• MEMO

    TO: Coaching Staff

    From: Bill Self

    RE: Defense against Toledo


    Next practice Midnight tonight.

    Bring trash barrels.

  • Once again a poor 3 pt shooting team goes off on KU. 9 for 16.

    Correction, looks like an average 3 pt shooting team at 34% and goes for 56% tonight.

  • @brooksmd–I took a gander at the box score. While you are right to point out Toledo’s hot trey hands, Toledo only took two more treys than KU did. This means that a lot of Toledo’s production was coming inside, mid range and transition. A very short team shot 46.4 FG% overall against KU’s long and athletics! Knock out the trey attempts and trey makes and Toledo shot 44% against our team full of giants! This was a truly embarrassing defensive performance. Even when a mid major like Toledo has a hot hand outside, KU’s L&A should be able to hold a mid major to 35% inside the trey stripe. The players just are not buying into Self defense.

    And consider this: KU shot 50% from trey and 56% overall and only won by 10. If KU had shot its average from trey so far this season, the game could have been a nail biter, or an upset.

    I realize that KU often struggles guarding short teams without fouling, but their size has tended to take away an opponent’s inside game. But the defense of our bigs on these guys was pretty bad, and Embiid, Wiggins and Selden–the three freshmen, all struggled guarding with 3.

    Another bizarre stat was that Tarick Black got 0 defensive rebounds!

    Finally, our TOs were just horrendous! Embiid and Wiggins had 3, Selden 4, and Tharpe had 5. Overall, KU had EIGHTEEN turnovers. Putrid.

    I haven’t even bothered to talk about the Distruption Stat with this team, because they are such a young team and don’t know how to play defense. They are struggling just to stay with their own men. They can’t begin to think about stealing possessions with strips and blocks. But look at the Disruption Stat ((steals + blocks)/TOs) for this game. Just ghastly.

    TU: 12/8 KU: 10/18

    A Disruption Stat >1 is good. A Disruption Stat <1 means trouble.

    Remember, Toledo is a BAD defensive team that is not as long and athletic as KU.

    Tiny Toledo was disrupting KU more than KU was disrupting Toledo.

    But the statistic to end all statistics is Toledo got 10 steals on KU!!!

    Just mind boggling.

    Self will probably maintain an even strain publicly, because the guys probably had dead legs from practicing, but bad defense and bad ball handling against a mid major must be very disheartening to Self, after this much practice.

  • Defense and turnovers. Other than that, I thought they played well.

  • Addendum 1:

    KU’s bench was a mixed bag this game. Traylor, Black and Mason each committed the unpardonable sin of a player coming off Self’s bench: each made one TO. When you come of the bench, the prime directive is “do no harm.” They violated the prime directive. After practically winning the game vs. Georgetown, the bench combined for only a modest 10 points, but to their credit got on the glass and grabbed 9 rebounds.

    Addendum 2: Score one for Jesse Newell on correctly analyzing the “free throw defense” data and drawing the correct inference. Opponents bad FT shooting so far this season was apparently a random occurrence and Toledo marks the end of the random run of bad FT shooting. The team now has to brace for a run of above average free throw shooting against arguably much better upcoming opponents. Gulp.

  • There were defensive lapses, yeah, but Toledo made some pretty high-degree-of-difficulty shots in the lane, and they were extremely confident letting it fly from three. They weren’t slouches. Lots of room for improvment on D, but I’ll take the overall effort. I’m glad our shots fell.

  • Yes, our defense wasn’t there. Toleio is undefeated though and would not go away. They are a very good team and they will make noise in the tourney. I’m just glad we faced them in AFH. It was fun to watch at times but Toledo impressed me-they never quit. Liked our offense but man at times our defense just wasn’t there.

  • @approxinfinity I would agree. KU’s defense definitely could have been better but I didn’t think it was that horrific. Toledo is a decent team and they made some tough shots. Toledo ended up scoring 3 fewer points than their season average, and they didn’t go to the line nearly as much as they normally do. Granted, KU is much bigger and more athletic than any team Toledo has played this season so you would expect them not to be as potent offensively.

    Honestly though, I was more irked by the turnovers. 18 turnovers and a lot of them weren’t forced. Just KU being careless with the basketball.

  • Keeping a little with jb’s theme here – our starting 1 and 2 guards, Tharpe and Selden – have combined for a whopping 12 steals this entire season. Yikes. Mason has 9 by himself in less minutes. Team leader in steals is … drum roll please … Joel Embiid. Talk about the world upside down.

    I am becoming increasingly concerned with our inability to turn the ball over out front – and an inability to disrupt (sticking with that terminology). We seem just seem to lack aggressiveness out front with Tharpe and Selden. Both seem play without a lot of fire defensively.

    Could it be the new rules? I don’t know.

    But watching the way the game was officiated tonight, it was pretty much just like last season. It was like night and day compared to games earlier this season.

