Could anyone on this year's team have started for the 2008 ring team?

  • The question in the title seems to be the crucial question for those wondering if this team could win a ring.

    I do not think a single player on this team could move cracked the first seven rotations spots on the 08 team. .

    Since most seasons the national champion is among the most talented teams, it would seem necessary for there to be a sharp talent deficit in Division I for this team to have a strong probability of winning the national championship, even if it were to stay healthy and even if it were to stay healthy and get. hot.

    This team would have to be the very rare team of over achieving giant killers without a single superstar that wins a ring.

  • @jaybate-1.0 As everyone on here knows, I have used 2008 as Self’s best “product” in terms of recruiting, playstyle, and experience. It all worked, although Beasley surprised them, as did OSU in SeanSuttonSwanSong #1…

    However, the rules changes started me thinking last year…and this year the refs are determined to call the no-hand-on-D rules…which means if you FLIP your question: Would RussRob get 3 fouls every 1st half? How would that 2008 team do in 2015? RussRob was a very physical defender. He personified what Self wanted in those days, when he had recently come to KU from the Big10 after having been schooled by Izzo’s mean-greenies.

    With the new rules, can we still use 2008 as a litmus test? (Yes, regarding half-court execution–> no team except the 2011 MorrisHawks could execute in the halfcourt as well).

    The biggest lesson from 2008: Total team play on offense and on defense. Man, we’ve been chasing that ideal ever since… (I can talk about 08Champs all day, I’ll stop now.)

  • You’d almost have to say would anyone on this year’s team who played last year be a vital cog in 2008 because we really don’t know how Vick, and Bragg (or DIallo?PLEASE NCAA) are going to work out in the long run. I would have to say with the skillset of Perry that he’d crack the starting lineup or be 1st or 2nd off the bench.

  • @ralster

    Calling the game tighter always favors athleticism and skill.

    Letting’em play always favors muscle and intimidation.

    That 2008 team was sharply more athletic and skilled, underneath all the muscle it added after 4 years of weight training, than this team is.

    RR and Mario had such superior athleticism that their margin of advantage in defense over all the muscle ballers then and now would be even greater if those muscle ballers had to lean up for no touch.

    RR and Mario were superior defenders, because of athleticism, long legs, short torsos, long arms, quick hands, .lightening quickness, great anticipation and balls so big Self wanted them no where near his daughter. And we’re not even mentioning Sherron, when he was still explosive!

    I like this year’s perimeter and see it as a strength, but not one of them could have beat out those three and Rush under any rules. Those guys were too good for this year’s guys.

    And who would Perry beat out in the front court? And Perry would be the only one remotely far enough along in development this season to even mention as not being quite good enough. The rest of the guys couldn’t even come close. Bragg 2 to 3 years from now might be as good as Shady was, but not now.

    And while there won’t likely be a team as mature and talented as that 08 team anywhere in D1 this season, stacking assures there will be one or two Nike schools in 4 of the five power conferences that will have as much, or more talent as the 08 KU team had, just not as developed. And so this year’s team is going to be trying to matchup with the same level of talent as that 08 team had down the stretch of the tourney. Experience can offset some talent, but there are limits to that sort of thing.

  • @wissoxfan83

    I don’t see Perry scoring on Shady, DBlock, or Kaun. They would all punk him if he tried those spin moves. Beat one out? Not!

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I posit Frank Mason could start over Russ Rob.

  • @VailHawk

    Ooh, you went for my Achilles there. I view Frank as a potential Nate Archibald /Steve Nash type that could get way better in the pros.

    But so far?

    Mano a mano?

    In college?

    Under Self?

    Self would opt for Russell’s wreaking havok defense every time.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Maybe. But what if you compare Russ Rob at beginning of his senior year against Mason at the beginning of his senior year which is still a YEAR AWAY?!?!

    I know this is hypothetical and your question asked who would start over the 08 team but Mason has had a better start to his career thru two years…

  • @VailHawk

    Frank is better with the afterburner and the Trey. But for Self treys are iron pyrite and defense is gold bullion.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Apology accepted. We’ll go w/ Mason!

  • @VailHawk


  • @jaybate-1.0

    Are you Ramond Reddington?

  • Devonte is a better comparison to RussRob and Mario, because he truly seems a combo of each of them, although he’s about 15lbs lighter than either one, so not quite as stout. I’d say better shot than RussRob, and actually on par with Mario Chalmers in the shooting category.

