Composite 3 Replaces Composite 5: Improved Scoring, Less Rebounding, Similar Blocks, More TOs, More Fouls

  • Composite 3, a composite player we have not seen before, came to the rescue of Composite 5, whom Bill Self decided was to injured to go again this game. Composite 5 made the trip and was suited up, so we infer he could have been called to duty had Holy Cross ever been able to recover from KU’s hot fusion shooting. Try 60% from the trey stripe, 63% overall, and 100% from the free throw stripe. It was likely one of the five best shooting exhibitions in Self’s tenure at KU. The first half might go down as one of the best shooting exhibitions in the history of college basketball, too. Try 80% from trey, 70% overall, and 100% from the free throw stripe. But I digress.

    The real story of this game in terms of relevance to the long season ahead, was the play of Composite 3 at the 5 position. C3 was composed of Hunter Mickelson, Cheick Diallo, and Carlton Bragg. When the composite dust settled, C3’s numbers looked like this:

    16 points

    11 rebounds,

    1 block

    6 turnovers

    9 fouls

    Composite 3 was going up against Holy Cross’ best. Holy Cross’ best was probably comparable to Harvard’s best. Coincidentally, or not, Holy Cross beat Harvard recently by 1. For what its worth, KU lost a lead and beat Harvard by six with Composite 5. In contrast, KU with Composite 3 beat Holy Cross by 33. Gleaning much from compared victory margins is tough. We can be sure that a large portion of KU’s lopsided victory margin over Holy Cross was attributable to the extraordinarily hot shooting of KU. One infers that had KU shot that rate against Harvard; that game too would have turned into a sizable rout.

    Still, Composite 3 was the center in a blow out and deserves some strokes for that, as well as some examination of his line scores.

    Composite 3 seemed the slightly more adroit scorer than Composite 5, though it gets easier to score inside when one’s perimeter makes 80% of its treys the first half, right? It would be reasonable to expect Composite 3 might have faced a little more help defense inside and perhaps scored at least one less basket, had KU’s outside shooting been a little less stellar. One less basket would have put Composite 3 smack dab in the heart of Composite 5 shooting results prior to this game.

    Composite 3 also had a good night on the glass with 11, which was maybe a little less than typical for Composite 5, but certainly a good night’s work.

    Composite 3 let down expectations a bit with only 1 block, but that is still about as good as Composite 5 has been doing.

    Where things became unsightly for Composite 3 were his 6 turnovers and 9 fouls. The 6 TOs were as high as Composite 5 on his worst night and worse than some others. 6 TOs greatly cuts into fine 16 point showing in terms of net productivity. Alas, TOs were not Composite 3’s only glaring problem. Try 9 personal fouls among only three players. Ugh. That high number of fouls meant that KU defense was not getting a lot of stops, and Holy Cross was getting a big chance to put points on the board. The 9 fouls really eat into Composite 3’s net productivity.

    In conclusion, one has to view with some trepidation what may happen if Composite 3 were to start against a better team on a night when KU is shooting nearer its average.

  • Hunters 0 certainly came in under what I would have expected, but to some of your point, the outside shooting % in first half would have probably contributed to limited scoring inside along with perhaps lower RB counts. Be interesting to look at O & D RB’s between games (Harv v HC) to see if they paint a picture.

    Just don’t have time to do so now and still haven’t watched the first half, nor the 2nd very closely.

    I look forward to the advanced analytics and commentary sure to come forth.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I think Composite 3 actually got 3 blocks (2 by Mick, 1 by Diallo), which wasn’t too bad. I loved how our 2 little guards each got a block!

    Note that Ellis only played 26 minutes, so Composite 3 played 1.35 positions during the game, elevating all those numbers by a third over a 40-minute player. Diallo didn’t pick up his first foul until under 3 minutes left in the game, which quite surprised me. His 4 turnovers were all late in the second half, too. But you’re absolutely right, when the guards hit 8/10 threes in the first half that certainly makes things easier for the bigs underneath.

  • Banned


    Sorry my friend but blow it out your you know what. With the C3 as you call it? The game was played faster and at a more frantic pace. Which favors a more talented team. UMMMM KU. Face reality there is no big on this team that can play Coach’s patented high/low. Please name one? In order for this team to reach it’s goals of a conference championship and a national Championship that have to play fast. The last two games should enlighten you? Verses Harvard Coach played Landen and Traylor trying to run his high/low. KU almost lost. The game tonight Coach doesn’t play Landon and Traylor and lets his team run and they win by 30. I think that says it all.

    Sorry my friend but thug/okie ball is dead. If KU plays thug/okie ball they lose. Or bad ball.

