Tyler Davis vs. Cheick Diallo

  • Now that Cheick Diallo is in the fold, it is interesting to compare Diallo’s performances and impact to the one that got away, Tyler Davis, the #31 rivals player. Davis had been considered a strong Kansas lean. National recruiting analysts had Davis going to Kansas – then poof, he chose Texas A&M somewhat out of the blue. Like all recruits, he was not ever a guaranteed Jayhawk. He might have chosen Baylor or Arizona. We don’t know. Of all the players in the 2015 class, he was as likely to go to Kansas as any recruit before he committed to A&M.

    But the point of this comparison is to highlight again, the non-OAD vs. the OAD dilemma we deal with each season. Davis presents an interesting comparison. Back in the summer of 2014, I posted what I thought was our Perfect Three Man Recruiting Class, Carlton Bragg, Tyler Davis, and Tyler Dorsey.

    Of course, we snagged Bragg. Instead of Dorsey we got LeGerald Vick. Worked out great. But in place of Tyler Davis, we landed Cheick Diallo. My opinion on the tandem was as follows, “In Davis and Bragg, we would have two post players that would be nearly certain three year guys. Both guys that need some development. Both guys that can play in the NBA, but need KU to get there. This would not be a pit stop. It would be a destination. This package secures our post future for the near future. High talent, size, tenacity, and motivation.”

    Here is Tyler Davis’ ESPN Profile


    Davis is a wide body post player who has made great strides in a short period of time. He has lost over 35 pounds and plans to continue to drop weight. Davis has excellent hands, touch, feel and patience with his post moves, mostly scoring over his left shoulder with a hook or powerful drop step through contact. Davis is a good area rebounder and can block shots mostly on the ball. Davis does a good job of holding his ground on defense and playing vertical with his hands up, making the defense shoot over him. Davis handles the ball pretty well for his size and can knock down the open high post jumper with needed time and space. He is tough and competes on both ends. Davis is also a standout offensive lineman.


    Davis doesn’t have much left yet but getting around him to deny the ball will make you wish he was more explosive. He must continue to work to improve his conditioning in order to play for longer periods of time which will lead to being more productive.

    Bottom Line:

    Davis is a true center with off the charts upside. He can score inside and out to about 15 feet comfortably. He rebounds in his area and has decent skills for his size. Controlling his weight and improving his conditioning is key for high level long term success.

    With Diallo, let’s look at what we have so far – really, all it has been is a disaster. It’s been a distraction. It’s been something that Self admitted was taking many hours in his day. It cost Kansas a lot of money fighting the NCAA. Diallo was from Mali so he couldn’t play in the WUGs. There have been no positives to this point. The positives start Tuesday. But he is a presumed OAD. Our positives could last a few short months (and yes, to address the point that is always made when discussing presumed OADs, I know that he could possibly stay two seasons just like Wiggins, Oubre, and Alexander could have – but he’s clearly a presumed OAD). But again, the positives start Tuesday, and we can’t wait to see him on the floor.

    Self decided to manage expectations, saying of Diallo just yesterday, “He’ll give us an inside presence, a shot blocker. You know, we’ve got good bigs, though, they’re veteran guys. He’s not going to come in and change us immediately but he’s got a chance to change us a lot by February or March because he has so much raw talent, but he is raw.”

    With a presumed OAD, this is flat out unacceptable if this is how it plays out. Really, I don’t think it will be. But let’s take Self at his word. We have the #5 player and the #5 player only has a “chance” to “change us a lot by February or March.” One might say, “only at Kansas.”

    One might say why bother?

    But we have mixed info – Wiggins and Embiid changed us a lot much earlier than February or March. Alexander languished the entire season until other difficulties sacked him. Self has focused on the opinion that Diallo is “raw.” Neither Wiggins, nor Embiid, were “raw.”

    So, why take an OAD that is raw? One that needs a lot of work, presumably? One that isn’t an automatic game changer? Why? Because we got stuck with him. He was all that was left. If we got a commitment from another top big in the class, Diallo would have been someone else’s NCAA fight. Simmons, Zimmerman, Jeter, Rabb, etc. Further, with all this NCAA stuff, it’s clear that Self had to be aware of what was in store because Diallo’s school had been red-flagged for two seasons. Diallo was all that was left. The reality is, Diallo might not be who Self really wanted on this team.

    I don’t think we’ve ever really discussed that. Did Self really always want Diallo, or was he a back up plan to the other top bigs?

    But that always makes me wonder – if we would have told Tyler Davis he was our guy, and that we’d only sign two bigs, would he have come to Kansas? All speculation. But certainly reasonable given our nearly unanimous posture as the favorite.

    It also makes me wonder – would Self have traded Diallo before the season started for Tyler Davis? Davis is the type of player that fits Self’s “feed the post” style. The dude can score inside. Kansas, much like last season, is challenged inside.

