WORK THE PROBLEM PEOPLE, DON'T CREATE ANOTHER ONE (for AsadZ)



  • (Author here, RIP DFW, @AsadZ made a reasonable post to me about my POV on Self and recruiting being wanting and increasingly old. It was a reasonable and fair post. I have tried to respond to it reasonably and fairly below. I figured I should make it its own thread partly because of the length of my response, partly because I thought @AsadZ’s post took discourse on Self and recruiting and coaching to the nub of things, and partly to give @VailHawk something to count before the pig roast on Maui coming up! :-))

    @AsadZ

    Great to hear from you.

    My POV on Self, recruiting, and how he coaches, may be getting old, but it remains valid IMHO.

    We don’t need a new coach, unless a new coach can get us draft choices ready to play at the 1, 3 and 5 positions each season, as Cal and Coach K can get at UK and Duke.

    Self is such a great coach IMHO that he is finding ways to compete with starkly lesser talent than UK and Duke,

    I mean can anyone seriously dispute that we lack near as much talent on the team the last two seasons, as we have had in most of his tenure.

    Can anyone seriously dispute that since the Morri teams, we have been getting by less and less, except for one season with Wigs and Embiid, and that that season we had no PG, and an operable 2, and a freshman 3 playing the 4 that wasn’t anywhere near ready to start and play as many minutes as he did.

    It is absurd to think that we can win as many rings, or go as deep as frequently, as UK and Duke, when our talent level is so consistently sharply inferior to theirs at the 1, 3 and 5 positions, and really at all of the positions and all of the rotation positions, too.

    KU needs more talent. Self has proven that with comparable talent, even slightly less talent, he is equal or superior to any other coach of his time.

    As Self’s ability to attract draft choices at the 1, 3, and 5 has declined, Self has proven that he is extraordinarily resourceful and creative in finding ways to avoid the .5o0 seasons and the none conference title winning seasons that other elite coaches have endured even without facing apparent recruiting embargoes.

    Self freed of this apparent recruiting embargo would likely now be winning rings almost every season.

    I ascribe the trigger to be the stacking of talent at certain programs coupled with the apparent recruiting embargo on KU that leads Self to have fewer and fewer ready to play draft choices at the 1. 3, and 5, and less 5 start depth coming in at all positions.

    A new coach with the existing adidas relationship seems not to solve anything. The most we could hope for is another great coach similarly constrained by the apparent embargo. The probable coaching change scenario would be a sharply inferior coach to Self facing the same apparent recruiting embargo. To put this in perspective, by this I mean that if even Cal, or Coach K, were enticed to take over KU, at this stage of either of their careers, with KU’s current apparent recruiting embargo, they would not be able to win as much, win conference titles as much, or go as deep in the Madness as Self is doing. And hiring any coaches of lesser talent than K and Cal, would likely lead to a precipitous fall off in all the measures of success, assuming the same apparent recruiting embargo.

    So: whether my position is getting old, or not, its likely validity persists and attempts to remedy the situation ought to be focused on how to break the apparent recruiting embargo, or alternatively, how to get draft choices at the 1, 3 and 5 positions onto the KU roster with similar regularity to UK and Duke.

    If Self were proven to be the limiting factor, and if a coach could be found that could break the apparent embargo legally and ethically, then I would support asking Bill to step aside for a replacement. But this just seems like a simplistic, naive pipe dream, approach to the issue.

    Self is a keeper in my book.

    One on the threshold of becoming one of the all time greats–one still in a position to do what Wooden did, if the apparent talent embargo could be broken; that remains my assessment of Bill Self.

    Wooden was reputedly on the verge of being forced out, or quitting, before he went on his binge. His first two rings were achieved by strategic innovations and attracting a couple great players. His last eight were reputedly achieved with Sam Gilbert beginning to pay UCLA recruits and players as much as sugar daddies at several other elite programs had been paying their players before UCLA’s run and continued to during the UCLA run.

    Let me make some thing clear now: I don’t want Self to go over a moral ethical cliff here to get talent. I don’t believe that would be wise or necessary. I don’t want him forced down such a path any more than I want him forced out.

    What I advocate its that the powers that be in this situation resume, or start, pulling in the same direction and devote all the resources at their disposal to finding a way to attract the same quality and quantity of talent that Duke and UK do. KU has faced such periods of disadvantage in recruiting before and found solutions. It can again. Nothing is written. Period.

    Obviously, my POV is underpinned by the hypothesis that an apparent embargo operates to diminish KU’s access to the player resources that it needs. It has been particularly effective at the 1 and 5 positions, and now seems to be spreading to be effective at the 3 position.