  • Banned


    Sorry my friend for my rudeness. Yet this KU team doesn’t have to play muscle ball to win. With this team those days are over. They can run and shoot. They also create havoc on the defense side of the ball. The key is numbers.

    I say play them all.

  • It is not so much our bigs sometimes, but getting them the ball.

    Bragg somehow is one of our best from the top of the key, or at least tries to feed inside. Svi and Greene did some lob passes into the post, otherwise we do not have really anyone who bothers too often…I do not mean lobs for dunks, I mean lobs to back to the basket post man. It requires some touch.I know part of it is the big getting proper position, but our true ball handlers rarely look there.

    More thoughts on our bigs.

    I love Bragg but he just does not have the mass to utilize his height quite yet. He wont be the answer as the banger inside, back to the basket type of big until he cant be pushed around.

    I know we think of our bigs collectively and Self does not really go with positions 1-5 or power forward/center, but really right now Landen and Hunter are 5’s and Diallo still an enigma 4/5.? Traylor and Bragg are really just 4’s essentially. Perry would be a 3/4.

    With his experience Traylor could be interchanged…

    I just think regardless of Bragg and Diallo’s talent and ceiling, we will need Landen and Hunter at times when we face Centers.

  • C3 v Rico Gathers scares me.

  • @benshawks08

    C3 vs. Rico Gathers…a pound of feathers vs. 100 pounds of muscle.

  • @DoubleDD

    High-Low was run both games, so that’s not the difference.

    43% from trey vs. Harvard. 60% from trey vs. Holy Cross.


    47% FG vs. Harvard 63% FG vs Holy Cross


    52% FT vs. Harvard 100% FT vs. Holy Cross


    Come again. 🙂

  • @Second-Prize said:

    I just think regardless of Bragg and Diallo’s talent and ceiling, we will need Landen and Hunter at times when we face Centers.

    Agreed. And they’ve got to cut down the TOs and fouling, which should happen by January or February.

  • @tundrahok said:

    I think Composite 3

    Good correction on the blocks.

    I can live with the distortion caused by Perry only playing 26 minutes.

  • Banned


    Shooting the three only has a small part in running fast.

    This team should shoot the three until it’s heart is content no matter what offense Coach wants to run.

    It’s obvious they can shoot. Yet this KU team plays better when they run and I mean push the tempo. Even our bigs play better. It’s not even debatable.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Yes, Perry averages 25.4 minutes per game, so there’s no bias comparing C3 with C5.

  • @DoubleDD

    The average possession time for KU was 14 seconds and for HC 21 seconds. In comparison, the average for the NBA and its much shorter shot clock is around 15 seconds. That is fast tempo…

  • @DoubleDD said:

    Shooting the three only has a small part in running fast.

    Actually it has a very large part.

  • @DoubleDD said:

    Yet this KU team plays better when they run and I mean push the tempo

    Allen, Lambert, Rupp, McClendon and Wooden pretty much proved long ago that teams play better on the run. It gives the running team momentum in motion and puts opponents on their heels.

    The problem has been that after the proof was recognized a generation of coaches came along that could not attract as many of the great athletes the running game requires, and started looking for how to overcome the running game. Bob Knight, from the long rough Big Ten, understood that Big Ten butcher ball had largely evolved to stop the running game the Ward Lambert at Purdue had evolved. Lambert had pioneered using football sized bruisers for what today would be called the two post positions. These bruisers got the rebounds and Lambert released his jack rabbit guards that he recruited (like John Wooden). What counter strategy that evolved was to play so rough all over the floor as to stop the running game–to deny it. After awhile, only McCracken’s Indiana teams continued to try to run. And finally they were subsumed by Big Ten bang ball. But the rest of the country did not embrace Big Ten Bang Ball until Wooden had his great run of fast break basketball. Then Bob Knight looked around and realize that he could fuse Big Ten bang ball with the old Iba principles of slow down and control tempo play (note: which Iba had developed largely as a countervailing strategy for Phog Allen’s free wheeling game with Allen’s big advantage in playing talent) and do it with just two good players and the rest big lugs. Knight was actually at Army when he began to hatch the new bang ball and innovated his motion offense. With his motion offense and his bruisers and guys that would start cheap shotting when ever 10 down, Knight found a formula that one could win with against running teams with more talent (namely UCLA and UNC), so long as the referees could be conditioned with a lot of early game roughness to permit him to play bang ball for the whole game. Coach K learned this approach while playing for and assisting Knight at Army. But lots of others were coming to similar conclusions. Bang ball worked and you could play bang ball with almost any kind of offense, and any kind of bruisers you could find. Knight is really the father of modern muscle ball.