    Here is Tyler Davis this season - starting every game for Texas A&M:

    21 minutes per game.

    15 points per game.

    7.4 rebounds per game.

    Shooting 78.1% from the field.

    Better yet, he is making shots “at the rim” at 85%.

    Pretty impressive numbers so far.

    Davis is clearly ready to play now. Texas A&M has beaten Texas and Gonzaga, along with a few low tier teams with Davis in the starting lineup. They play tomorrow in the championship game of the Battle For Atlantis, against Syracuse. It’s worth watching. I saw the Texas game and Davis looked like an excellent player. Against Gonzaga, his stats weren’t as good. He’s a freshman. And he’s got a lot of growth in front of him as a player. But he certainly isn’t “raw.”

    But more importantly, Davis is not a presumed OAD. We’d have the kid for 2-3 season as opposed to just, presumably, one with Diallo. We’d have less pressure in recruiting for next season with two starters (Davis and Bragg) in the fold, along with Lucas. We might not have Coleby or Lightfoot – don’t know how those would have worked out.

    Diallo, though, is fast. He’ll increase our pace of play. He could be the perfect fit with this team, and how this team needs to win. It seems that Diallo, in with a crew that wants to play fast, might actually be the perfect fit. My concern is whether Self will let this team play to its identity. Early returns have been positive on style of play – 190 minutes of pretty good basketball, 10 minutes of poor play. That’s not too bad, of course. Again, I struggle to see how Diallo won’t fit in perfectly with how we’re playing.

    But after seeing Davis, I’d trade Diallo right now for Davis and take my chances. But I’m hopelessly biased against OADs when other highly talented options exist. I also think Davis would be a better fit for the feed the post mantra that Self lives by. That’s a big deal. When Diallo decides to stay a second season, I might change my mind. When (with Diallo) we hoist the national title trophy in April, I won’t care – life will be good.

    But barring those two occurrences, will Diallo be worth it? Or would a guy like Davis have been the better bet?

  • @HighEliteMajorGood points as always HEM. Your posts always make us think a little outside of the box. My only question would be. "Who has A&M played since Davis stats are that healthy? " Any power 5 contenders? Sometimes SOS can be misleading when stats are overwhelming, especially for a freshman.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Obviously the verdict is still out. But I wonder if Lucas will be able to get better angles than Diallo?

    Nothing against Perry, but I can’t wait to see Bragg & Diallo in the game at the same time.

  • @HighEliteMajor Good food for thought…Ive noticed aTm’s recent W’s over HatedShaka (TX) and vs the goliaths Gonzaga has in the paint.

    I agree Diallo will run fast with our “new” fast playstyle. I’m CERTAIN you have noticed that we are inbounding really quick and almost anybody can bring the ball up the court. It has shaved 2-4 sec in the backcourt, while keeping pressure on the retreating opposing D.

    I think you are proved correct on that idea, & I think Self is allowing more 3 freedom. Pushing the pace allows Frank, Devonte, Wayne to exploit transition seams & matchups, and the new rule favor aggressive penetrators.

    I think Diallo fits in right away, as he’s alrdy been practicing w/team. He could surprise the logical side in us with his production.

    In the free-for-all athletefest that is the McDAA game, he earned MVP for his efforts. Should be fun year.

  • We’ve already had more outlet passes for fast break lay ups than we did all of last year.

  • Good conversation going on here. My opinion is that if Self is recruiting OADs than he should play them from the beginning, no quick hook. Let them play through their mistakes as it will pay dividends in Feb & March. The cream ultimately rises to the top.

    After Maui I am also encouraged in that Self is allowing shooters to hit the 3s.

  • Some of us just want to rejoice in the afterglow of finally having Diallo and not think about what could have been with someone that will never be a Jayhawk.

  • @HighEliteMajor Embiid was raw when he arrived at KU. He learned so fast we forget how clueless he looked in his first exhibition game. He was just brilliant, a basketball savant, soaking up knowledge and not making the same mistakes from one game to the next, after he was taught. He wasn’t expected to be a One&Done when he arrived. He grew into that. Not to argue with your premise - just that Embiid was atypical, an outlier, probably not an example of a typical one&done because he started out so raw and learned so fast.

  • Comet, That’s correct although HighEliteMajor has brought up a good BB discussion point

  • This is terrific discussion. We have Chieck though. Now let’s go out and make the most of him. And get the most out of this team. It’s time to see that

  • @HighEliteMajor I wouldn’t have known much about Bragg, except for your posts. It was a great call.

  • Hypothesize and therorize all you want. That is what these message boards are for.

    But at some point put your arm around this year’s team and let our coach operate outside of your microscope without condemnation for something that may or may not happen 30 games from now.

    There will be ups, there will be downs. But for goodness sakes at least stop wishing for something different long enough to enjoy what we do have.