    If one were to successfully refute the hypothesis, then my POV on the trigger for the talent shortage would be invalidated. and so KU and fans would need to formulate another hypothesis more fittingly explaining KU’s deficiencies in talent and how to address them.

    But I really do not see how one can argue against insufficient player talent, especially at the 1, 3 and 5 positions, being at the core of KU’s recent problems.

    Even when Self had Andrew Wiggins, he lacked a draft choice point guard, and had to work with a project at the 5 that first surprised everyone with rapid development, and then tragically was injured and so lost to the team. We need a draft choice 5 every season, not just a project that surprises everyone one time. So: even in arguably his best recruiting season, he was short handed at the 1, and 5, plus lacking in depth everywhere. And beyond that year, Self has been acutely short of talent that least two seasons. Period. And injuries made the short handedness a crisis instead of a problem.

    The 2012 Finals team was the poster child for insufficient talent occasionally finding a way to go deep. With not one Mickey D, Self’s KU team competed against UK stacked with six OAD/TAD draft choices. It was a level of asymmetry I doubted would be duplicated, but every year since, such asymmetries have occurred. College basketball has been fortunate that an apparently lesser talented coach like Calipari has been the one to hold all the Aces, for he has not been able to a capitalize on them, the way Self, or Coach K likely would have.

    But back to my POV on this which you characterized as getting old.

    The facts, if they stay the same, have no sell by date. They may get old, but they still constitute the reality upon which decisions have to be made.

    KU isn’t getting the players it needs to consistently do much more than it has been doing the last few years.

    Last year, WSU was the more talented team and even if you were to argue otherwise, you could not argue that way persuasively after Perry was punked. Perry was punked IMHO for a very pragmatic reason. Perry was the only guy on the KU team standing between WSU and certain victory in a grudge match. KU teams earlier in Self’s tenure would have had at least two or three Perry grade players on the floor, and sufficient bench depth to sacrifice a player in a counter punk. IMHO, WSU would never have punked Perry had KU been up to its old talent levels.

    You pay many prices for not having enough good players.

    It is not only about not having enough guys to match up with UK and Duke.

    It is also, after a season of injuries, about being one punk away from not being able to match up even with a mid major like WSU.

    It is not only about not being able to play Duke and UK even up, or not being able to over power most opponents by playing inside out in a way that enables our good outside shooters lots of open looks. It is also about having to resort to unconventional extremes of strategy that seek to play away from our weaknesses at the 1,3 and 5. It is about playing a half of Good Ball (4 out 1 in with lots of quick trigger treys and running) followed by a half of Bad Ball (spread and drive from the 1 through 4 positions to play for the short three) to avoid/defer the shooting back to average that occurs after a hot half, or after a previous hot game. Fans don’t like it when Self plays BAD BALL, but every time he does it it is to avoid going 4 for 26 from the field on treys. Way better to go 2 for 10 or 1 for 8 and play BAD BALL for short threes. The only other statistically sound approach would be, as I have proposed, to shoot ALL treys all game, so that you shoot through the slumps during the games. BUT…Self’s approach is less risky. By playing a half of Bad Ball, or even a game of Bad Ball, he is deferring the slump until the next game, which he hopes is an opponent that KU can beat even missing a bunch of treys. Self often waits and tries to shoot out of slumps against bad teams. It is imminently sane and sensible. But doing it eludes the notice of most fans.

    It is not only about not being able to sign a highly successful OAD player that can lead KU to a ring his first season, and the TAD that can lead you to a ring the second season. It is, also, about HAVING TO sign the marginal OADs and marginal TADs that have a much greater frequency of not panning out, as soon, or at all, to try to do the same job as one of the highest ranked OAD/TAD types.

    It is not only about NOT having to take risks on clearance risks and long shot glue players, it is about juggling and managing a team through the risks and more unpredictable development timing of having to sign and develop and fit together clearance risk players and project players that need weight gains, and players that need to develop even one credible offensive move.

    It is sooooooooooo much easier to develop a talented team, and to make the product of it look so much more aesthetically appealing and reliable, than it is to try to do the same with out nearly as much talent.

    To be blunt, Self is squandering his capacity for greatness at KU the longer he and adidas and KU are unable to sign and develop enough draft choice players capable of playing at the 1, 3 and 5, so that he has roster every season with those positions staffed and ready to go. An elite coach at an elite school should only have to worry about juggling glue players, not about not having draft choices at the 1, 3. and 5.