    Fast forward to the height of Knights greatest success and the early wave of Coach K’s great success and arrivals of Dick Bennett and Tom Izzo on the scene, along with Bob Huggins back in his early UCinn days and you have the critical mass of bang ball starting to take over the game. Then the Big East is formed and enlarged and completely embraces bang ball too. John Thompson at Georgetown even gives it a racial spin with Hoya Paranoia enforcer ball.

    Who finds a solution to all of this either or? Either run, or bang?

    Enter Larry Brown and Eddie Sutton who have been perfecting Dean Smith’s High Low Carolina passing game into something approximating 70 point take what they give us from a passing offense. These are hit’em where they ain’t schemes. If they are giving the run take it. If they are giving the half court game, take it.

    And then Brown and Sutton have this kid assistant learn from them–Bill Self. And Self takes this whole 70 point take what they give us thing to a new level of flexibility. He says not only are we going to take what they give us, we are going to play it any way they want. They want to run, we run. They want to grind we grind. They want to play smash mouth, we play smash mouth. Playing this way means Self’s teams are theoretically never out of their comfort zones no matter how the game goes. It keeps them in it with running teams that are their best running, and with half court teams that are at their best in half court. While you are running their tempo, then you look for what they are giving you. Boom! You’ve got them, because they don’t want to give up what they do best. Self Ball is that antidote to both the almighty running game and the almighty bang ball game. And he got so successful playing it anyway they want that probably half the coaches in the country have copied to one extent or another.

    So: this notion you have of KU getting out and forcing the tempo by “pushing the ball” didn’t really happen. What happened was Holy Cross gave the run and Self took it.

    It may look to you like KU plays better on the run and they may in this sense: they look good running because they run when the running is being given. Its kind of a self fulfilling prophecy, if you will pardon the pun.

    But KU also is among the best grind teams. Why? Because they grind when grind is given; that’s why.

    KU is always trying to play through the path of least resistance.

    When it looks really good playing one way, fans are seduced into thinking KU is a running team. When they play a good grind game, fans are seduced into thinking they are the consummate grind team.

    But they are neither. They are a Self Ball team recruited, developed, schemed for and coached to play it anyway they want.

  • @jaybate-1.0 all sounds good, BUT Holy Cross, didn’t give us the running game. What I saw in my limited viewing was HC sending zero people to the Offensive boards and all Five running back on D after one shot for the main part.

    KU created pace with a combination of better athletes, variety of presses applied intermittently, and just playing fast - take open shots.

    This game appears to have given our raw or underutilized big talent some time to develop. Iron out their wrinkles of their games. Plenty to coach them on SO they actually improve. Coaching game situation and result has to be more effective than practice situation. In ‘kids’ minds, a greater relationship of cause and effect in situations they see as real versus “roll eyes, there goes dad being dad again”.

  • @jaybate-1.0 and here I thought the C3 was the composite of Selden, Svi and Greene at the 3.

  • @JRyman I thought that after glancing at the headline too!

  • Banned


    I’m not saying KU should become the old Billy Tubbs OU teams. However for this year the talent and what the Kids are good at are shooting and running. So why not play to their strengths?

    I have to disagree that this Year’s KU team can play the High/low and grind wins out. As in the two games that I seen where coach brought the game plan to a stop and went inside exclusively. KU lost one and damn near lost the other one. And not even talk about what happened last year.

    @jaybate-1.0 I understand where you’re coming from. You’re a bit like coach. In then that you like a grind game. You want to see a border line fist fight in the paint. You want the game in the 60’s.

    Just remember there are many ways to play the game. This KU team plays better fast, This team plays better when they take the low % midrange jump shot. The team plays better when they can fire away from 3 land.

    Next years team maybe different and require a different approach. Yet for now this team is it’s best when they run.

    And I say lets let them run.

  • @Bwag

    Re: your observation that HC didn’t try to rebound…

    Well, if you say so. That’s not what I saw the first half, and the FGA for KU were 27 first half, and 27 the second half, suggests KU’s tempo didn’t change much. To reiterate, I didn’t see what you saw the first half, and I didn’t see much of the second half. So: I have tried to rethink the game recognizing what you testify to. After trying to integrate your observation, I have come out with this altered interpretation.

    What I saw the first half was Holy Cross running the Princeton, shooting the trey very well at 54%, and shooting decently from the field overall at 48%, but HC was making too many TOs because of KU’s defensive pressure, while KU was shooting 80% from trey. The second half Princeton went ice cold and KU stayed pretty warm.

    The game was decisively determined by hot shooting and KU’s defense, not by KU forcing tempo, if it did, which its constant FGA numbers both halves don’t suggest.