  • @globaljaybird A&M played some normal tuneups, but has just beaten Texas and Gonzaga. I think when judging a player like Davis we can’t discount the rummies because all teams play them. But it is always valid to see how they play vs. certain opponents. We can see with our guys how they struggle in certain situations.

    @VailHawk That’s some dry humor, my man. Pretty funny. I agree completely. Very excited to see Bragg/Diallo together. Did you notice Bragg/Traylor together vs. Vandy? That was an interesting combo, too.

    @ralster I have noticed the much quicker inbounding after a made bucket. It really is an important element in playing fast. It just has to be engrained as the “norm.” Playing fast, adding Diallo, is pretty exciting.

    @wrwlumpy That’s a great point. Not only is it the style that Self is clearly pushing, but it is Self’s decision to start Graham. Self very easily could have left Selden at the 2 and started Greene at the 3. But with Graham playing big minutes with Mason and Selden, we get this terrific pace that should be our calling card. Not to go too deep here, but when you don’t have back to the basket scoring, transition points are a nice element to fill that void. Fits our personnel real well.

    @tundrahok I don’t know … I kind of think Embiid was this crazily unique specimen that was highly skilled when he got here. But “raw” in terms of basketball experience. As you said, he was a basketball “savant.” In my opinion, he had the chance to be the best Kansas player of our era, to be spoken about in terms of Chamberlain and Manning. The biggest “what if” as far as a player that perhaps we have ever had at Kansas. But in the OAD era, two years was probably all we could have expected at the top end.

    @SoftballDad2011 @KansasComet We can talk and still embrace – I’m all in on Diallo (and Bragg). What I wonder about is if we’ll see TRob his first season, very sped up. Or will he be under control so he can play the game? From practice reports, it sounds like the latter. Self had some good things to say about him in practice. I do understand that it is easier for some to avoid topics that impact our team, like this OAD issue, but it seems like a core recruiting issue that isn’t going away sometime soon. I love highly talented players. My question, always, is the functioning of those players under coach Self. We’ve got some conflicting info so far as @AsadZ alluded to – in particular, the Cliff debacle last season. Some coaches just play the OADs. With Diallo and Bragg, who could ask for more young post talent?

    And when discussing managing our Diallo expectations, remember that he was the #5 player in the country. In 2014, the #5 player was Karl Anthony-Towns. I think our expectations should be through the roof. With a guy like Tyler Davis, it would be a much different dynamic. I’m very interested in how Self handles it this season. Cliff’s style obviously didn’t click with Self. Seems like Diallo’s will.

  • Here is my beef with this post. I don’t think Anthony Davis would impact our team until February on this years roster under Bill Self. Heck LeBron James would sit and watch Traylor gobble up 20mpg on this years roster if he were a freshman. Look at Braggs numbers vs Traylor. They have very similar stats BUT the main difference is Traylor plays double the minutes. So why is Bragg getting half the minutes? Coach Self is why and no one is going to take minutes from Traylor because Coach Self’s infatuated with him… Mickelson, Bragg, and now Diallo are 3 options that are better than Traylor BUT no one is going to play for some reason unknown to the rest of us? Maybe he has dirt on Coach Self? Who knows? We will all have to tolerate this kind of behavior from Self for the rest of his tenure and that’s all there is to it!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I really can’t disagree with you with Davis. He’s been terrific so far and playing like a possible OAD even though his hype and rank said otherwise. We messed up not getting him and I’ll always believe that.

    I do want to point out that Diallo was the clear #1 choice for them. They put in a lot of time watching him compared to the others that we recruited to different degrees. Wasn’t Davis a guy that was high on KU but maybe we werent as committed as we wanted the staff to be? As much as Davis interest in KU was, he had to have looked at a roster full of bigs, and felt he wouldn’t get the early time he wanted. In the end he ends up at a school that had a clear need for him, to start, and it was close to home.

    Do you think Davis would have started right away here? He’s clearly played well enough but we all know Self’s love affair with Mari and Lucas…and to value upperclassmen more than talented freshman. It’s probably safe to say Self doesn’t use Davis The way A&M does.

    Which comes to a popular assumption our fan base is making about Self and OAD talent. He’s the Freshman hype killer.

    He hypes up Bragg but is getting 10 minutes a game, soon to be less with Diallo. Bragg has played like he deserves more minutes.

    He says we should temper expectations on Diallo because we have a stacked deck of great post players?

  • @BeddieKU23 said:


    He says we should temper expectations on Diallo because we have a stacked deck of great post players?

    We probably shouldn’t get too upset because we do have a stacked deck but I just cant understand why we don’t put in our talent and let them develop so we can win down the stretch?

  • @Statmachine

    Absolutely agree, playing Diallo 25 minutes tuesday is the smart thing to do but he’s likely to see 12 to 16 minutes in Self’s mind. It’s just great to know he can play and we can let his play speak for how he will help this team get even better.

    Our defense was pretty darn good against vandy and that area alone is going to see a huge jump.