    Increasingly, my definition of an elite basketball school is one that can have draft choices starting at the 1, 3 and 5 every season, not just every third season. And they aren’t the long shot OAD/TAD types that will have to acquire a lot of seasoning to be effective. They are the kind that can start out of the box and be effective while learning on the job. And you have to have 4 or 5 of them on the roster each season to wind up with 3, because of injuries and behavioral problems that invariably arise.

    KU is NOT an elite program by this standard.

    But its fans want it to play like one and go deep like one, and have few early round upsets, like one, and so on.

    Either the fans have to adapt to reality.

    Or KU has to get more talent.

    Either way, I don’t think blaming Self for doing great coaching jobs with thin rosters makes a thimbles worth of sense.

    Pitino is in essentially the same boat as Self, but he is in an EST part of the country, where there is much more regional talent close at hand that wants to stay close to home, so he is keeping his larder stocked a little better, but even Pitino is arguably in decline since the stacking has begun in earnest. But I digress.

    I keep telling folks and no one is listening.

    Calipari would be .500 with the material Self is coaching with.

    K might be .600, but just barely.

    Calipari can’t win a ring with stacked deck.

    Cal hasn’t innovated on offense, or defense, since he started running the Dribble Drive his first year at Memphis back in 2000! Nothing. He has just reputedly relied on Nike, WWW, and CAA to get him tons of players.

    Coach K has run his same Bob Knight Motion offense since 1980. Same Iba defense. Consonants’ offense is reputedly tougher to learn than Self’s bone head simple High Low with a situational weave and a dozen or so designated plays (pulled each season from a thousand page play book based on what plays work with that year’s material).

    Self’s offense has only gotten even slightly complicated the last few seasons, when he complemented it with first BAD BALL and then GOOD BALL. And he apparently calculatedly designed both for bone head simplicity. Bad Ball is, duh, drive it from anywhere and collapse, don’t expand the impact space. Good Ball is, duh, 4 out and 1 in and quick trigger the trey. Self is smart. He knows one year wonders and athletes of marginal ability can’t master complex offenses. Even the high low is, duh, four passes around the perimeter, feed the post, turn and shoot, or kick out and shoot the open look. Nothing could be any easier than each of the three offenses Self has jerry rigged together to be used situationally. Its a wive’s tale that the KU system is complicated.

    KU’s system has never been too complicated for one year wonders that actually were good enough to live up to their hype.

    Self’s problem has been that his one year wonders have mostly been sloppy seconds on head cases from imploding programs, or marginal OAD/TAD types.

    Let me close with this:

    SELF NEEDS MORE AND BETTER PLAYERS AND SELF KU, BOTH CONTRACTED TO ADIDAS, CANNOT SO FAR FIGURE OUT HOW TO ACHIEVE THAT.

    WORK THE PROBLEM, PEOPLE.

    DON’T CREATE ANOTHER ONE BY DRIVING SELF AWAY.



  • One positive you do not see a lot talked about, is guys we put in the league.

    If you get the number 1, 3 and 4, ranked players in a class, you pretty much have 3 lottery picks the moment they commit…

    We have got a lot of 4ish star commits or transfers or glue guys or rotation players a shot in the league. Some left earlier than expected too, leaving a void at times.

    Self developed a few players too well, which left him scrambling to fill spots at times to compliment the one and dones…



  • @Second-Prize “One positive you do not see a lot talked about, is guys we put in the league.”

    To me, that would be a positive if they were going into the league after 4 years, not after 1 or 2.

    Big negative.



  • Bate, I ask you to be honest with yourself and answer these questions:

    1. Are you happy with the continued early exits in the tourney
    2. Are you happy with the direction our program is headed
    3. Are you happy with mishandling and misusing talent available to him, keeping in mind the Fools Gold comment
    4. Are you happy with his unjust treatment towards players like Mickelson & Greene
    5. Are you happy with his double standards, recall how he has handled the punishment to Snacks & Traylor versus how he has treated other players like BG
    6. Are you happy with his allotment of minutes to the bench players, playing Traylor over Mickelson, makes no sense whatsoever
    7. Are you happy with his conflicting comments, recall how he talked about learning at the WUG but so far back to the same old pounding it inside
    8. Are you happy with him being inflexible and not changing with time
    9. Are you happy with him getting outcoached more & more
    10. Are you happy with his recruiting approach

    The list can go on. Bate, We are KANSAS. Our BB program will go on. But we can’t carry on like we have been for the past few years. We need and deserve better. It starts at the top.



  • You may not like what AsadZ has to say, and you can even dismiss him/her as not knowing. You can even call him/her names. Yet the fact is he’s/she’s speaking a point of view that is gaining favor among the KU faithful.

    LIke it or not he’s not alone.


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