    Holy Cross wasn’t as good as KU in any phase of the game, and shot horribly the second half.

    KU shot the lights out over all.

    One might ask how KU, on a once every few seasons shooting night,maybe even once every 5 years, did not win by more than 92-59 after shooting 60% from trey, 63% overall, and 100% from the FT line?

    The answer?

    KU turned it over 15 times; had it stripped from them 8 times; and was +5 on fouling against a much slower team, and with a home whistle on top of everything.

    Revised bottom line?

    Get ready for this, for I likely could only say this about any but a Self team.

    Note: Self teams are prone to the strangest quantitative anomalies of any teams that I have ever watched.

    In a 92-59 blow out, KU actually didn’t play very good basketball.

    They just shot the lights out.

    If KU really did force the tempo as you say they did, they discovered that they don’t play too well at that tempo, and perhaps ought to either get better at that tempo, or slow it down. Capice?

    Take away KU’s scalding hot shooting, and a team playing the kind of ball KU played would be ripe for an upset by a Princeton team, or any other kind of team.

    Very, very, VERY strange game to analyse

    Thanks for making me rethink it.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @Bwag

    Re: rebounding- Holy Cross head coach said in his post game that he told his team to not even pursue offensive rebounds…he wanted all 5 falling back immediately to stop transition points.

    “I actually told the team, ‘Do not go near an offensive rebound,’” Carmody said. “‘A shot goes up, just get back.’ And they still beat us down the court a lot.”

    Holy Cross postgame

  • @SoftballDad2011 I think I said that during game chat.

  • Banned


    Get used to KU shooting lights out. As they are indeed a great shooting team.

  • @DoubleDD

    You took the kool aid.

    It takes about 12 more hours and another game for it to wear off.

    Now, I am going to talk you down off the ledge.

    Repeat after me: “Even though I can see sounds and hear colors, no team in the history of basketball has averaged 50-60% from trey. God is my co-pilot, not the kool aid.”


  • Banned


    Ok, “Even though I can see sounds and hears colors, no team in the history of basketball has averaged 50-60% from trey. God is my co-pilot, not kool aid.”

    Um, @jaybate-1.0 “God just told me all things are possible with him.”

    Is it really that impossible to think that a team can shoot 50-60% trey? I’m not saying KU will but geez you act like the sky is falling because KU is shooting the ball so well. Like somehow the bottom is going to fall out or something. Problem is @jaybate-1.0 KU can’t play the high/low as they don’t a big that can score with his back to the basket. I don’t know maybe Diallo in time can learn but he’s already lost so much time because of the stupid NCAA suspension.

    NBA shooting threes

    You see two NBA teams shooting over 40%, and so many more are close.

    These kids can shoot

    This one should open you’re eyes? As the amount of kids that are shooting over 40% from three land.

    So you see KU shooting 50% from trey land isn’t as farfetched as one might thing. An incredible feat yes but not impossible.

  • @DoubleDD Law of averages says the bottom will drop out at some point. KU is due for a shooting slump. I’d rather it start sooner than later. The sky is not falling and this is a good team, but the bottom is about to drop out on this shooting. Big 12 teams will not give up as many open threes. Players of higher caliber than HC’s team will close out better, force the spot up shooters off their spots, and stick to scouting reports on the trey gunners.

    Two not so bold predictions:

    1. Greene will not shoot 89% from three for the year.
    2. Selden will not shoot 60% from three for the year.

    This is the basis of the fools gold comment that gets overlooked. Self in no way was trying to discount the great shooting of his players. He just didn’t want them to get comfortable shooting so well. He wanted them prepared for when eventually they would miss shots.

    Self does not hate made shots. He is in a constant struggle to win over the minds of young men and convince them that defense isn’t as susceptible to the nasty law of averages as shooting from 21 feet away.

    Ask almost any coach and they will tell you players tend to relax on defense after making a few shots in a row. It is only natural to feel good about yourself and lose a little of the defensive edge.

  • @benshawks08

    I agree that the %'s will come back down to earth at some point but this team could still be one of the top 10 3pt shooting teams in the country if the numbers drop.

    You have 4 guys (Selden, Mason, Graham, & Greene) who are all very capable of shooting at least 40% from 3 this year. Selden & Greene could flirt close to 50% the way they are shooting.

    A major difference so far with this team is how they share the ball to get open looks. If they continue to share the ball with success I’m imagining we will find ways to get open shots for our shooters.

  • @benshawks08 especially when they are putting 3 fingers to their head while their man is headed to the goal. Don’t think that will happen again!