  • @BeddieKU23 Interesting. I didn’t know he was their first choice. That is really good to know. I thought it was Simmons, Zimmerman, Raab, in that order then Diallo. Our recruiting guru @konkeyDong might have some supplemental info. It does make sense as to why Davis may have chosen elsewhere. But watching him again today, I think he would have been a nice fit. No, I don’t think he would have started immediately. But, seriously, he is better at the 5 than Traylor or Lucas right now. He is only a “low” though in the high/low. Diallo is clearly a better athlete, quicker, more explosive, etc. Right now, I am excited about the word “fast” from this team.

    @Statmachine - Not only so it can develop so we can win in March, but so we’re better now. I’d bet a nice sum of money that Bragg/Diallo at the 4/5 can beat any combo of the other four except maybe Ellis high, Mick low. I said this before the season. I think by the end of the season there will be a discussion that Bragg is better than Ellis. At worst, we won’t be concerned if Ellis is out and Bragg is in – just like Wednesday night.

    For what it’s worth, I think playing Bragg minimal minutes is tantamount to coaching malpractice, given the competition (Traylor). I’d bet right now that Traylor will have more turnovers per minute this season than the freshman Bragg. And I’d bet Traylor will have more offensive fouls per minute. Fewer rebounds per minute. Few points per minute. A worse percentage at the rim. And a worse two point percentage. That would be six different bets. Bragg’s good money. No one would take Traylor on all those bets vs. Traylor, but I bet everyone here would take Bragg if betting all of them.

    I think when you look at things like that, it really frames why we think the way we do about Bragg. Self has to see this. His overall season plan may just be more gradual.

  • @HighEliteMajor As of right now, Jamari Traylor is playing better than he did as a sophomore and as long as he continues to play at the level he’s at now, I don’t mind him playing 20 minutes per game. Here’s a comparison of some of Traylor’s and Bragg’s numbers right now.

    Points per shot: Jamari Traylor 2.1, Carlton Bragg 1.5

    FG%: Carlton Bragg 70.6%, Jamari Traylor 61.5% (I’ll take either one all day long)

    FT%: Jamari Traylor 91.7%, Carlton Bragg 40%

    TO/40 min.: Jamari Traylor 1.6, Carlton Bragg 3.4

    Rebound %: Carlton Bragg 13%, Jamari Traylor 12.7% (not a significant difference)

    Here’s a link for an explanation and the formulas to calculate a player’s offensive and defensive ratings. http://www.basketball-reference.com/about/ratings.html The offensive rating basically calculates how many points a player w0uld score per 100 individual possessions. The defensive rating is how many points a player should allow per 100 possessions so the higher the offensive number the better, and the lower the defensive number the better.

    Offensive rating: Jamari Traylor 142, Carlton Bragg 107.5

    Defensive rating: Carlton Bragg 91.1, Jamari Traylor 95.3

    As of right now, Carlton Bragg is a slightly better defensive player than Traylor, but Traylor is the much better offensive player right now is playing some very good offense right now.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 I like that sight. It seems to be unbiased one way or another.

    It’s just fact based.

  • I wish Self wouldn’t have played Wiggins so much, his one year development didn’t help KU at all. If those minutes had gone to Selden he’d be better today… But fans would cry that Wigs should’ve been developed for March and that Bill’s minute distribution is what caused the loss to Stanford.

    It’s like giving all the responsibility, raises, and promotions based off of a resume, instead of actual performance.

    Chieck will play as many minutes as he earns, 0-40. I hope for all our sakes he’s as good as we expect and gets 25+mpg

  • @HighEliteMajor I’ll throw in Landen Lucas to as well for comparison.

    Points per shot: 1.6 (barely better than Bragg, no real advantage)

    FG%: 57.9% (not bad, but not as good as Bragg or Traylor)

    FT%: 69.2 (good for a big man, I don’t think anybody would complain if he keeps that up this year)

    TO/40 min. 4.8 (not good no matter how you look at it)

    Rebound %: 23.7% (significantly better than anyone else on the team by a lot and the biggest trait Lucas brings to the table right now)

    Offensive rating: 112.9

    Defensive rating: 91.8

    Lucas plays because of his rebounding because he’s not better enough than Bragg at anything else to justify his minutes at this point. Lucas also has far and away the highest foul rate at 7.2/40 minutes.

    Once Diallo gets his feet wet, I’m very thankful for the relatively easy 7 game stretch before conference play coming up that should allow Diallo to get acclimated enough to eat significantly into Landen’s minutes and into a little bit of Traylor’s minutes.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 Ok, I love stats – you up for a friendly wager on the items I mentioned? You have Traylor, I have Bragg? We can add in the offensive rating and defensive ratings, PER, and FT%.

    What did you think of the relatively crude ratio I posted regarding Rebounds plus Steals minus Turnovers? Tells us something, doesn’t it?

