Self Playing "Whac-A-Mole"

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    It feels like Self is playing a game of “Whac-A-Mole.”

    At any given moment, all of our post players deserve to ride the bench. Other times, they each deserve to be out on the court.

    None of our post players deserve a free ride.

    So, our post players play soft or flub up, and WHACK… off to the bench they go and another mole arises from his hole. Ready to go until he proves himself ineffective, and then… WHACK!

    Meanwhile, fans become frustrated. But what about the frustration Self faces? And the frustration of his players, too?

    What is the answer? Will the sea part and the clouds vanish to expose sunlight by merely giving Hunter a few more minutes? We know Cheick is behind on development because of his NCAA situation. He, most likely, will be with us just a few more months. He needs to get minutes if for no other reason than picking up experience to help him play in conference play and March.

    But we still have to go out there and try to win games now. Landen earned his second half minutes by being the only post presence that could rebound. So we all have to wince every time he gets the ball in the low post and doesn’t dunk and doesn’t finish. But… which post player do we have can be counted on to finish at the rim? Right now, the answer is NO ONE!

    Our post guys bounce their heads up from the hole and go out there on the floor. Their confidence is fragile, but gets a lift when stepping onto the court. Then they go out and fail. WHACK! The mallet comes down on their head and they return to the bench, heads down, confidence crushed again.

    All our post players get a big taste of up and down in most games. They earn enough confidence from their coach to be put on the floor, and they earn enough disappointment to be pulled from the game.

    A pattern is forming, and that pattern is mediocrity.

    What post player (or players) will rocket out of their hole(s) and bring serious game… enough to prevent them from their next WHACKING?

  • Banned


    Problem is the game is rigged. Diallo, Bragg, or Hunter make a mistake and they are riding the pine. Yet Landon and Traylor can play 20 mins a piece and only score a couple of baskets.

  • @DoubleDD

    Nailed it!

    Personally, I’d sit Jam Tray and Lucas for all but mop up duty or if Mick, Diallo and Bragg get in serious foul trouble.

    Start Mick now until Diallo is ready to start no later than Jan 15.

    Put all your eggs in the Mick, Diallo & Bragg basket and win the national championship!!!

  • Because they have earned it… Just take that statement for what it is, and in Self’s eyes.

    Mari is a 5th year player

    Lucas is 4 years in

    Forget Hunter he’s been shackled.

    I’m certainly not agreeing (nor do I agree in any way) that just because they have been here for a combined 9 years that they should be playing above our uber talented freshman but that’s how its going. He has zero TRUST when the game is tight in either Bragg or Diallo. You can see he might have a little trust in Bragg since he was playing late in the Vanderbilt game but that was before Diallo was eligible.

    Until these guys show they can be trusted in tight games they will sit. Problem is, how can they play in tight games if they aren’t trusted so its basically a double negative.

    We won the game and surprisingly Self wasn’t as upset as I thought he was going to be. What a nutjob he can be.

    But if Diallo & Bragg want to play - make more than 2-8 from the field and stop missing shots you can dunk. I love Diallo but how can you Lucaseque the shot from 1 foot away and cob 2 easy dunks by trying to be cute and use the backboard. There’s the “raw” aspect of both of their games. Has to improve, just has to.

  • @drgnslayr

    Composite 5 is averaging a double double and trending up. He is a stud!

    The last game he had 14 PTS., 15 REEBS 3 blocks and 2 steals.

    And he double doubled against MSU, UCLA and Vandy!

    C5 is team strength and very consistent.

    By mid season, if he stays healthy and his freshmen components learn help defense and how to read and rotate, C5 could be up to a 15/15 guy with some 20 rebound nights!!!

    I mean think how much less wear and tear C5 is going to have than other top big men in the country, whe March comes!!!

    C5 will be fresh as a daisy and probably beast on the exhausted OADs around the country…

    Unless the other coaches start copying Self again!

  • The problem with C5 is he has limited upside, even though his downside is limited too. As long as he continues to be “C5”, he will never be a star-level player because his performance is an average of 5 different players of varying skill levels and skillsets. C5 will win the Big 12, most likely. But I seriously question whether or not he has the NOS to win an April ring. Self needs to bet on the high-level talent that he has rather than continue to hedge his risks with all the bigs. I think the Big 12 is do-able regardless; aim for the upside.