    Frank Mason is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to Sherron Collins, just a total offensive threat with the skills and the mindset needed. Frank Mason is the best thing to happen to KU basketball’s guard legacy since Tyshawn graduated-- Frank is the rightful heir to the attack-dog throne.

    The fact we have Mason + Devonte makes me downright giddy at this season’s possibilities! And I’ll take the DWade impersonation that Selden does, anytime he chooses to display that.

    Svi will be a lotto pick, you read it here first.

  • @VailHawk

    No, Harry, I am Voldemorte!

  • @ralster

    Glad to hear some optimism on Svi.

    I’ve been losing my religion on him lately.

    Devonte and Frank are a dandy pair, but not up to Rr and Mario standards yet IMHO YET.

  • @ralster

    During in game chats last season I started calling Devonte the next Isiah Thomas. The basketball player not the GM!!!

  • Excellent point by @jaybate-1.0 : the 2008 team would be favored over the current team head to head, and every matchup would favor 2008. I do think the Mason/Graham duo has some offensive magic that RussRob/Chalmers didn’t quite have, but the latter wreaked havoc and created easy buckets on defense.

    To be fair, we should also compare with the 2012 team that made it to the title game.

    • No current bigs could measure up to Withey / TRob.

    • WUG Selden + Mason + Graham may be as good as Travis / EJ / Tyshawn. A lot depends on Selden.

    Of course this year’s bench is incomparably better than 2012.

    If things go our way, this team could be comparable to 2012, except for toughness - but do we expect this team to reach its ceiling and even surpass it as the 2012 team did?

    I think these comparisons provide a little perspective.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Man O Man, talk about a merciless downer! This thread deflated at least 1/3 of my 2015-16 Jayhawk Bubble. How the hell are you so capable so often of touching coup with such harsh realities???

  • @ralster said:

    The biggest lesson from 2008: Total team play on offense and on defense. Man, we’ve been chasing that ideal ever since… (I can talk about 08Champs all day, I’ll stop now.)

    The question is: If Davidson had hit that 3 at the buzzer or Derek Rose had hit that free-throw; would we still hold the 08 team in such high esteem?

  • @FarSideHawk

    Great great point! I would put the 1997 team up against anyone…but well they lost their last game unfortunately… 34-2


  • @VailHawk Yep, how the season ends overwhelmingly influences our memories. That '08 team went through a bad patch in the middle too, but they were a great team and had a few bounces go their way to cement their greatness.

    We’ve had other teams just as good, that didn’t get some lucky bounces (1997, 2002, 2003, and 2011 teams come to mind). If any of those teams had won the championship and the 08 hadn’t, we would most likely be referring to a different benchmark.

  • @FarSideHawk

    “The question is: If Davidson had hit that 3 at the buzzer or Derek Rose had hit that free-throw; would we still hold the 08 team in such high esteem?”

    Nope… they would have been thrown on the pile of teams we reference as “underachievers.” That is just the way sports work, and second place might as well be last place (in fans’ minds).

    The 2012 team completely overachieved. It was hard to find someone complaining about their performance after they finished runner-up to a stacked Kentucky that sent what… 6 guys to the league that year?!

    From our current team I only see Perry as a guy that could have played with the 2008 squad. He may not be as dominant as Shady in the physical sense, but he actually has more scoring tools then Shady, including his 3-ball. Perry could be a great weapon on that team. He would have been left open from the trey line and have wide open shots whenever he wanted.

    It is too soon to tell if Frank and Devonte belong on this team. Let’s see how they do as seniors. Frank is still adjusting to the PG position and Devonte just needs more seasoning.

  • @VailHawk

    Wow, was that team stacked!

    Just a few points short of immortality. That is the great irony/tragedy of sports.

  • @drgnslayr And, of course, a sophomore Carlton Bragg most probably could have found playing time on that '08 squad. I hope it works out for that kid to stay for a second year. If we should reach the Championship game with Carlton playing vital minutes, we might not see him again after April.

  • The original premise was would anybody on the current team play over the top 7 of the 2007-08 team. So we’re talking would anybody this year play over:

    Sr. Russell Robinson

    Jr. Mario Chalmers

    Jr. Brandon Rush

    So. Sherron Collins

    So. Darrell Arthur

    Sr. Darnell Jackson

    Sr. Sasha Kaun

    One flaw with this premise is comparing this team with an incomplete body of work this season against a team that won a national title and we know what they accomplished during that season so any comparison at this point is purely speculative until we start to see what this team is actually capable of.