    I would agree with you that Traylor for the first five games is better than Traylor of the last two seasons. But the last three games have been more indicative of what we saw over the course of those seasons. We all know that.

    His offensive rating is way out of whack with what it has been over the years, so that will migrate. But that

    You did not cite the PER, or the player efficiency rating. Bragg 18.5 vs. Traylor 15.8. If we’re going advanced stats here, we can’t avoid that, can we? Isn’t that the “all in one, tell us the value of the player”, stat? And even with Traylor allegedly playing pretty good, he’s still lower than Bragg (a freshman, who has just played his first 5 college games).

    You’re not really arguing in favor of Traylor over Bragg, are you? 5th year senior vs. freshman in his first five games, and the freshman’s PER is easily better than the senior already.

    Traylor’s PER last season was a very poor 12.4. In his best season, it was 17.2. That’s who you want to go to battle with?

    And Mickelson is at 22.4 this season for what that’s worth (same as last season when his minutes were more scrub time – that’s interesting). Lucas, who was 13.7 last season, is at 20.9. Ellis is at 22.6, which is also his career average.

  • @HighEliteMajor I noticed that Davis was starting over a guy that averaged 17 ppg last year for the Aggies. Perhaps the guarantee of minutes is what swayed him.

  • @HighEliteMajor I really dont know much about recruiting but Im not sold that Diallo was a fall back guy. He’s too good. Here is a scouting report I found for last year. Cheick Diallo

    I think CS made this kid a target, a must get target. Sure, he had to have other must get targets as well. Looks like Davis might have been one. With recruiting dont coaches kind of have to use the wide angle approach? Can’t just go all in on one kid and then if you whiff on him, you lose out on a bunch of other players too.

  • @Lulufulu I don’t disagree … when I saw that his school had been reflagged, meaning Self definitively knew before he signed him of potential academic issues (a debate we had here at the time – whether Self “knew or should have known”), it did make me wonder.

    Would Self rather have had a big that perhaps did offer a less “raw”, better back to the basket scoring threat, with no academic issues, than Diallo?

    That kind of makes sense to me.

    @KUSTEVE Might be … and they look like a pretty decent team.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Diallo was worth it if KU had so many veteran bigs returning that Davis didn’t want to compete with them for PT and our only choice willing to compete with them was was Diallo.

    If I recall correctly TAM maybe an adidas school.

    If so, TAM is a lesser adidas school than KU, so one would infer Davis was as much of an adidas lean as any guy going to UK or Zona is a Nike lean. So that basically eliminates the Nike schools from this discussion. What ever ingredient triggers brand loyalty was apparently an active ingredient.

    Adidas-TAM had more sure development minutes for a guy who needed more development than adidas-KU had to give.

    Adidas-KU needed a guy to make a decisive one or two dimensional contribution to a veteran team in a composite 5 for a tourney run. Diallo fits the bill. As I recall, until the very end when St. John’s and UK got needy, KU was a leader and one of few seeming willing to take the risk on his problems all season. We didn’t need him earlythis season, because of our vets, but he could help us late. We were in a good position to take the risk.

    A key here is that our composite 5 has averaged double doubles against UCLA and Vandy and Davis is only at 15/7. So he is not the dominant rebounder that we needed to go with all our mature shooters. Diallo promises to add the crucial blocker rebounder needed as part of a composite 5.

    Self probably figures If the pros will take as a part time 5 in D1 then they can have him.

    Also, as we learned with Embiid 2-3 year 5 s that develop faster than expected can jump after their first season.

    The biggest problem for team continuity is the unexpected OAD, not the expected variety.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Self has focused on the opinion that Diallo is “raw.” Neither Wiggins, nor Embiid, were “raw.”

    Embiid was indeed pretty raw when he came to KU but he is the biggest basketball “savant” I have seen and improved dramatically in a very short time. Can you think of another player that improved as much or as quickly as Embiid did? Diallo himself has stated that he is pretty raw and has a lot to learn before he is effective (see Media Day interview) and I don’t believe he is the savant Embiid was, although I would love for Diallo to prove me wrong.

    With Diallo, let’s look at what we have so far – really, all it has been is a disaster. It’s been a distraction. It’s been something that Self admitted was taking many hours in his day. It cost Kansas a lot of money fighting the NCAA.

    All true, but there is also big upside that you did not mention. Recruits now know that KU will do what it takes and spend as much as needed to get them eligible. Not every top recruit is a Perry Ellis academically speaking; in fact, most are probably at the opposite end; knowing that KU will use its vast resources and deep pockets to fight for them has to help…don’t you think?

  • @JayHawkFanToo and @HighEliteMajor et al

    Whether Diallo plays a lot or a little depends entirely on what he is able to bring in his minutes.

    Currently, our much maligned composite 5 averages a double double with very few turn overs and the ability to guard a full range of opposing big men from the long ones to the short ones; this is without Diallo.

    Looking down the line score of our composite big, he seems about maxed out at 11/11.