  • Was pleased to see Tharpe take over this team. Loved the fact that we shot 3 pointers and made 3 pointers. We are starting to turn the corner. I see why Toledo was undefeated coming into this matchup. They hustle and really fight for the ball in the paint. We will hit our stride sooner or later.

  • @HighEliteMajor those numbers put things in perspective. Coming into the season I thought our on ball D had the potential to be lethal. I’ve been yearning to a return of leash free RussRob pressure and Mario passing-lane-jumping since 2008. Got excited seeing the full court pressure rolled out but it hasn’t developed over the course of the season.

  • Tonight’s results:

    70% Growing Pains 30% Modest Gains

    First, the pains… defense defense defense (lack of). I don’t know if we will ever be able to take this team seriously. Since when do we see mid-majors come into AFH and hang over 80 points? I’d give some defensive credit to Embiid and Wiggins. Everyone else needs to run all night until they need Jaybate’s trash cans.

    Other pain… a few dumb TOs, especially in the beginning. Fortunately, we settled down (for the most part).

    Next, the gains… Tharpe stepped up. He had a few dumb TOs, but otherwise he ran the show. Thank goodness he punched down 20, because if he didn’t we would have lost our 67 game streak. The idea coming from KUSports… that Tharpe doesn’t need to score is absolutely ludicrous. If you ever think a team can count on only 4 guys generating all the points every single time out on the floor, you can forget a deep run in March. Even PGs have to be a threat to score or your offense is playing 4 on 5.

    Embiid continues to show more every game. It was good to see Perry putting out effort on offense and boards (though his d is lacking). Same for Wiggins. He still doesn’t know enough on how to score, but he took it hard to the hole several times.

    Our offense is showing modest improvements. We can expect a lot more over the next couple of weeks.

    But seriously… if this team doesn’t start playing defense we can forget B12 #10 and a deep run in March! To put in perspective, this Toledo team would have hung no more than mid-60s on last year’s team. I’m sure of that.

    Self should lock these guys up in the film room for 24 hours and make them watch all the Shocker games this year. We didn’t get a single floor burn this game.

    Coach HEM nailed it with his stats on steals. Pathetic.

  • Self said Def was atrocious, Nuff said.

  • Toledo is a solid team that played above its average and would have beaten most any other teams.

    Let’s face it, they were not intimidated by AFH and took it to KU scoring a fair number of point inside and hitting well guarded shots from the outside. The main problem KU had, IMHO, were turnovers, many of them unforced or a result of overconfidence and not protecting the ball.

    Toledo shot below its season average from the field, but the 3 point shooting was almost 40% higher that its season average. If not for the torrid 3 point shooting, this would have been a 20+ point win. I would be curious to know how many points Toledo scored off the KU turnovers.

  • @JayHawkFanToo - Not many teams are going to be intimidated if we’re committing 18 turnovers and not playing defense.

  • No question that our overall defense, lack of steals, and turnovers is a significant issue. Good points, though, on the degree of difficulty on some of their shots. It seemed like they threw up around 5 or 6 shots that I though had no chance of going in…but they did. They are a pretty good team, I think. I, for one, probably under-rated them based on their schedule.

  • Specifically, I am more concerned with the turnovers than the defensive lapses, at this stage. Bill Self will patch the defense, sooner or later. Puke buckets will overflow until this young group attains defensive supremacy. The turnovers go deeper into the realm of personal responsibility…a ho-hum carelessness which stems from the roots of psychological imprint. What this squad might need most is a pair of really solid bench contributors who can be counted on to respond carefully and dependably when Coach institutes the quick yank for starters who display carelessness with the ball.

  • My thoughts…

    I’m really pulling for Brannen Greene to do something, anything so that he can make some progress and be beneficial to us later in the year. When he played last night, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a player more tentative. It seems clear that he’s afraid of making a mistake because he’ll get yanked as soon as he does. Clearly he’s playing without confidence. To me, this is about as big of a mistake as Self can make. It reminds me of last year when the same thing happened with AWIII at the beginning of the season, and then when we needed him against Oklahoma St. down by 8, Self said, “alright kid, go in there and hit a couple threes.” White did surprisingly well in that situation, but that’s not the point. It helps that Selden and Tharpe shot fairly well, but Greene’s strength–and White and CF for that matter–is shooting the ball. 3-4 consistent shooters is better than 1-1.5. Got to let shooters shoot.

    It is somewhat alarming that we were only able to force 8 turnovers last night, but Toledo takes care of the ball. I think they’re averaging 5 or so a game. And quite frankly, Toledo made some shots that you’d be fine with them taking for the most part. I’m well aware that they were given some wide open shots from inside the arc, but they made some shots from 35 feet out that were ridiculous and well-defended.