    That said, based on the small sample size Korea provided, I would say there are 4, possibly 5 (Diallo is the 5th) players that there could be compelling arguments for. I think there could be compelling cases for Jr. Mason over So. Collins, Jr. Selden over Jr. Rush, Sr. Ellis over So. Arthur, Fr. Bragg and Diallo over both Sr. Jackson and Kaun.

    If we go with last year’s team where there is a body of work for these players, none of them play over any of the top 7 from the title team. Reading through these comments, it looks like quite a few of you are basing your opinions off of last seasons version of these players which isn’t the premise.

    Of those 5 guys I listed, I’m not willing to make any kind of definitive statement yet other than I believe I would personally take Sr. Ellis over So. Arthur. The reason being that the 2007-08 team had an elite perimeter defense and you could sacrifice some defense at the 4 for offense and Ellis is a better offensive player than Arthur was.

    With the other 4 players, I want to see what they accomplish this year and revisit this exercise in April after I get to see KU cut the nets down at NRG Stadium.

  • One thing to remember on this … the 2008 team was epically good. What I mean is that KU in 2008 is considered one of the all-time great teams.

    The key is a relative comparison. How does Kansas shape up against the competition in men’s CBB this season?

    This is a good discussion as it does give perspective here, as noted above.

    I would say this, too – chemistry is a big deal. That develops over a season. Lots goes into that, including how well the team meshes with the coach, and how the coach meshes with the team.

    The onus is on the team to mesh with the coach here. That’s part of the reason why the 2008 team was so great, because the team played like coach Self wanted. Defense first, etc.

    We’ll see if this team, unlike last season’s team, can be a Bill Self type team.

  • @REHawk

    I just go where logic leads.

    I am its instrument sometimes and not the other way around. 😇

  • @FarSideHawk It is tantalizing to consider. I exactly thought about Kaun saving our bacon against Davidson, as well as that Davidson missed-3.

    I would say “yes” because of their execution and overall record, one of the best records ever, except that includes all 6 Tourney games with the W over Memphis.

    You can go a step further, would Self still be here if he had no Natl championship?

    I also wonder if the real MorrisHawks showed up vs VCU, they were very capable of beating just about anybody in that year’s BigDance…

    And if 2012 TRob/Tyshawn Hawks had Markieff+Selby? Or if they simply weren’t so cold-shooting the first half, buried themselves, and missed 3 dunks.

    And Collison and Langford don’t want to be reminded of FTs vs. Syracuse in 2003.

    We are almost spoiled to have had so many chances and yet, I also feel we could easily have another 2 or 3 NC’s since 1997. Fate!

  • @ralster 2012, Ben Mac.

  • @ralster Since 1997, KU could have 6 more national titles. 2002, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 were teams either talented enough or in position to win national titles those seasons.

  • @texashawk I don’t know about six, but definitely three we left on the table are 1997, 2003 and 2011.

    The other years we had a chance like we doost year, but those three I will always regret.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    I used to look at it this way; that there were national titles KU blew.

    But over time watching and studying more and more NCAA champions, the more it became clear to me that greatly talented teams that seem like they had a good shot at the ring, but that didn’t win the ring lacked some aspect of what champions require.

    If talent alone, relative to those remaining in the tournament at any given time, were the decisive element of winning titles, the most talented teams would never lose.

    And if hot shooting determined everything, the teams with the best shooters would tend to win most of the time. But they don’t.

    The teams that win most of the time are usually “among” the most talented teams of a season, but not necessarily the “most” talented.

    The teams that win most of the time are among the most talented teams that draw the fewest mismatches and are most effective at finding ways to compensate for the mismatches that inevitably arise.

    The teams that win most of the time do the above, while playing stingy defense, rebounding well, and find ways to score on opponents that opponents finally cannot find ways to stop.

    But among all the small number of teams each season that can and do do all of the above, the teams that usually win the title evidence competitive greatness in excess of any other team that season in that six game stretch.

    Competitive greatness was the capstone of Wooden’s pyramid of success for a reason.

    Wooden knew that competitive greatness was the final decider among teams that had everything else. And he knew that when you got deep in the NCAA tournament, or perhaps back in his day when you simply got in the tournament, you were facing teams that had most of the things I described above that teams that usually win the tournament have. So: when it comes down to single elimination every game for several games in a row, competitive greatness is the great advantage that overcomes the off shooting nights, the occassional mismatches, the occassional bad calls, the occasional sicknesses and injuries, NOT DEFENSE alone.