  • @DoubleDD said:

    Is it really that impossible to think that a team can shoot 50-60% trey?

    Season average? Yes.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Unfortunately I think it will happen again! Either that or a guy takes himself completely out of the play after assuming the shot will go in while it’s in the air (see Devonte last year, The Warriors this year). Fun when it works. STUPID when it doesn’t!

  • @BeddieKU23 You said “You have 4 guys (Selden, Mason, Graham, & Greene) who are all very capable of shooting at least 40% from 3 this year. Selden & Greene could flirt close to 50% the way they are shooting.”

    Very true. Ellis also shot 40% last season.

    We have guy on staff that shot 50% from three his senior season, Aaron Miles.

    But I definitely think 45% is doable for both Selden and Greene. Selden’s shot looks terrific. He is shooting himself into the first round.

    Living by the three is less risky than living by the post feed with this team. It was the same last season.

    What we have different this season that might satisfy coach Self is creating shots in the paint by playing fast (vs. the “bad ball” perpetual weave, drive it 80% of the time).

    Living by the three and playing fast, getting easy baskets that way might just do it offensively as far as our coach is concerned.

  • @HighEliteMajor I thought about you watching the HC game when we started the weave. Then we used it to get a wide open three! I saw that a couple of times that game. Don’t hate the weave when it’s getting the shots you want!

  • @benshawks08 Oh, I love the weave. Don’t get me wrong. It was just at the end of last season we were using to way, way too much – perpetually. It seemed like our base offense sometimes.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    It has been done before…


    (Min. 100 made) 50.8%—Indiana, 1987 (130 of 256)

    (Min. 150 made) 50.0%—Mississippi Val., 1987 (161 of 322)

    (Min. 200 made) 49.2%—Princeton, 1988 (211 of 429)

  • Banned

    I guess my logic is that on most occasions a team on average has 1 maybe 2 players that can really shoot a 3 for a high average.

    Yet as @BeddieKU23 pointed out we have 4 in Mason, Selden, Graham, and Greene. That doesn’t include SVI or Perry.

    Logic being sure a shooter can go cold but pure numbers meaning shooters in this case should overcome when a Selden isn’t quite feeling it. What I also like is that this KU team just doesn’t chuck 3’s to shoot 3’s. The majority of 3’s taking by KU are indeed in the flow of the game and good shots.

    However as @HighEliteMajor pointed out it’s not just about just shooting the three, yet the pace with which KU plays is the determining factor. KU pushing the ball has shown they are tough to beat, because even when the shots aren’t falling they can weather the storm until they do. I’m also a firm believer that our bigs play better and have better games when KU pushes the pace. For some reason when coach slows the game down and wants to go inside KU struggles.

    The three is no gimmick offense weapon. Used properly and there is no defense.

  • Banned

    I would also like to add when KU plays that talented team that decides to focus on shutting down the 3 ball? Well then coach will be able to run is High/low to perfection. As the opposing team will have to put so much effort in stopping the 3, thereby leaving the paint open for the C5 to feast.

  • @DoubleDD

    The three is no gimmick offense weapon. Used properly and there is no defense.

    However, when the shots are not falling you have to do something else or else you are doomed. Look at UK at UCLA, the outside shot was not working and they dug themselves an early grave…or ISU against Iowa…if you don’t count Thomas Matt…Thomas who? who went 6-9 from 3, the rest of the team shot 3-21 from the 3. In the second half the team shot 4-17 from 3 and got much better result going inside…and ISU is a good 3 point shooting team.

  • Banned


    Yea but UK doesn’t have the shooters KU does. Also as for the Clones they pushed the pace of the game. This is what I’ve been saying from the beginning. Sure there will be nights when the shots won’t fall, but you know what? This current KU team looks just as bad trying to pound the ball inside. Just look at last year. Need I say more?

    Yet when KU gets out and run they are very hard to beat. Just look at the WUG’s. There were nights were KU wasn’t hitting the shots but it was them pushing the pace that won the WUG’s.

    It wasn’t pounding the ball inside.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I saw none of the first half.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Thanks for getting us those numbers.

    I stand corrected.

    50.8% for a right tail tops is something I can live with.

    It’s rare, but possible.

    Other right tail highs nesting near it suggest 52-60% are beyond probable hope, unless something has changed that is not yet apparent.

    I do expect we should see that right tail high edge up some, if teams stack up with more Trey ballers.

    But 55-60 would require quite a sea change, or one huge rare anomaly.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Interesting. What changed after 1988 to stop those peaks?

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Th original 3-point line was introduced in the 1986-1987 season at 19’-9" and in 207 it was extended to 20’-9".

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