappear? Could it disappear because that team, theoretically, has no issues being defense first? Maybe.

    That’s “Fool’s Gold” in a nutshell, at least as I see it.

    Now, perhaps we can debate the propriety of this philosophy … but that is for another day.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Great post! Always enjoy reading your deep perspective on topics.

    I have to say I have made a complete 180 on this and it has taken all of this time. Devonte got me over the hump with his conditional comment. It showed me the mindset of these kids and just what a heck of a job Self has trying to impact these kids to think differently.

    I think it goes to the point where he doesn’t want to win “pretty.” Winning “pretty” will just slam us down to the ground later when things go “ugly.” And when you count on the trey, eventually things get ugly.

    All of this “fool’s gold” business is about reconditioning the minds of his players. He is trying to break the LINKAGE between what happens on offense with how much effort they put into defense. I can almost see Self saying “fool’s gold” over easy baskets in the paint (if we ever get those again) because the same potential dilemma is there…

    The issue is there, whether it be a slam dunk in the paint or a made trey from outside… players want an excuse to slack off on defense! It just isn’t glamorous enough to hold their attention for long. They have been conditioned their entire lives to focus on the trey ball or the dunks. We just don’t get the kids that have been conditioned to put the same focus on defense. Travis Releford (oh yes… and Withey!) was the last guy we had that really emphasized defense. He was not the most incredible athlete we have ever had, but he was one of the best at locking down the opposition and took personal pride in doing so. I recall those days… Travis getting a big stop and clapping his hands with a big grin on his face as he ran down court on offense. From watching all the Jayhawk basketball after his days you would have thought he was running back on offense.

    These kids just don’t get it.

    Defense takes a lot more energy than offense… that is… GOOD defense! You have to be anticipating everything possible from your opponents. On offense, you just run through your playbook options and crash the boards. However… running GOOD offense can be every bit the strain if you are being defended well. It is hard to do both well, especially at the same time. So if we hit a few shots (especially treys), the guys want to shift their focus to the offense. Self wants the priority to be defense. He loves BAD BALL because the game becomes a grind, and he wants to see his troops grind it out!

    Self knows… on any given night a team can get red hot (or ice cold). He doesn’t want his victories to come from just being red hot. He knows the difference between good and GREAT is when you can win the games where you are ICE COLD! He knows March Madness always brings a cold game here and there and he likes his chances of advancing further by playing consistent good defense and having his guys with a mindset of putting defense first.

    I believe this is where we all become confused because we only see a tiny part of inner workings of our team.

  • @drgnslayr wiggs was one of our best defenders!

  • Self’s words regarding “this team thinks they dont have to play D since they want to outscore everybody”.

    Isnt that a good description of UNC-style Royball? I would absolutely caution KU people to recall that KU/Self have bounced UNC 3 times out of the Tourney since 2008. And its different KU rosters each time, so you can truly point to the “system”. 08 was an absolute beatdown.

    Simply put: our players need to religiously practice what Self requires. Until they get truly competent, we wont get far in the Dance.

  • I certainly admire and want to accept the explanations here about “fool’s gold” and the importance of good, consistent defense.

    So why hasn’t it worked in March the last few years?

    If it’s not the system it’s the players. OK; but who recruited the players?

    Self said years ago he likes to recruit guys who can score already because you can teach defense. Has that been verified the last few years?

    Is there a problem? If so, what is it? Without a problem, there is no solution.

    If you don’t like fool’s gold, why recruit fools?

  • @ralster Remember, though, Roy – playing an offense first philosophy – has won twice the number of NCAA titles that Self has since Roy left for UNC.

    The theme that I have tried to get across here, over the seasons, is that games can be won many different ways. Bill Self does it one way. He doesn’t have the only path, and we shouldn’t accept his path as correct and proper in all circumstances. Self doesn’t have a monopoly on good basketball and with one title since 2004, it certainly isn’t the Holy Grail.

    Folks say – trust Self. He knows more than the rest of us. Sure, but why not trust coach K, or coach Roy, or coach Izzo? They do things differently than coach Self and they win.

    But here is a significant flaw in the “trust coach Self” logic – folks argue that Self “knows more about his teams, he has more information, and we just trust his judgment” – or something like that. However, Self does the same thing every year regardless of his players, or the diverse roster talent.

    That’s where the logic fails. When you’re a system coach, it is system. That does not require a coach to adapt to his talent and make multiple assessments and adjustments, to the same degree that a coach would if he were significantly flexible. The judgment we are trusting is Self’s reliance on his system – which, of course, is not how many, many successful coaches do it.

    It’s called flexibility.

    The 2014-15 Jayhawks would have performed better if coached by Roy Williams. Self refused to adjust to the talent set of his team – the “best shooting team” he had coached at Kansas, as he said – and we flop in the tourney. No surprise there. With another roster, Self would be more successful than Roy.

    I’m interested to see if Self can become more flexible this season, and change his stripes a bit. And if not, I’m interested to see if Self’s system is the right fit for this roster.

  • @HighEliteMajor HEM, you have presented some great stuff on this thread, esp. the LINKAGE and FLEXIBILITY diagnosis. Two items which I contest: football comparison and Roy Williams doing a better job with last year’s team. Football vs. Basketball offense/defense=apples/oranges. Two different units of players in football; basically, same players on the court in hoops. You really think Roy could have better held off Hoiberg, Kruger and Huggy last season, esp. considering key injuries to Ellis and Greene, with Selden playing all year on 85% legs?

