The herd has been thinned.

  • Greene got 5 minutes of playing time. Mason, Traylor and Black make up the bench that has the trust of Self. Toledo is ranked 3rd of all the mid-majors. They went on two 9-0 runs in the second half. Self has said he always wants the 5 best on the floor. Wigs, JoJo and Perry stayed out of foul trouble and we seem to have the lineup for Conference play. San Diego could give us a clear picture of whether we’re ready for the Big 12. Offense with this group is fine, but there is no trust on defense beyond the 8-9 we saw last night.

  • Agreed. You’ll notice that Tharpe and Mason played at the same time last night. Further proof that Self didn’t trust Greene, or anyone else with minutes down the stretch.

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  • @wrwlumpy awesome pic and quote. I wonder if Self will keep playing Frank and Naa together against OSU?

    Self has committed to playing through the bigs. Naa on a wing gives him a dependable wing feed to the post. Frank out front means a penetration threat, if the post feed is denied. Wiggins backside means an impact on reversal, and Naa on wing means an occasional trey threat on re-reversal. But the cost of this on defense could be staggering against OSU. Self must believe that Embiid is going to become so dominant defensively that he can get away with it. I still believe we will see much more of Greene or White against full sized teams.

  • @jaybate 1.0

    Selden is the player that can best match physically with Smart; I expect him to play until he fouls out. Self has always liked a 7-8 player rotation, and statements to the contrary early in the season notwithstanding, he seems headed in that direction. Again, no big surprise.

  • @JayHawkFanToo–Copy and paste with one caveat. Self gave Selden a royal PT jerk a couple games ago. Selden responded some, but then had a line that did not light up the night versus Toledo. Self made an excuse for Selden by saying that one of his TOs was caused by Tharpe. This means two things.

    1. Selden probably gets one more game before he too gets another PT jerk.

    2. Self was apparently not seduced by Tharpe’s hot shooting hand into thinking Tharpe played as well as many others thought. Tharpe had 8 assists and 5 TOs. If Self were right, then Tharpe really had 8 assists and 6 TOs; that ratio is not going to come close to cutting it for a point guard on a team destined to play through its big men. Tharpe has got to ramp the Assist/TO ratio to 2:1 this season, or he is going to be looking at pine time next season behind another OAD, if Self, Snacks, Norm, and Kurtis can land one.

  • @jaybate 1.0 Tyshawn’s senior season his A/TO ratio was 1.35, down from 1.69 his junior year. Naadir isn’t Tyshawn (he’s totally different), but if the team is better with him in the game, whatever he brings to the table, I think he’ll still get his PT. PG seems to be harder for a OAD to win a position battle with an upperclassman than any other position. It’s just as possible Mason rounds out his game / understands his role in the system and pushes him to the pine next year.

  • @jaybate 1.0 I think Tharpe better be "D"ing up too! That was also mentioned by Tharpe and Coach.

  • I think everyone on this team better start d’ing up or any of them can get pulled by a bench player who is scrapping more on defense.

    Self is looking for defense, and he’s willing to give up some offense to get it.

    This is the time of year Self tries to iron out his defense. When that occurs he starts injecting more in the offense. This team has become his biggest defensive challenge ever at Kansas. They will improve soon… but will it be only because Embiid turns into a blocking machine, or will others step up and meet the Pepsi challenge?

    Personally… I don’t have a clue what will happen. I haven’t seen any signs that most of these players are starting to understand how to d or put the energy into to execute. The only player on a soaring rocket upwards is Embiid…

  • @drgnslayr been thinking about this teams lack of anticipating on D. Coach talked about them not getting their hands up and out-passing lanes. We tend to react and not anticipate, which worries me if that can be taught? Maybe it’s not trusting teammates to rotate and help?

  • @Crimsonorblue22 - interesting angle you posted. Can anticipation be taught?

    I’m not certain. But don’t these guys all have other areas of the game where they anticipate well? Like… on offense? Seems you have to have some level of anticipation to score on someone guarding you.

    I’m not even certain you can teach guys to keep their hands up. It seems logical that anyone can learn to keep their hands up, but keeping hands up consumes energy, and when players tire they naturally look for ways to conserve energy. I have a bit of experience in boxing, too… A big part of boxing is keeping hands up for 3 minute rounds. How many boxers do it? How many boxers keep their hands up after… say… 5 rounds? It is harder than it looks.

    I think you need to be a good poker player to be a good steal-master on defense. You have to bluff the guy with the rock into thinking you are giving him an easy pass to another player near you. Then… you have to have a feel for when the pass is coming and anticipate it. You don’t want to risk too much… like giving up an easy basket because you missed a steal and committed to it.

    That’s one of the reasons I like Greene. He’s a sneaky guy. He’s a guy who can learn all of this and start snagging several steals. I can feel it. The guy could be a good poker player! Just my opinion…

  • Enjoying this discussion. Is Selden too honest to be sneaky? Too straight up? Is innovating on offense. honest, but innovating and anticipating on D dishonest and mean? Is defense somehow dirty because it is the counterforce to offense which is the first force that exists in any basketball dimension just as any conflicting force can be construed as the evil force because before it’s appearance, when offense had a monopoly on the court, there was no conflict? Do these thoughts trouble the subconscious of a McDonald’s all American who has focused on playingO while the conscience of a less heralded junkyard dog who ranked in the 20s coming out of high school might not be troubled by playing sneaky disruptive D?