    On the officiating. I think that this game was called just like it was last year. Which is nice, but what happens next game when the next officiating crew calls a foul for the slightest contact? Personally, I can’t stand these rules. Players have to ignore what they’ve been taught all their lives, come to college and forget all that, then go to the NBA (if they can) and go back to what they’ve been taught all along. It’s asinine. Anyways, what these rules SERIOUSLY lack is consistency. And wow is it bad. When Embiid and that Toledo player got tangled up, it looked like a wrestling match. Um, you’ve got to call something there. The lack of consistency hurts players getting used to the new rules. There was one time when you could tell that Perry didn’t know what to do in the offensive post because he couldn’t tell what was going to be called. He expected a call and he played it that way, then we didn’t get the call (which typically would’ve been with the way the new rules have been enforced) and it turned into a turnover.

    Would like to see KU continue to develop, and tighten up the defense because if they thought the Non-conf. schedule was bad, they’re getting ready to go at an entirely different animal in the Big 12.


  • I wonder … this might be a good defensive team.

    Maybe we’re just playing the wrong defense?

    How many wing passes have you seen denied? Not many. We don’t cause turnovers. And the new rules have at least tempered the in your face mentality that was a staple of Self’s defensive philosophy. I question whether this team will ever be above average defensively.

    The best defense for this team, as it’s structured, might be zone. In fact, I’m pretty confident that it is.

    Self, though, is a system guy. He doesn’t structure his system to fit his talent; he makes the talent run his system.

    Ok, so if Self is going to stick with man, and this team won’t be above average, what’s left?

    We have to outscore opponents, right? We have to put the ball in the hoop at a higher rate. That is the answer. Titles can be won that way.

    But it brings me back to an old topic – three point shooting. To win a title, and do it by outscoring teams (meaning not as defensive based), you have to shoot the three.

  • @MoonwalkMafia - I am going to repost your first paragraph because it is brilliant. Perfect summary. Coach Self is a masterful coach. No doubt. And it’s hard to argue with him on most things. But over the years, I have become convinced that misuse use of subs is his biggest weakness – meaning, as well, that he does exactly what he did last night – he latches on to his top 6 guys and believes they are the only ones that can perform. He puckers up, so to speak and can’t move outside of his comfort zone until absolutely forced to do something different (your Ok. St. example with AW3 is a good one). He gets subs so gun shy that they can’t get relaxed, and can’t perform – this effects shooters more than any other skill. “Got to let shooters shoot” as you say. And he refuses to play them enough minutes to become comfortable. I firmly believe that Self’s mismanagement of subs has cost him at least one title (2011), while his masterful bench management got us to the final game in 2012 (when we had no business really getting that far – best coaching job I’ve seen).

    @jaybate has watched a lot of hoops. He accurately noted above the prime directive to subs under Self – “do no harm.” Tell me though, how does that inspire peak performance? It doesn’t.

    Do we lose last night if Wayne Selden was out with the flu and Brannen Greene or AW3 played all of his minutes? Of course not.

    Here’s the perfect summary from @MoonwalkMafia -

    I’m really pulling for Brannen Greene to do something, anything so that he can make some progress and be beneficial to us later in the year. When he played last night, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a player more tentative. It seems clear that he’s afraid of making a mistake because he’ll get yanked as soon as he does. Clearly he’s playing without confidence. To me, this is about as big of a mistake as Self can make. It reminds me of last year when the same thing happened with AWIII at the beginning of the season, and then when we needed him against Oklahoma St. down by 8, Self said, “alright kid, go in there and hit a couple threes.” White did surprisingly well in that situation, but that’s not the point. It helps that Selden and Tharpe shot fairly well, but Greene’s strength–and White and CF for that matter–is shooting the ball. 3-4 consistent shooters is better than 1-1.5. Got to let shooters shoot.

  • @HighEliteMajor You go back to the Dook game, where a confident, poised Greene rips off 5 points in two minutes compared to now where he comes in, passes the ball three times around the perimeter and sits the rest of the game. He played 5 minutes without attempting a shot. I don’t have any brilliant analysis or conclusions to explain it - I would think a 6’7" guard with a smooth shot would be a good thing. If he isn’t going to use Greene to win games, maybe he could use him to teach Mr. Wigs how to throw a decent pass. My gosh, how many lazy passes does Andrew throw a game that result in either a t.o., or a near t.o.?

  • @KUSTEVE I have thought this way for a bit – “Wiggins Rules”. There are different rules for Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins commits two turnovers in our first three possessions vs. Georgetown, and a turnover in our second possession last night. As if this doesn’t happen.

    I say that, but watching last night, I feel the same way about Selden. How many times is he lackadaisical? Not coming to receive a pass? He has two turnovers and a foul in the first two minutes last night (though I thought one TO was Tharpe’s fault … I was at the game and only saw this stuff once/couldn’t record it as I don’t have TWC).

    Wiggins plays 38 minutes, Selden 29 minutes.

    But these guys don’t fear getting yanked. They play through it. And at least Wiggins is performing.