  • @REHawk and no Cliff.

  • Did coach Williams adjust his system in 08, 12, and 13? Would unc have beat KU w/coach self? Self at KU vs Roy at unc, 3-0. Is that right?

  • Adjustments vs recruiting.

    Is it Selfs inability to adjust his offense to the players/athletes on his roster.


    Is it Selfs recruiting the top players every year even though they don’t fit his system?

    If he wasn’t pressured by the $ of shoe cos and boosters and the out rage of fans would he recruit more players that fit his system?

    If he had a roster full of guys that fit his system would his system be what he truly wants it to be? Would he have the wins he’s had with a solid go of guys that fit his system?

    That way he wouldn’t have to adjust his system to the players needs, he would have all the pieces in place for his system to run smoothly.

    I think trying to get top recruits to sign can be a hinderence to any coach and their system. Some will adopt a new system to fit a player here and there. Some don’t. Some don’t worry about getting top 10 guys because they don’t fit their system.

  • @JRyman recruits know selfs system when they make a decision.

  • @REHawk Thanks. I guess I’m not losing sleep over whether we won or lost the Big 12 title. I worry more about our embarrassing performance against WSU and the inexplicable loss to Stanford – where we were outcoached. I think Roy would have been better suited for last year’s team. I’m going to avoid rehashing the entire debate, though, about offensive scheme, etc. from last season. But that gets us to the answer.

    @Crimsonorblue22 So by your logic Calipari is a vastly superior coach than Self because UK beat us in 2011-12 twice, and kicked our tails last season? I guess that’s what you’re saying. Perhaps consider this beyond one layer … I mean, if you want to.

  • Just asking!

  • @HighEliteMajor You know, when I offered my rebuttal, at least after posting it, I thought to myself, “Aha! HEM’s not thinking about Big 12 titles; he’s talking about the Tournament.” I suppose that each of us is sealed into our own bubbles regarding annual Jayhawk success. Though I will openly confess that I was disgusted with the two Tourney losses you mentioned, esp. the Stanford loss. WSU was easier for me to handle, what with a limited Perry and Greene, no Cliff. And I am really high on Baker and VanFleet. As a side note, I coached under a very successful high school a.d. who promoted the winning of league titles, and who preached that anything beyond, in post season, was mere gravy. I have never been able to step much beyond such guidelines. I do wish that Bill Self’s post season record were a bit more consistently rewarding; but I absolutely cherish those 11 conference championships. After this Division 1 leading consecutive 12th one, perhaps I can manage to focus more on NCAA Tournament play.

  • @REHawk

    Nice post…

    I would suppose we are spoiled having the conference dominance and then expecting the holy grail in March as well, not just the Big 12 Championship but the whole schbang as well. I think what previous coaches built and what Self has done to elevate the program even more has set the goal to where its winning everything or nothing.

    I think the focus has changed now that winning the league every year has become almost as common as waking up in the morning. The drive for more, championships which fuel recruiting and all the trickle down effects from being on top of the mountain. Our recent losses really hurt, they are the lasting impression from those seasons. We have just as many wins in the NCAA Tournament as any team in the last 10 years or so but its how you win or eventually lose is what sticks out.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    “The theme that I have tried to get across here, over the seasons, is that games can be won many different ways. Bill Self does it one way. He doesn’t have the only path, and we shouldn’t accept his path as correct and proper in all circumstances. Self doesn’t have a monopoly on good basketball and with one title since 2004, it certainly isn’t the Holy Grail.”

    Very true. And Roy won it his way a few times by trying to outscore his opponents. But ol’ Roy does the same thing Self does, he just puts more emphasis on offense and pace. But he still brings up to his players that after they score a trey or an easy run out that they have to come back on the other end and defend. He would like to see his guys go out and put up 90 ppg… but he doesn’t want the opponent scoring anywhere near that amount.

    Every coach has their style and philosophy. I think we need to praise Coach Self for his focus on defense. It is his way of playing ball, and we knew that when we hired him. Not sure we can get him to change much off of what brought him the level of success he has.

    I just think he needs to find new ways of teaching that both ends of the court represent a different possession and they win games by winning more of the individual possessions. Teach them about how to embrace their offense… but then go back and defend because if they give it up on the other end it just marginalized what they did on offense. Something like that. I’m pretty sure he has thrown the kitchen sink at these guys. When even using PT as the motivation and it doesn’t work (BG) then what will work?

    BTW: I heard Self speak and he was talking about injuries. He thought BG was 90% but it might take him a year or more to be 100%. As we all know… this is a game of inches… so suddenly I’m not expecting much out of BG this year. He didn’t really know what was up with Wayne. He knows he is still recouping from his ankle blow out. He said he hasn’t even been able to recognize Wayne’s game for the past month.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Calipari beat Self with a much more talented team; the Uni-brow alone would have made any decent team a top 5 team and last season, not only UK had more talent but also had played a number of games against top competition before meeting a green KU team…lets see how it turns out this season when Calipari still has more talent but the KU team is not nearly as green as last season’s team. BTW, Self beat Williams with an equally or lesser talented team than UNC.

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