  • @drgnslayr I hang my hat on these salient points:

    • We weren’t playing in the NCAA tourney
    • We weren’t playing a good team, so we weren’t playing with any urgency
    • We are still finding our way with the rotation
    • Jamari and Landen are still “dead men walking” in the bigger scheme of things

    I want us to win every game by 40 points. This team, and its talent, will sort itself out. At some point, Diallo will start to take the lion’s share of the minutes, and we’ll be better for it. Until then, we’re going to have times where we look like we did last year.


    excellent post.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I have always wondered why big man going 17 and 10 seems in 36 minutes can seem like he is dominating a game while a c5 (as you say) can go 15 and 15 in 40 minutes and it appears to be a weakness.

    If we are talking upside, is Diallo ever going to average 15 and 15? I severely doubt it.

    But is your c5 consisted of who played the 5 at the moment? Or just combining stats of players? Because there are times where Lucas and Traylor are in at the same time. So that kind of throws off what the c5 is actually doing.

  • @KUSTEVE Totally agree. Especially that Jamari and Landen are still “dead men walking” in the bigger scheme of things. Be patient with our young freshmen. CS will make sure they get plenty of opportunities to play, learn and prosper as the season wears on. Pulling CD and CB from the Harvard game in favor of Lucas was just one game against a particular opponent.

  • @KUSTEVE “Dead men walking” – interesting comment. You are more optimistic than I.

  • I feel like this is a really good problem to have. We have talent and experience and every game whoever produces, plays! Plus we have all these guys battling it out in practice every day. If someone gets injured no big deal. This is clearly how Self is viewing it as he said in his press conference “We have 30 fouls to give.” No one should ever be “dunking on our heads” that early in the game.

    If anything we need to be more worried about out seemingly deep guard lineup because it is actually pretty thin. Wayne Selden has foul trouble and we struggle. That’s what the Harvard game was really about. Sure we will be a bit deeper with Greene but as has been discussed, will he bring energy and pressure D?

    It looks to me that we are a three headed monster from 1 to 3 except if one head gets cut off, the other two (or one like Harvard) is stuck dragging around a thick, bleeding neck with no bite.

  • Landen can do something big to help our team, and it won’t show up on the stat sheet.

    He can (at least) be the example of a big man sealing off for rebounds to show Cheick. Without him, Cheick has no example of what to do and how to do it.

    I’d like to say Landen learned to seal off while at Kansas all this time, but he brought that with him.

    I don’t understand how it can be this tough for our bigs to learn to seal off the boards. I’m sure their inability to learn and develop is also hurting our recruiting because it is hard to look at us right now and think Kansas develops bigs.

  • @drgnslayr I do know from a close friend, that KU does the same thing w/bigs as Danny did. My friend listened to coach self talk on leadership.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Can you ask your friend which coach or coaches are responsible for teaching bigs how to rebound?

    With all the bigs we do have, we should dominate just about anyone on the boards, if for no other reason than the fact that we can run fresh bigs in constantly.

  • Banned

    Well if KU is going to play the C5, then coach needs to play the parts of C5 that can actually put the ball in the hoop the most minutes.

    I don’t care how great your defense is if you can’t score then you’ll lose.

  • @DoubleDD KU doesn’t need scoring from all 5 positions though. In Self’s offense, you beed scoring from 1 one of the guards, the wing, and one of the bigs. The scoring load is not dependent on the other two positions. This year, Mason, Selden, and Ellis can all score. The other big spot, C5 in this case, needs to be able to rebound and protect the rim. Until Diallo gets acclimated, Landen Lucas is the best rebounder and Jamari Traylor is the best defender. When Diallo gets acclimated and play defense without fouling and not be a liability with the ball in his hands, he’ll take a lot of Landen andJamari’s minutes because he’ll be better to fill those needs.

    When Ellis was injured last year, that’s when Mickelson stepped up because KU needed to fill the scoring void in the paint and Hunter was the second best scoring big last year.

    Self knows what skills and attributes he wants out of each spit on the floor and who best fills those criteria and Landen and Jamari best fill those needs at this moment and will likely give way to Diallo later on in the season.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    Very nicely done. 👍

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