  • My opinion on why Greene isn’t getting more minutes…

    Because Self wants his bench to earn more minutes by hustling on defense. If Greene wants to get into the rotation, he’s got to man up on d. No one is getting a promotion unless they bring d. It is the main reason why Embiid won his starting spot.

    I guarantee one thing right now… if anyone on this team has the fortitude to get out there and play some strong d, that guy will earn minutes. If Nico or Justin… anyone steps up on d, they earn PT right now because the only d we are seeing right now is some team d by Embiid and some decent man-on-man by Wiggins (and only sometimes). No one else has a clue what they are doing on defense. I really haven’t seen this bad of Kansas defensive play since way back in a few of the Ted Owens’ years, when we were in a recruiting slump.

  • @HighEliteMajor I fear that not only has this mismanagement of KU’s bench and talent cost us so far this year, but will continue to cost us games and players.

    If you’re Andrew White’s parents, do you tell him to transfer? It would be hard for me not to if I was. We’re about 1/3 of the way through the season, and do you see him cracking the rotation anytime soon? Not really. It’s as if Self has forgotten about him, or he knows something we don’t.

    Another thing that continues to irritate me is that people keep pointing to Greene’s defense as a reason why he’s not playing… Nobody on this team is playing outstanding defense right now, so that argument holds very little validity. I still don’t think that Selden necessarily provides a better option at the 2. I just don’t see it. How is Greene or White not an equivalent or better option? And on the subject of the quick yank, how many times have you seen any KU player (take your pick this year) make a terrible mistake and get to stay in? Selden is mine. At what cost does Self continue this trend?

    I could not possibly agree with you more about Self’s mismanagement of of the rotation in 2011. And since we’re away from the Brady Morningstar fan club of, I feel pretty comfortable saying it. This defensive argument was made with him too. “Brady’s just a better defender.” I didn’t see it, and what he had to offer offensively wasn’t a good enough tradeoff. I see the parallel between then and now pretty clearly.

  • You are right @MoonwalkMafia … only Embiid and Wiggins are playing a bit of d right now.

    If Greene had a bigger role in the rotation, he would be holding on to his minutes. If he was starting, he would continue to start. But he isn’t going to earn more minutes (on a regular basis) without earning them through his d.

    Self’s coaching philosophy is built around d. He always tries to promote through defensive efforts. His feeling is that if he promotes based on offense alone, he’ll be sending a message to the players to only focus on offense… most players will only focus on offense when given a choice.

    I know what Bill Self is hoping for right after the New Year… he’s hoping for a grind game with SDSU where both teams score in the 50s and we win by controlling the game for most of it, and we finish strong. It’s more like a fantasy dream because it probably won’t happen.

  • @HighEliteMajor-regarding Greene and inexperienced players not getting to play enough to develop…

    “Do no harm” does not instill peak performance from subs. If he can find subs that do no harm, then he instills starters with peak performance, and puts those starters in the position of having to not spend a lot of time catching up from the mistakes of the subs.

    Self does not need, or want, peak performance out of his subs. He wants no harm, so that the peak performance of his best players, which tend to be better than other team’s best players, can win.

    When Self says it does not matter whether you start, or substitute; that means that what matters is that you fulfill the role that a winning team needs.

    What this team needs right now to increase its chances of winning is not more scoring. They shot 50% from trey and 56% overall. This team came out of the birth canal being able to score.

    What this team needs is guys that can guard and protect.

    When Self has to start four guys like Tharpe, Selden, Wiggins and Embiid,that are threats to make 3-5 TOs/game in order to get their impact plays on both ends, he can ill afford to have Greene, or anyone else come in and make three as subs, or commit defensive breakdowns, or shoot long balls when the team is scoring 56% or better inside.

    I am quite sure that Brannen would be starting and making 3-5 TOs per game if Selden had not come. But Selden did come and so Self cannot afford another 3-5 TOs per game and 3-5 defensive breakdowns per game and hope to win games.

    I am sure Self wishes the starters would start protecting so he could afford to play Brannen more. His wrath is probably much more focused on those starters keeping Brannen off the floor than at Brannen.

  • @jaybate 1.0 Thanks for the rebuttal. Coach is not infallible, but there is something called practice that we are not allowed to attend. Four coaches know who can defend and who can’t. The forging of steel still starts at practice. A close game with one of the highest scoring teams in the country is not a time to let those who have not shown in practice that they can guard, be forgiven several times before they are pulled. If that were true, then Jeremy Case should have been a starter for 4 years. People wanted Rio to play more, people wanted Conner Teahan to play more as a Freshman. Losing games to let those who haven’t shown they can do it in practice, to allow them to get better is not and never will be Self’s M.O.

