What Is the Duke and UK Secret to Signing so Many Draft Choice PGs and Centers?

  • Self has a team soon to be ranked first that lacks an OAD draft choice PG, or center.

    Self has 5 4s staffing the 5.

    He has never been able to sign such OAD draft choice players at 1’and 5 in his KU tenure.

    Early on it may have been because he was a young coach without a ring.

    But why now? Winningest coach for five years. .820 for 11 years. A ring. 11 straight conference titles. Lots of guys coached up to draft choices. Even Andrew at 3 on his resume.

    But no OAD point guards or centers.


    Imagine how many more games and rings he would win with such players.



    What are they doing?

  • @jaybate-1.0 Wait: what about Josh Selby? #1 Rivals.

  • @ParisHawk He is one reason why we have had a hard time signing top players since. Other coaches, handlers, parents, Agents (just kidding) have used his relative lack of success against us.

  • @jaybate-1.0 The Bragg / Diallo debate that we have all been having is part of the equation. I’ll let you handle the footwear part of all of this…

  • @ParisHawk

    Yes, and exceptions can prove rules. Self only got him when UTenn imploded. Sloppy seconds don’t really count.

  • Jo-Jo was a OAD center

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I put most of the blame on the hi/lo. That just isn’t in sync with todays’ game and the next step: NBA.

    If you are a star PG what are you looking for in a school? You want to go where your talents will be showcased and where you will continue to refine your game. Not a lot of PGs are OADs, so star PGs want to know that they will develop right for the NBA if they need to stay multiple years in D1.

    This is changing. We are focusing away from the hi/lo, and just use it as an option when facing certain teams and situations. We are seeing more of a motion offense using several strategies, including the dribble-drive.

    Question is: Is Self changing because he simply doesn’t have any back-to-the-basket scorers? Or is he starting to realize his recruiting efforts are drying up because recruits aren’t interested in the hi/lo?

    As far as 5s go… most 5s want to be the next Kevin Durant. Even if there is no way they could ever develop into being another Kevin Durant, they still have that ambition. And if they are a star 5 recruit, then chances are it isn’t because of their back-to-the-basket moves. Who the heck in HS has those moves? Right… VERY FEW OR NONE! The fact that they don’t bring those skills with them to college should be all the indication we need to not use an offense heavily focused on back-to-the-basket scoring.

    Just watch some NBA. The game is hardly played in the paint now. Back-to-the-basket is being replaced with “finishing at the rim”… more like how we sometimes use Jamari Traylor. That guy couldn’t make 20% of his attempts with back-to-the-basket moves, but get him facing the basket with space to drive, and he can use his quickness in the post to sometimes finish a drive off the glass.

    This is just one more reason why I want to sign Udoka. Here is a guy that better be looking REALISTICALLY at his NBA potential. Big, wide bodies like his hardly exist any longer and there is a reason for that. His game is in the post and he could really develop his offensive post presence at Kansas.

    But all the other D1 schools hard after him are probably trying to convince him he is the next Kevin Durant… feeding the ego while they offer him a very inferior opportunity.

  • Duke admissions demand an accumulative 34 on your ACT’s. Do the basketball players also have to be held to the highest standards for entry? KU admissions is accumulative 24.

  • @jayhawk-007

    Not when recruited. The consensus was he was a project that had to change high schools to get playing time.

    Embiid was one of the rare nonlinear developing 5s.

    It’s really only because of Embiid’s freakishly fast and unexpected development that Skal and Diallo were hyped into being projected 30 mpg OADs instead of sushis in the first place.

    The lesson of OADs increasingly should be:




    They can either perform at a D1 level, or not.


    Wiggins definitely did not improve. Self finally took the team saddle off him, which he wasn’t ready for, for whatever reason, put it on the anomaly of Embiid and let Wigs do what he could, or was willing, to do.

    This defines all the successful OAD that UK and Duke have had. NArrow scoping roles with 2ADs to go in and do what they could not do. Okafor was almost two dimensional in his role: score and rebound against weak inside teams. Guard the post only against strong teams inside.

    Strangely, with few exceptions, OADs are really a kind of glamorous, but narrowly scoped role player in D1.

    They are needed for flexible MUA, when extra athleticism, or some particular array of skill they Possess without development is needed.

    But even the best ones are only rarely cornerstones.

    Remember: Anthony Davis went 1-10 against junior Jeff Withey, and Okafor completely disappeared the second half against UW’s footer.

    OADs are necessary role players to go deep regularly, but only intermittently essential to winning it all.

    It’s kind of counter intuitive, but nonetheless how it has shaken out.

  • Good post.

    I agree in general, but PT does improve the OAD’s performance over the course of a season. And the more they play, the better they get. How much better is variable.

    Jo-Jo is truly a freak of nature in all regards. I still think Coach could have trained a little more Alpha Dog into Wigs rather than letting him be one of five. I still cannot believe he only took 5 or 6 shots in that loss to Stanford.