    If there were any single thing I would change about Bill Self it would be his emphasis on defense being the foundation of winning.

    Defense is the foundation of winning.

    But foundations are exactly that: foundations and nothing more.

    All the stories above the foundation are just as necessary to building a skyscraper. All the layers of blocks in Wooden’s pyramid are just as important as the foundation.

    The foundation may even be said to lay the ground work for correct building of all that goes above. Fine.

    But in the Final Game of the season among two comparably talented teams,with comparable foundations, it is NOT the foundation that decides the winner.

    Competitive greatness decides the winner of each game of the tournament and as the teams converge in foundations and talent and skill, competitive greatness becomes more and more decisive.

    The foundation enables one to build the tallest skyscraper, or the tallest pyramid.

    But there is no substitute for the floors in between the foundation and the top and, when all is said and done, when two great teams meet foundation on defense, the team with more competitive greatness prevails.

    And when a great defensive team and middling competitive greatness meets a team with another kind of properly laid foundation and more competitive greatness, guess who wins?

    There are many ways to build a good foundation for a building.

    But there is no substitute for competitive greatness.

    With my philosophy as I have elucidated it here, its clear that all of those exceptionally talented KU teams with their sound foundations laid by their fine coaches, ultimately lacked sufficient competitive greatness to rise to meet challenges that champions must me.

    Therefore, those teams you mention did not blow winning championships.

    They lacked the crucial ingredient required to be champions.

    There is a huge difference.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 said:

    One flaw with this premise is comparing this team with an incomplete body of work this season against a team that won a national title and we know what they accomplished during that season so any comparison at this point is purely speculative until we start to see what this team is actually capable of.

    Its really not a flaw at all, of course.

    For example, you don’t seriously think Carlton Bragg is probably going to improve so much this freshman season that he is going to be better than Shady, after two seasons, DBlock after four, Kaun after four, do you?

    Carlton Bragg might improve enough the season, since he will get quite a few minutes because of how weak our other bigs are, that he will improve more than Aldrich did his freshman season on the ring team, but Cole wasn’t part of the top seven I was referring to, of course.

    I can go down the list if you like.

    Frank better after three than Russell after four?

    Devonte better after two than Mario after four?

    Selden better after three than Brandon Rush after four?

    6-6 to 6-7 Perry better in the paint after four than 6-9 NBA Shady after two, who was drafted after two?

    Landen Lucas better after 3 than DBlock after 4?

    Bragg after one than Kaun after four? Maybe if Bragg has one of the greatest freshman seasons in KU history, but even then could he seriously have moved Kaun out of the rotation, when Self is starting him behind Lucas, and Jamari Traylor and Hunter Mickelson? Who could Bragg bump, really, in a probabilistic universe? Not Shady. Could his touch and skinny body have actually displaced DBlock, who brought muscular athleticism sufficient to be drafted? That leaves Kaun. Kaun had two bad knees his last season. He could barely jump. He got few rebounds. But he was the enforcer. He was the guy who could muscle with any post man no matter how big and strong. Kaun was so good on his two bad knees that he was drafted by the NBA. Will skinny freshman Carlton actually be able to guard the post and bang in the paint better than senior Kaun could have? Will skinny freshman Bragg with the good touch play so well this season that he will be drafted after one season? Is probability seriously on your side?

    Svi who could not even get on the floor most of the seasons is better after two than Sherron who was the number one sub his freshman season after one?


    I think you have a very, very, VERY tough sell here. And asserting flaws does not obscure how tough of a sell you have.

    Oh, and, by the way, there just isn’t a flaw.

    The premise is based on probabilistic expectations of what this years players will probably do, what they can reasonably be expected to do,

    If you want to argue that–improbably speaking–some of this year’s bigs, say, like Jamari Traylor, could super nova into playing like lottery picks, well, then you would be very persuasive. Out at the extreme tail of Jamari’s probability distribution, Traylor MIGHT play so much better that he would beat out DBlock, or Kaun, or Shady, all of whom were drafted by the NBA. But that is an argument exploring improbability.

    Let’s say Perry is drafted as high as Shady, which is very optimistic. Do you think it is probable that two of Landen, Jamari, and Bragg will also be drafted by the NBA after this season? In a metaphysical universe where improbability holds, maybe.