  • @MoonwalkMafia Absolutely the sentiments of many fans & students of the game. IMO the consistent wrath of Bill has slowed down the development of many kids in the past 10 years. Would I trade Bill? Hell no-no way.Would I tweak a little of his habits? Yes, without question. Guys just get set in their ways sometimes & won’t consider deviating status quo. But I know one thing FDS, subs are playing as tentative as I’ve ever seen them under Self & he’s got to get at least one more guy ( longer & leaner AW III or Greene) consistently in the rotation or this team may under achieve as much as any he’s put on the court. JMO. Though I’m not ready to fold the tent yet cause the talent is obviously apparent, but a couple of tougher Big 12 teams could very well derail another conf championship unless Bill lets another man get enough minutes to prove that Wigs & Selden aren’t the only freshman that can ball with the big boys. Other programs do this all the time, but Bill has a real tough time unless you are the golden child- Ben, X, Wigs, Josh, etc.

  • Players new to the program have to be given the opportunity to get their feet wet. 3 point assassins need teammates and coaches to believe in them. We have 3 players on our team right now that are not getting very many minutes, that are capable, if given permission and the opportunity, could come down the court and knock down 3-5 three pointers in a row. We know who they are, and hopefully one day in the near future, they will prove me right.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I don’t think it’s the officiating. I think its a style thing.

    The best way to create turnovers out top is to overplay passing lanes. At the D-1 level, most ballhandlers are good enough that you won’t get many steals from outright stripping them or picking their pocket on the dribble. That means the only way to consistently generate steal opportunities is to overplay passing lanes. RussRob and Mario did this to perfection. They just made life so difficult because they would both play passing lanes so well.

    Neither Selden or Tharpe plays in the passing lane. In fact, Selden rarely overplays at all. He is a good enough athlete to probably get away with some gambles here and there, but he plays straight up pretty much all the time. I don’t know if that is something that he has always done, or if it is strategic, but he doesn’t play the passing lanes aggressively. Naadir doesn’t do that either. Mason does overplay, and he has gotten some steals from that, although he probably gambles a little too much.

    Strategically, KU should probably push out a little further on the perimeter and try to be more disruptive than they have been so far this year. That starts with pressuring the passing lane, but again, this team defense has been poor. It’s almost as if they are unsure of the rotation rules defensively, so each individual plays on their own island rather than keeping everyone on the string defensively and creating pressure through sharp rotations and intelligent gambles.

    For example, Tharpe should be able to pressure the PG, knowing that if he gets beat on the drive, Embiid will swat it away. Embiid, then, should know he can protect the rim because Ellis or Wiggins will take away the front of the rim from his man when he rotates. Those guys should be able to do that because they trust Selden to cover up the kick out to the shooter in the short corner, or on the wing. But if that trust breaks down at any level, whether it’s Tharpe not pressuring because he doesn’t trust that Embiid has his back, or Embiid not committing to block the shot because he’s unsure if help will slide over to cover him, or the help not rotating because they don’t know that the kick out will be covered, EVERY LAYER REQUIRES TRUST.

    That trust has to be automatic. It’s not a thinking trust. It’s a blind trust. I go here because it’s my job to go here because my teammate will cover up the backside because it’s his job to cover up the backside and I know that I can do my job because he will do his. That’s how team defense works. Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work.

    Unfortunately, those rotations have been slow because guys either 1) aren’t sure where they should be or 2) aren’t sure their teammates will get to where they are supposed to be.

    I said in another thread that this KU team should be holding opponents to under 60 ppg. Wiggins is an elite defender. Probably the best perimeter defender under Self since Rush. Selden is as good as Releford was. Just solid in every aspect. Embiid is a better defender than Withey or Aldrich because of his mobility, although he is not the shotblocker that either of them was when they left KU. Ellis is another very solid defender in every respect. Tharpe and Mason are very solid defensively. Black is a very good post defender. Traylor is above average individually. White and Greene are both average defensively, and Greene could probably be slightly above average. This is a team of above average individual defenders, with two (Wiggins and Embiid) elite defensive players. They should be a destructive, suffocating defensive force along the lines of what Kentucky had a couple years ago with Davis, MKG and the rest of that group.

    That’s what they should be. What they are is just a bunch of individual defenders that can be beaten with execution because, too often, the rotations just aren’t there.

    If they clean up the rotations, this team could be absolutely DEVASTATING on both ends. Scary efficient offensively. Next to impossible to score on defensively, forcing contested two point jumpshots on a regular basis. That’s the vision for this squad. It’s just a matter of trust.

  • @drgnslayr @jaybate and @wrwlumpy - I have really tried to watch Greene on defense. He is generally not getting lost, he’s sticking with his man, he appears to be sliding properly to help, he has fought over screens. Better evidence of his sufficient defense in my mind is that Self played him for 14 minutes and 16 minutes in two straight games. If he was that deficient on the defensive end, that PT would have never happened. I really tried to pay attention to him and then rewatched his playing time. I’m not saying he’s an outstanding defender. I’m saying that he is certainly serviceable. Respectfully, I think the “defense” stuff with Greene is a red-herring. But tell me what you are seeing, specifically, that I’m missing. I thought Greene was pretty darn good against UNM, in particular. Then compare him to our perimeter players now. Look at last night from our perimeter defenders. There is not an appreciable difference right now.