    Thus the first question is: can Diallo better 11/11 without TOs and reliably guarding everyone from footers to short mobile bigs?

    The second question is can Diallo cut down on the TOs of our composite 5? Well, he might make the same number of TOs as Bragg, but it seems unlikely that he would make fewer TOs than our veterans most games.

    The third question is who can he outscore? Well, he is supposed to be very raw offensively, so outscoring Bragg is unlikely. It wouldn’t take much to outscore Traylor, Lucas and Hunter, but that’s not saying much, and if he did outscore them some, then his turnovers could reduce that edge to almost a wash.

    The probability is that given the same minutes he could snag more rebounds, score about slightly more, make lots more mistakes on defense and make more turn overs.

    But Self mentioned both rebounding and shot blocking as Diallo’s strengths he could bring, despite his “rawness.”

    Looking at the line score of our Composite 5, he isn’t getting many blocks. But if what Self prized most was blocks, it would seem that Hunter would have been getting more minutes so as to get more blocks, for if he can do anything it is block shots.

    The above reasons suggest why Self is painting a picture in which Diallo is not going to dramatically change the team’s playing minutes and character for quite awhile.

    I expect him to be brought in a lot like Jamari used to be brought in, before Jamari became the starter. Diallo’s initial role will be to bring “energy” as Self likes to say. To amp up defensive intensity on a particular player, explode out of position to block and alter, and get used to the speed and violence of the game while he proves how many TOs/minute he is going to cost Self.

    If Diallo’s TOs/minute ramp down fairly quickly, he makes defensive adjustments effectively, and proves effective at stick backs, then his rebounding and his shot blocking will become sustainable net benefits and he will take over the post.

    But Self knows that Embiid developed about as fast as possible for a foreign player that did not grow up playing the game, and Embiid was vastly better block and alter type blessed with unprecedentedly good foot work. Self could afford his turn overs to get his every possession block and alter effect. And Self didn’t have veteran composite big men to choose over Embiid, as Self now has as he considers Diallo.

    I am sure you know where this is heading.

    If Diallo were get error free in a hurry, well, then yes, he would play a lot.

    If Diallo were only to get about as good as the veteran composite 5, or slightly less, well, then how much he played would depend on how willing he was to commit to a second year.

    Self has absolutely no incentive at this point to play Diallo over his composite 5, especially over Bragg, unless Diallo commits to a second season.

    KU has already proven its veteran composite 5 can hang close with ranked MSU on a a bad KU shooting night, and make KU a big winner over ranked UCLA and VANDY on good shooting nights.

    If I were Diallo, I would immediately tell Coach Self: “Thanks for sticking with me through all of this. I have thought about it and I am coming back next season. This season I want learn everything I can from you, concentrate on holding down my TOs, learning the defensive reads, snag my share of rebounds, block and alter when you tell me to, and see if I can’t help ratchet our composite 5 up from 11/11 to 15/15 this season, and then, if I earn your trust, become a 30 minute and next season. During the off season I will work with Wayne Simien on a money move on the blocks. Whattaya say, Coach?”

    Diallo will immediately be in the inner circle and after his second season, probably winning a ring with Bragg and Vick and Devonte and Svi, will be a lottery pick and have a nice, long $50-100 million dollar career as a tweener rebounder and defensive specialist.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I’m hoping you are right, but I see him saying, “screw the ncaa, I’m moving on.”

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    It is certainly a risk. And foreign players probably don’t hold American college basketball in the same cultural esteem that many Americans do. They not only didn’t grow up playing the game, they didn’t grow up cheering for a college team.

    On the other hand, some foreign players really develop strong attachments to their college teams and schools. Sasha Kaun seems genuinely a Jayhawk and to have almost become Americanized by his extended stay at KU. It helps when you marry a KU student, I suppose.

    But will we ever see Joel Embiid again? He played here only two thirds of one season and the rest of it he spent consulting with medical professionals and business advisors, rather than going to The Wheel. Even if he were the nicest, most genuine guy in the world, how much could we possibly mean to him. He has now spent more time and energy fighting with a professional franchise than he ever spent with Self and the KU team.

    A lot of it depends, I suppose, on how gregarious and educationally oriented Diallo is. He sounds very bright and multi-lingual. I know it sounds strange, but KU’s best chance of keeping him around may be him liking some class and getting interested in pursuing some field of education. It might help if he were the kind of kid that either needed and wanted a band of buddies for a change. Or that was kind of ready for a steady girl friend and found one on the hill one day. These human aspects of players are hardly ever considered, and yet all of the college athletes I befriended were every bit as occupied by these issues as I was. They just have a big block of time every day where they are occupied with playing and learning the game.

  • Diallo over Davis always. We should be able to get guys like Davis every year.

    Diallo is a special talent though, and I think people will see why pretty soon. They will ease him in, but he will still be an obvious contributor right from the very beginning, IMO.