    What is your thinking on our two young freshmen? Role-players as part of the composite five?

  • @wrwlumpy

    Based on Dubya getting admitted to Yale u-grad and Harvard bidness grad school, and graduating from both, I have had to come to view admissions and matriculation in private universities, as significantly discretionary.

    Notre Dame was famous/infamous for reputedly building major periods of its football dynasty on discretionary admissions reputedly further bolstered by a feeder system of Catholic high schools reputedly willing and able to practice discretionary academics, during periods, when the almighty weighed in decisively as a football fan.

    Stanford has reputedly long practiced discretionary admissions in between paroxysms of public claims of admissions rigidity.

    Rigidly high standards of admissions at times seems a cover–a kind of propaganda almost–to obscure the exceptions made under the stuffy, typically self-serving rubric of life not being fair. 😄

    The sordid history of university admissions–public and private–appears that many, if not all, will do almost whatever it takes to achieve their “development” objectives; I.e., they will engage in screening out, or screening in, whatever they feel most net beneficial at given times. This discretionary trait enabled them, among other things, to spin off athletic departments into 501.c3s with straight faces, I suppose. And to contract with some petroshoecos and not others, and apparently subordinate to the NBA.

    Also, Board rats appear sometimes to forget that universities did not just deny Black athletes access for a few centuries. They denied black students access for a few centuries. And now they are complicit in turning students they do admit into debt slaves. Oh my.

    Why would Duke, a school with a carcinogenic based endowment, Dick Nixon as a shining alumnus, located in a region with a chattel slavery legacy preference, and a continuing rigorous devotion to local autonomy, whilst pursuing access to the Federal hog trough, and apparently serviced by dump trucks of late, be expected to be a paragon of rigidity in Academic admissions for athletes over time?

  • @jaybate-1.0 When Embiid signed with KU he was a top 100 pick. By January he was a top 50 pick. By the time the season ended Embiid was a top 5 recruit and the first or second best center in his class.

  • @MoonwalkMafia

    Exactly, how many Top 50-100 players are expected to go in the top 15 of the draft, after their first season of D1? Heck, how many Top 50-100 players are expected to start instantly and be a 30 mpg guy for an elite major? Not many I reckon. The cupboard really has to be bare at the elite major and the Top 50-10 player has to be something of a surprise in how developed he was.

    Embiid was ranked so high, because despite being sushi from over seas, he was a real footer who could run the floor, even though he didn’t have much of a skill set. He was the definition of a high ceilinged project, as I recall it.

    Embiid had played behind a player his junior year of high school that WAS a projected OAD and supposedly NOT a project. If I recall correctly, he was Dakari Johnson. He went to UK I recall and apparently got lost in the dump trucks apparently tipping there. But that is another story about the unreliability of the Top 100 rankings and the fall out from apparent recruiting asymmetries.

    Back to Joel, who was reputedly in Florida in high school.

    Embiid reputedly transferred to get to a high school, where he would not be stuck behind Dakari.

    Roberts, while assisting at Florida, reputedly connected with Joel early, and then reputedly brought that contact with him when Roberts rejoined Self’s staff. Ouch!!! Sorry, Billy.

    Self reputedly saw Joel’s wheels once, and said he had rare footwork for a big and thought he could be a great one.

    Still, Joel was reputedly considered a project that needed to be “coached up” and that was part of the attraction of Self to Joel. Self had worked with Sasha Kaun, a foreign big man who had high schooled in Florida, too. Self was then recognized as a guy that had taken several raw big men, like Thomas Robinson, and Jeff Withey, and coached them up to being NBA draft choices and players. Joel found that appealing.

    Note: this leaves out all of the petroshoeco-agency complex dynamics that never really became transparent. All that can be said with confidence on that count is that Joel chose a coach and a school contracted with adidas and reputedly signed with adidas after being drafted.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    The reality is that there are fewer players playing the 5 than before and the trend is very evident in the NBA where most of the bigs are now playing PF or Stretch PFs and there are maybe half a dozens starting players listed as Centers. HS players follow these trends and most that a few years ago would have been playing the 5, now prefer to play the 4. A lot less true centers available at the college level and most are now foreigners,.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    What is interesting along the lines you correctly outline is how the NBA would use Big Russ, Wilt, Jabbar, Willis Reed, David Robinson, Manute Bol Pat Ewing, and Olajuwan, now, if they had them?

    Wouldn’t it be wild seeing none of them playing in the paint–all of them running all over the court not being nearly as big of scoring threats as they could be.

    What weird alternative universe our big men of today are inhabiting.

  • @JayHawkFanToo said:

    A lot less true centers available at the college level and most are now foreigners,.

    I noticed UCI has a good center in the Greek guy. He looks like someone that can play true 5 in the NBA. His got size too. Lucas, at first, I thought would be our true 5.

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