    By comparison, Is anyone here really going to say that Selden is playing good defense? Serviceable, yes. @justanotherfan - You said he’s as good as Releford? I just don’t see anything near that right now. Does Selden’s intensity and level of play deserve 29 minutes? Tharpe is ok on D, but Mason is better – that’s pretty obvious, right?

    Greene got yanked vs. Georgetown because he made a turnover. Self went right to the bench (as usual) right after the turnover, as ball was coming down the court. And he never saw the court again. He had missed a three as well prior to the turnover.

    And @wrwlumpy’s comment on practice. Not sure if that’s the case. Self has many times said that certain players are performing excellent in practice. The practice thing is the ever elusive cloud in the sky that we can always refer to in an effort to explain what makes no sense. I’m not saying though that it might not be practice related. Self had said that he and Greene had to get on the same page on a few things, so that may be part of it. Who knows. But Self clearly has him ahead of AW3 and CF at least. And they were on the same page enough for Self to play him those 30 minutes vs. Florida and UNM.

    I’m not saying Greene is a cure-all. Not at all. I think most that read what I post know that. But it borderline crazy to me to tighten your rotation so much that you neglect other potential assets and options. Heck, AW3 or Frankamp might be the better option. Self appears to have put Greene ahead of those 3.

    Folks were talking about a 10 man rotation. I said that was psycho. I suggested an 8+ rotation was more likely. Now I’m the psycho. We had a 6 man rotation last night with 3 guys getting sporadic, fill-in type minutes.

    May I ask this question … what happens last night if Tharpe doesn’t have a hot shooting 3 point night? Say 1-5 instead of 4-5?

    Last night was the situation, vs. an aggressive mid-major, that could certainly arise in the NCAA tourney. It is how Kansas loses to mid-majors. We just happened to have an answer from 3. When we lose in the NCAA tourney, we are 6-23 from 3 vs. UNI, and 2-21 from 3 vs. VCU. Look at the VCU boxscore. It is scary similar to last night as far as minutes played.

    Do you want Self pulling Greene off the bench, sending him in with 2 minutes to go, saying “hit a few threes and pull us out of this”?

    I would much rather have Greene in that situation if he has been a regular rotation member; having been in the fire at Ames, or Stillwater. Wouldn’t you? Answer honestly – no Self Kool-Aid.

    @wrwlumpy said that “the forging of steel starts at practice.” Yes – starts.

    But as General Patton said – “pressure makes diamonds.” Perhaps more appropriate. We are playing for March and we need to marshal our assets, and have them ready when needed. I’ve said this before – before UNI, before VCU. The Michigan loss, that wasn’t the same dynamic.

    This heavily contracted rotation appears to me to be wildly short-sighted as it relates to the perimeter. But it isn’t even conference play yet. My concern lies with Self’s history in this regard. We can guess what’s coming.

  • @HighEliteMajor - I watch Greene, too. And he does okay, but he isn’t creating TOs or doing anything exceptional on d… but then, neither are the guys ahead of him. I just think the rotation is sticking this way until someone stands out on d.

    I like Greene, too, and can see your point.

    I don’t think it is anything any of us are seeing… more… what we aren’t seeing.

    If Greene reads this stuff online I’d tell him one thing… next time you get put in, make it memorable. Find an opportunity to go sliding for a ball, even if it isn’t completely a 50/50 ball. Just do it, and keep going after them. You’ll stay on the court, even if you rush a shot or throw a TO.

    I hope he does it because I’d like to see him playing more, too!

    Everything we need to know was in that press conference last night. Self is looking for defense.

    Imagine what this team would be if Kevin Young was still around? Mr. Hustle, showing the puppies how to get after it!

    The last day of the year and Self is chewing some fat, you can bet on that… too bad, because the fat belongs in the black-eyed peas!

  • @drgnslayr I think you make a great point on Greene needing to distinguish himself and him not doing anything exceptional. And man, if KY was our first post guy off the bench, that would be a perfect match for this team right now.

    Have a good new year, slayr, always enjoy the discussion.

  • Self has Tharpe and Ellis that understand D1 a little.

    He had three more slots to fill in the starting line up.

    He has made the choice the everyone has been begging him to make for years: he has picked three freshman to give huge PT to in order to “develop” them during games in hopes of having them ready by March. Everyone that loves watching freshman learn on the job should be orgasmic about what Self is doing–not one, or two, freshmen being allowed to bungle their way to experience, but THREE!!!

    If I were a member of the freshmen have to play their way into being ready for D1 choir, then I would already be lighting up my post orgasmic cigarette and dawning the long white robe and phoning for oysters on the half shell.