    But in a probabilistic look forward in our real universe? Probably not.

    My argument is an exploration of probability.

    It is not fallacious to explore probabilistic eventualities; i.e., future scenarios, and to compare them with actualities, so long as one acknowledges reasonable variance in foreseeable outcome.

    I for one am assuming reasonable variances of outcome…not improbable variances of outcome.

    Ah sweet methodology.

  • @FarSideHawk KU was in the Final Four in 2002 and 2012 and anytime you get to the Final Four, you have a legitimate shot to win it and KU was the #1 overall seed in 2010.

    @jaybate-1.0 I said, “could have”, not “should have”. Those two words don’t mean the same thing and your entire post is based on “should have”. Even teams that win the titles are flawed. KU lost 3 games in 2008 so obviously there were flaws since they didn’t go undefeated.

    As for the player comparisons, why are you attempting to invalidate my opinion by throwing out a bunch of comparisons I didn’t make in the first place? Where did I even mention Graham or Lucas? I didn’t because neither would be in that rotation. I was also unaware that Brandon Rush ever played a senior season at KU.

    Like I said in my post, the only one I will say right now that I will say definitively is Sr. Ellis over So. Arthur. I don’t care that Arthur went pro after his sophomore year. His NBA career is a pretty good case that he should’ve come back to KU for at least one more season. Arthur wasn’t nearly as polished on offense as a sophomore Perry Ellis is today. Arthur was the better defender, but my opinion is that as good as KU was defensively on the perimeter that year, Perry’s offense would have more value than Arthur’s defense.

    Mason and Selden are maybe’s today. My opinion on those two is that if they play like they did in Korea all season long, then I would take Jr. Selden over Jr. Rush and Jr. Mason over So. Collins. Notice I didn’t say Mason over Robinson or Chalmers, only over So. Collins.

    As for Bragg, we all know Self loves playing seniors over freshmen almost regardless of the freshman being the better player. If we’re going to talk about pure talent, Cole Aldrich should’ve been ahead of Jackson and Kaun because he was a better player than both of them even as a freshman, but Self’s love of seniors compells him to play them over more talented players. Based on what we’ve seen out of Bragg so far, he’s easily the second best post player KU currently has behind Ellis, yet Self loves Traylor for some reason sometimes to the detriment of the team. Right now, Bragg should be starting next to Ellis with Mickleson, Traylor, Lucas being the order the bigs come off the bench.

  • @Texashawk yes you always have a shot in final four or the any stage of the tourney, but just because you are in the final four doesn’t mean it was yours for the taking.

    2002 - MD team was a veteran and loaded team returning to the final four after blowing it a year earlier. That loss hurt but loss to that team wasn’t that shocking. 2003 we were the ones returning to FF with a senior team and for so close to getting it. That’s the one I regret.

    2012 - we had no business getting to the final four in the first place. The Kentucky team was loaded. Our team over achieved. Sure it would have been awesome if we would have won, but I don’t regret losing that one as much because we lost to a much superior team. 2011 we were the best team going in and we were BY FAR the best team remaining in the tournament at that stage and lost to a 11 seed. That one hurts more. That championship was ours and we blew it.

    2010 - we were the top seed going in but we weren’t leagues ahead of others like 1997. And we lost so early in the tournament that it’s hard to say we lost the championship there. Sure we had as good a chance to win as any but that one to me was disappointing because we went home so early not because we let a golden chance slip by.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    All teams, those that win rings and those that do not, have flaws, so the mere presence of undefined flaws is logically immaterial to this discussion of my argument, of course.

    What is important all the time, but increasingly decisive as the match up advantages over opponents lessen over time in the tournament is the edge in competitive greatness. Who is at their best, or nearest their best, when their best is needed?

    But because your heart is in the right place, and we need to unite and direct our grapes of wrath on Ratso Izzo and his tire iron wielding Michigan State Spartans, I am going to make an exception in my discourse here.

    Until after the MSU game, you get to assume this metaphysical, improbablistic universe all you want, without me noting its departures from a real, probabilistic one.

    Until time runs out against MSU, by god, there isn’t a guy on that 2008 ring team that could have held Jamari Traylor’s jock strap, much less beat him out of the starting rotation.

    Così è (se vi pare) (So It Is (If You Think So))–Luigi Pirandello

    Rock Chalk!

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