  • @approxinfinity I kinda think it’s the opposite. These high flying studs could do a lot more dunking by reading the offense. We were always taught one pass away we’re in passing lane-uphill and off hand out. 2 passes away in help position. Also taught if you made it hard for their hot shooter to catch it, they would wear down faster and put up quicker shots. For instance Tharpe’s first 2 passes in Toledo game, they were in our passing lanes. How do we not read that for back doors, meeting the ball hard, getting some fouls called? Can you imagine w/Wiggins reach how many dunks he could have if he kept a hand out? I loved how hard Travis played, love watching good D and running the floor!

  • @drgnslayr I agree completely about Greene. He gets a hand on a lot of balls. That may be the reason he’s getting more time than the other wings. He’s a great shooter too!

  • Interesting… @approxinfinity … I don’t think I’d use descriptions like “honest” or “dishonest”… “sneaky” works better. I sneak up on my kid, catch him off guard. I’m not dishonest with him… but I may snag something out of his hands because I sneak up on him.

    All of these heralded HS players coming in have earned their big reps on the offensive side of the ball. When was the last time you read:

    “5-star All-American SG Joe Blow, averaging 5.7 PPG, 40.8FG%, 61FT%, 9.4 SPG, 4.3 BPG…”

    That’s SPG (Steals Per Game) and BPG (Blocks Per Game).

    JHS and HS players put all their individual work in on offense, largely because of what I said above. And let’s face it… when practicing alone you can’t really practice much defense. Defensive skills come in during team practices.

    CS contradicts himself by being characterized as a “defensive-minded coach” but recruits mostly “offensive-minded players.”

    There aren’t many HS players out there that mostly focus their energy on defense. I’m sure they must exist… just nowhere on a “Top 1000 list!”

    I grew up playing on city courts. There was always some big, thick kid who would holler out, “come on, bring that s#it to me!” Those guys never made it to D1 and a free ride through college.

    I think coaches feel like it is easier to coach up a kid on the defensive side of the ball than to teach them offensive skills… so they go after offense-capable recruits. There are exceptions. Withey comes to mind! I’m pretty sure if he had a bit more strength and athleticism, he’d earn some decent PT in the NBA, even if he just guarded the lane like he did in D1…

    Withey would have sat on the bench at Arizona for his 4 years had he not transferred…

  • K @drgnslayr how about a distinction between seeking harmony and order vs seeking discord and disruption. Does it take a person who relishes being disruptive to really excel on the defensive end? Do some people lack that motivation… And if so why?

  • Fascinating questions, @approxinfinity ! Maybe a psychologist is needed to answer that one. Maybe you need to have some personal traits where you like to “rain on someone’s parade.”

    I was a defensive-minded player. I loved to challenge players, and to me, nothing spelled out dominance more than rejecting someone else’s shot. Also… I was never really a skilled offensive player. So all my time went in on defense and owning the glass. If I hung 10 pts in a game, it was an exceptional scoring night. I’m from a different era… and guys like me don’t exist anymore. Probably for the best… especially if you want a big fan following. Fans like scoring… offense… windmill slams…

    I’m a big Self fan because of his desire for defense. I love the grind games… when they are grinds because of good defense.

    I like to watch women’s bball sometimes because women learn how to block out on the boards. I don’t know why men (in D1) have such a hard time learning that skill. It doesn’t even seem like a skill… just a reflex and execution.

  • @drgnslayr I’m with you. I always loved playing defense and shutting someone else down. Never was a great finisher on offense but loved setting picks rebounding and passing. I think you bring up an interesting point about how Self doesn’t recruit D. But maybe he does with a few guys. Releford Withey Mario and maybe Greene? Maybe he sees the psychology there.

    I should have included Embiid in that list. Pretty surehe wasn’t wagging his finger early in the season simply because Mutombo did.

  • @approxinfinity Harmony and order?? I think if you sign to play D1 bb. at KU, for Bill Self , disruptive better be in your vocab! If not, motivation comes from riding the pine! I think all KU fans take great pride in our team’s reputation for playing D! Hopefully we see that soon!

  • @approxinfinity I seem to remember Self saying some years ago that defense could be taught, so he recruited offense and taught defense. I’m sure that was a simplification, if not a smokescreen.

  • @ParisHawk you are exactly right about that.

  • @parishawk Def seems an over simplification by Self.

    It’s amazing to me that Embiid is so gifted at both ends of the court. Volleyball.

    Maybe to Embiid there is very little distinction between O and D. It’s all yin and yang in a volleyball point. Honestly by the time he has run to the other end of the court he has had more time to think than if he were playing volleyball. There might never have been the need for the game to “slow down” for him. That doesn’t explain guards that are sneaky though.

  • My philosophy was always… “if I’m not going to score, I’m not going to let them score… so no one scores!”

    Think about that for a second. Maybe it gets harder to play good defense when you are constantly scoring on offense. You keep scoring and you get some kind of affirmation that you are playing well.

    The only way I could affirm playing well was to make it happen on defense.

    You may have nailed it, @approxinfinity … yin and yang. When one is black, the other is white.

    My question is… when these guys are having an off-night on offense, shouldn’t they be working that much harder on defense to make up for it?

  • Piper played nice D on Stacey King one night in Kemper. Who has been our best defensive players the last few years? Rush Releford Whithey with the blocks.

  • @lighthawk although Withey saved our behinds numerous times, gotta go w/Travis. He took great pride in shutting down great scorers. It also led us to some great transitional baskets.

  • I thought Brady was a great defender. So was Jerrod Hasse.

  • @wrwlumpy loved watching Hasse play. I’ll pass on Brady, thought he was way over-rated

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