    Again, Self has three starting slots. He selects his best three freshman. I don’t see he is making a mistake here in choosing Selden and Greene. But I could make a case for Greene over Selden based on the benefits of a triacetate to go with a big man like Embiid.

    But Self has to make this call based on which player–Selden or Greene–is likely to develop the farthest by March? I believe it is a close call for Self, but Self is a defense first coach and is probably making the call based on which player is likely to become the toughest, soundest defensive player by March.

    Come March, when the whistles enter the dietary tracts of referees, who do you want playing muscle ball on the perimeter with Izzo’s boys? Selden, or Greene? Greene has attitude. But in comparison to Selden, if Selden can ever get untracked, Selden has a man’s body now, and Greene will have a man’s body in two seasons.

    Wiggins seems a no brain decision to play him through his vertical learning curve.

    So does Embiid now that he has reached critical mass of being able to be a 10-10 guy and maybe a 15-10 guy.

    So it comes down to Selden vs. Greene for PT.

    Many are screaming for more PT for Greene, but every minute you take away from Selden delays how fast he can be developed.

    Greene basically has to wait until Selden really is really ready to go. And as HEM has stated, Selden is not yet playing vastly better than Greene probably would if he were getting Selden’s minutes. Could Self be betting wrong on Selden? Could Selden get overwhelmed and bomb? Sure. But Selden is at that point of his development where the “play them to develop them choir” has to demand that he get all the minutes possible, at the expense of Greene, White, and Frankamp, or else be self-contradictory in their precept of playing guys to develop guys.

    Selden, if I recall correctly, was the higher ranked between he and Greene. So: those that are strong believers in the player rankings should also be ecstatic about Selden getting maximum minutes and Greene sucking hind teat on PT.

    Again, if Selden had not come, we would be talking about Greene being force fed the minutes and Self gambling to get him ready ASAP.

    But Selden came and so Self has had to make a choice.

    Selden has an NBA body now. Selden has lots of defensive muscle. Selden has some shooting ability from trey. Selden has hit a wall. Self is saying, no, sir, we are not going to stop letting Selden play to develop. Greene might have done just as well, but this team’s defense absolutely sucks and our only chance for a really tough defense is a fully “developed” Selden. With a fully developed Greene, we get a trey gun, but a skinny body that is not going to be up to dealing with Ratso Izzo’s soldiers in March. Or some of the long and strings that Calipari has assembled in Lexington.

    Greene will finally get incrementally more PT if he combines guarding, protecting, feeding the post reliably, and keeping the ball from sticking for a few consecutive games in whatever minutes he gets and then begins to make shots.

    Selden has hit a wall. Greene has been given some looks and done nothing to distinguish himself since his one bright shining moment.

    Self is all in on Selden.

    Selden is where he is willing to sink costs.

    For those wanting Greene to get more minutes, the key is Selden. The faster Selden “develops” while playing, the faster Self can afford to sink costs into Greene.

  • You, too, Coach HEM!

    To everyone in here, Have a rippin’ good time tonight!

    Be safe, and we’ll all make it to other side!

    Happy New Year!

  • Interesting board starting to take shape over here . . .

    I have to wonder about Greene’s inability to crack the rotation as noted several times above. The eye test doesn’t seem to coincide with the minutes the kid is getting but there are things that I’m not privy to that assuredly go into Coach’s decision making.

    However, I think it’s crazy to start putting together your arguments for the eventual revisionist history if this team fails to live up to our lofty expectations come March. I doubt it will be because BG or AW3 didn’t get rotation minutes now. And to many people’s dismay, I will use the last few season finales as examples.

    2010 - yes, a monumental upset and heart breaker. Sherron and Ty couldn’t throw it in the ocean. They were a combined 4 for 21 - ouch. X only scored 8 but was a respectable 3-6 doing it. Tyrel was 3-6 off the bench in 26 minutes and Brady played 8 minutes. I can only assume looking at the roster that the player we “should have developed” was Freshman EJ. For the year, EJ shot 28% from three and had the highest TO rate per 40 minutes of any guard on the team by a LONG WAY. I don’t care what anyone says, I’m riding Sherron and X right out of the gym when the chips are not falling our way. Unfortunately, our studs laid an egg and UNI played out of their mind. Game over. But, let’s stay with the argument that EJ wasn’t ready because he didn’t get any time. So, that leads us to

    2011 - Again, the VCU loss sucked. Brady scored 2 lousy points. Contrary to revisionist history, though, Brady had a GREAT year. 27 minutes a game, 49% FG with a fantastic 41% from 3 and 74% from the line. He had 3.3 assists per every 1.2 TO. During the Big XII season he was even better! 1st in 3 Point % at an amazing 53%, 1st in Assist to TO with a 4.43 ratio, 7th in Assists, 7th in Steals, 7th in Steal Percentage. Brady was acknowledged to be a very good on-ball defender by Self regardless of anyone’s personal opinion. The rotation that year included Selby with 20 minutes a game and EJ with 14 minutes. To be fair, Selby got more time than EJ but there was no statistical evidence to suggest that he should have gotten more minutes than EJ and CERTAINLY not more than Brady. You could argue that EJ had more potential and could have performed better with more time. But, Brady had a fantastic conference season statistically and there’s no evidence to suggest that his minutes should have went to EJ. During the VCU loss, again, I’m playing the odds with the guy who was statistically the better player all year long. Imagine, the backlash Self would have gotten by riding EJ instead of Brady during that game if we would have still lost. Oh, boy!