  • @jaybate-1.0 unfortunately, not many top american high school players hold college bb in high esteem anymore either. Sad situation!

  • @betterfireE I guess I don’t understand that. We’re talking guys that remain in your program for multiple seasons that are high talent players. We had Marcus, Markieff and TRob for three seasons. You’d discard guys like that, who were ranked lower than Davis, for the hope that we land guys like Diallo each season, or Cliff? Or even a one year guy like Embiid? I just don’t see it.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Regarding your composite 5, it got me thinking. I looked at their stats. They have played a combined 42 minutes this season, matches up pretty well with Ellis and Bragg, combining for 38 (meaning post players totaling 80).

    In those 42 minutes, they have combined for 14.2 points and 13.4 rebounds per game. On its face, that would seem reasonable.

    If Diallo comes in and plays Embiid-like minutes, 23.1, that would leave 18.9 for the composite 5 (Traylor, Mick, Lucas).

    If we prorate the composite 5’s stats over 18.9 minutes, they’d be at 6.39 ppg, and 6.03 rpg. So if we played Diallo Embiid-like minutes, this would be the assumed contribution based on the first five games this season.

    I would suggest that we would see a marginal drop off for the composite 5, per minute, getting less minutes. But that we don’t know yet of course. We’re just making assumptions.

    To maintain the pace of the composite 5, Diallo have to be at 7.81 ppg and 7.73 rpg – this would be over the 23.1 minutes per game that Embiid played.

    I think all of us would like to think that Diallo could maintain this pace if he got 23.1 minutes per game.

    In his 23.1 minutes, Embiid was 11.2 ppg and 8.1 rpg.

    Over the course of 42 minutes, which is what the composite 5 played, Embiid came in at 20.28 points and 14.7 rebounds. That should be compared to the numbers of the composite 5 over those 42 minutes – 14.2 and 13.4. A big difference in points but not rebounds.

    Anyway, interesting to look at.

    One important item is rim protection. The composite 5 is averaging 1.8 blocks per game (in 42 minutes of play), but 1.0 of that is from Mick, who has played just 8.4 of the 42 composite 5 minutes. It would only make sense that Mick loses minutes here given that he is apparently the low rung on the totem pole. So we’ll lose that block per game from the composite 5 most likely.

    Another key item is Bragg. Bragg’s minutes have to increase. They have to. He makes us better. Who knows how that will fit in.

    Let’s try a combination of how many minutes guys should play with what Self could do, based on what we know if him. Again, when we see that Embiid played 23.1, and he was perhaps the best freshman post player we’ve ever had, that can lead us to where Diallo’s minutes might be. Embiid, but for early season bench time and leaving games because of injuries or nicks, was basically a 25 mpg guy.

    Ellis - 25

    Diallo - 20

    Bragg - 20

    Composite 5 - 15 (the actual player or combination of players based on match ups and needs).

    And we all have a very Merry Christmas.

  • My excitement level for Tuesday is off the charts. But I’ve learned to get over that excitement when figuring out who’s going to get minutes.

    Missing those 5 games really hurt Diallo as far as being in the rotation. Tuesday he may see a good chunk of minutes just to start to get the rust off, at least that’s what I’m hoping for. Christmas break will be almost like an off-season development program for Diallo. Unlimited practice, usually where Self tightens the screws for conference play. How he does during the break will be a key factor with how he gets into the rotation and takes minutes.

    It’s clear Self trusts Jamari & Lucas for each individuals experience and what they bring to the team. Unless he goes to a platoon type rotation there isn’t enough minutes for the 5 of them (sorry Hunter). Ellis isn’t going to sit, he’s got the get out of jail free card and we need his scoring threat on the court. His 26 minutes a game will go up significantly come conference time as they did last year.

    We know Self is stubborn, so Diallo is going to have to clearly out-play both Lucas & Mari to get 20+ minutes a game. I think its likely Diallo settles into a 15-18 minute role unless Self makes him the clear starter. The ceiling for this team relies on him starting and being consistent and productive.

  • @BeddieKU23 I really can’t imagine that Diallo won’t start by the UK game. If he is a top 10 recruit and lives up to even close to that billing he will play circles around Lucas and Bam Bam. Personally I would take losing a few early games if it means more minutes and growing pains for Diallo and Bragg. These are the guys who have the highest ceilings and give us the best shot to win a National Title along with Perry in the post.

  • Can we put this debate to rest now? Do you see why Diallo is the easy choice over Davis?

  • @betterfireE – I appreciate the passion for Diallo. He’s our guy, and I can’t wait to see him play the rest of this season.

    But I was wondering, have you seen Tyler Davis’ stats? Have you seen him play?

    As the ESPN analysis said, “Davis is a true center with off the charts upside. He can score inside and out to about 15 feet comfortably. He rebounds in his area and has decent skills for his size.”