    2012 - now EJ is the man alongside Tyshawn. Playing at his “natural” position. What did all of this potential and development do with the extra minutes? 10 points a game, 43% from the field, 34% from 3, 3 assists and 3 boards. During conference play, EJ did finish 7th in assists, 3rd in assists to TO ratio, and 5th in steals. EJ was solid, maybe good, but not near the efficient productivity that Brady had the year before. Even with another year of development under his belt, there’s no real argument that EJ was better than Brady in 2011. NONE. But, what did EJ do when he had time to develop some more? Let’s go to

    2013 - well maybe not. EJ regressed to 9.9 points and 38% from the field with 33% from 3. He had 4.6 assists to every 3.1 TO. He had some HUGE moments during the year - hello, Iowa State - but in his biggest moment, when all of our chips were in the middle, he didn’t play his best. So, in the most important game of the year, EJ in 2013 played like TY and Sherron in 2010 and Brady in 2011. Usually, when you lose, you don’t play well and that’s just the way it is.

    Bottom line for me: I want Self playing the guys who gave me the best chance to win based on year long performance, not hypothetical potential because some guy can go between the legs and dunk. Even if they are playing poorly during the game, I want to stick with them rather than “trying” some unproven bench guy.

    BTW, Brady did bounce around the D-League for a couple of seasons which certainly should be indicative of the skills he had. Maybe “glue” type skills, but the type of skills that were important to a winning program.

    I appreciate all that EJ did during his 4 years here and was a HUGE fan. Same with Selby during his 1 year here, But, I was a HUGE fan of Brady Morningstar, too, and totally disagree that EJ was a better option during the 2011 season. A healthy Selby, maybe. But not EJ.

    Which brings us full circle to 2014. Why isn’t Greene getting more time? I have to admit, I don’t know, but Self has my confidence that he knows more than me.

    Happy New Year.

  • Hey @melrank … Welcome aboard! It will be great to have your input here!

    Interesting that you bring Brady up right now.

    It’s hard to say… but Brady might help this team win more games right now than Wiggins. Brady was a glue guy and a guy who knew how to feed the post well.

    Brady had one glaring problem with his game; it lacked “entertainment value.” He didn’t have the behind-the-back, between-the-legs, windmill slamdunks that fans pay big bucks to watch. I wrote a debatable piece on “entertainment” a while back in here… you should give it a read. In my opinion, it is a big part of the equation why Brady bounced around in D-league and Wiggins will sign a $180m shoe contract soon. I’m not discounting Wiggins talent, but it is hard to explain KU starters with such a commercial discrepancy.

    Most fans watching the game today are addicted to the ESPN highlights more than the game itself. Cudos to iowajayhawk for nailing me on not mentioning that point in my original post.

    I’m not trying to start a “Brady blog” here… just pointing out it would be interesting to see him available to play with this team right now. They seem to lack a lot of what Brady had to offer.

  • @melrank awesome post. against VCU what jumped out at me was the poor shooting by Reed (1 for 9). More importantly the 2 for 21 as a team from 3. I’m sure we have one of the top 5 coaches in the country but I wonder how our 3 pt ‰ when behind under Self compares to the 3 pt % of other coaches when behind. Particularly K, Izzo, Pitino. Self has been able to find the best bigs to ride in game because there is less randomness shooting twos than threes . Or maybe it isn’t randomness on the perimeter. Maybe it’s zen.

  • @melrank EJ regressed because he was a 2 guard forced into playing the point. He was our best, most experienced option. Casused by PG recruiting whiffs. Naa wasn’t ready. I don’t subscribe to the belief, as some have suggested, that Self should have played Naa down the stretch instead. Go with the one that got you to the dance. Both Brady and Reed going whatever - for 20 something in the VCU game was extremely disappointing, but as you say, that’s what happens when you lose. The bigger picture is that Self’s teams have a history of tightening up, more than others, in the big dance. The NC and 2012 runner up makes up for all of the disappointments…in my opinion.

  • “The bigger picture is that Self’s teams have a history of tightening up, more than others, in the big dance.”

    I think you made a great point here… and it should be formalized into a new thread so everyone can input their 2-cents on the subject.

    A+ @Hawk8086 !

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