    Davis, in his first game had 16 points, 7 rebounds; second game 18 points, 12 rebounds; third game 16 points, 8 rebounds. He played against Texas – 14 points, 4 rebounds. Against Syracuse – 8 points, 7 rebounds. As a freshman, he has not yet fouled out, and only one game with four fouls. As freshman post player, his assist to turnover ratio is zero, meaning even 10 assists/10 turnovers. That beats some of our experienced bigs by a long ways.

    By the way, Tyler Davis field goal percentage “at the rim” is 81.4%. Think that might fit in Self’s system? That will decrease, of course, as he plays better opponents, but even the best players have trouble scoring at over 80% at the rim against any D-1 competition.

    Free throw percentage 75%. And field goal percentage 72% overall.

    And the extra added bonus, you’d likely have Tyler Davis for three season, not just one. That is really an important part of the analysis.

    Play OAD Merry Go Round, or lock in a dude like Davis?

    As I said in my post, if Diallo stays a second season, I would likely change my mind. A national championship and everyone’s happy. Diallo’s performance this season, or Davis’, of course, could change the thought process, too.

    Obviously, Diallo is a superior athlete. More upside. And should be a better player this season – and I really think Diallo fits our “run first” attack.

    But you can’t disregard what Davis has done thus far. And certainly, you can’t say the debate is over right now.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    You make an excellent case for Davis but the season is way too young to see how it will play out.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I Saw from Box Score Davis came off the bench last night? Interesting

  • @HighEliteMajor Sorry I am SUPER late to this discussion but I just saw Davis play over the weekend. He is currently better the Diallo, no question. He only played 20 minutes and had 10 and 5. So those numbers don’t jump out at you. But he is one of the better back to the basket scorers I’ve seen so far this year (granted my scope is limited to mostly KU games but I watch as many other games as time and life allow). He had some really solid post moves, good quick spins, nice touch (5/5) and has a big body. Self would be playing him. Now. More the Diallo. Probably more than Bragg. He has the body to really seal like Lucas, but so much better at finishing. He did have 2 turnovers and 4 fouls. But I agree, Davis is a great player and would have shined at Kansas.

    I wonder though, would you still trade Diallo for Davis considering if we had Davis we would be pounding the post every possession he was in the game? Self would love watching him spin and pivot and muscle in the post so much we might never shoot another three!

    I also wonder if Davis might end up one and done if he had Self’s system, Hudy, and were playing for a national title contender.

  • @benshawks08

    From what I’ve watched of Davis he looks like a potential 2 year player. Next year he should have more freedom because A&M will lose some front-court players so he won’t have to share as many minutes. He definitely has skill and is good around the rim. He’s always going to be the one that got away…

    Right now I think its unfair too say who would be better. Diallo has barely had the chance to play any meaningful minutes. I mean if Self really wants to see what he’s got over an extended period of time, you start him against Montana right? Or at least let him play more than 3 minutes before subbing him… I’m sure this topic will be brought up more as the season progresses.

  • @benshawks08 Never too late to come back to this topic. Good points … If Self sticks with this style of play, and continues to play Mick/Ellis/Bragg and gets Diallo up to 20 minutes, I definitely am fine with what we have this season. My bigger question is whether Self would be playing Davis regardless of his skill set. Lots of unknowns. But right now, if I had to make the choice, I’d take Davis. That said, if Diallo were to stay two seasons, and I knew that now, I’d take Diallo. Further, if we win a NC this season, of course, I’d stick with Diallo.

    @BeddieKU23 He is the one that got away – it appeared to me that paired with Bragg, that would have provided perfect 1-2 punch in the post. But like you and others, I do like what we have and I’m very content (assuming Mick/Ellis/Bragg/Diallo are the main minutes guys).

  • @jaybate-1.0 What I believe you need to show, or spell out in crayons for my sort, is if there is a correlation between college shoe contract and what a player could do when going pro? I’m not sure there has to be a strong correlation and relationship, because the contract is more with the school than the player until they reach the Pro’s. Perhaps it’s foot in the door???

  • @Bwag

    Something makes Players from top Nike summer game teams appear to tend to attend Nike contracted schools and coaches.

    Something makes a similar appearance with players from top adidas summer game teams.

    But what?

  • Just thought this was interesting – I just checked in on Tyler Davis’ stats.

    His Player Efficiency Rating is an excellent 29.8. No player on Kansas other than Brannen Greene (who has played just 5 games) is higher.

    He has scored 11.8 points per game, 6 rebounds per game, in 20.4 minutes per game. But what is most impressive is that his field goal percentage is 78%, and 83.7% at the rim. The last two games he was a combined 11 - 11 from the field (vs. Baylor and K-State). He’s averaging double figures in points against Texas A&M’s six “real” opponents: Texas, Syracuse, Gonzaga, Arizona St., Baylor, and K-State.

  • Why should I care about a kid who doesn’t like KU? Ef 'em. He’s not good enough to play for my team.

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