The Divide Has Been Drawn

  • For quite some time there has been a schism developing amongst KU fans. It’s an easy one to see both ways, but it is a divisive and polarizing issue for a reason. On the one hand you have the fans that stand behind Bill Self no matter the circumstance. Their arguments are more than understandable. Bill Self is a phenomenal coach; he has reached the mountaintop in 2008, he’s brought home a record number of Big 12 championships that has put him in company with some of the game’s greatest. On the other hand is the group that is trying to push our fan base in the direction that the vast majority of sports has gone. The direction that utilizes advanced statistics to determine correlated factors to reach the dependent variable that we are constantly pursuing. In our case that dependent variable is a National Championship.

    This is a good post and a discussion that simply needs to be had. We’re all excited about the win against Oklahoma, and to be sure this was a great win. People are already making comparisons to the OT victory over Mizery, which, to me, was the final stake being driven through the heart of that poor, sad, pathetic fanbase. Unfortunately, HOW we win is often just as important and telling about our team as anything else. On that 2012 team there is little to dissect in terms of strategy. We played a 6-man rotation. There was little room to second-guess decisions. This team–as has been stated by pretty much everyone–has 11 players that could see extensive PT on just about any team in the country. The topic of discussion here is yet again, the playing time of Landen Lucas and Jamari Traylor.

    I have a strong sense of affinity for most posters on here. However, my largest problem is the contingent of fans that believe that Coach Self is infallibly right because he coaches the game and gets paid a lot to do so. I’m sorry, but this way of thinking is sadly ignorant. Again, it essentially says anyone in a position of authority is right because they are in a position of authority. That goes against the very core of what we are as Americans and people living in Democracy. I am not a highly paid professional basketball coach, this much is true, but I can tell you that mistakes have been made by those in positions of authority throughout history, and most definitely throughout the history of basketball.

    I am, of many things a historian. I have studied it extensively throughout my life and it is my passion. Robert E. Lee was a brilliant military strategist–much more intelligent than me. But I can tell you that Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg was a calamitous disaster. Possibly the worst decision he ever made. As a graduate student I have taken to studying economics. I’m no genius, nor will I be Chairman of the Federal Reserve anytime soon, but I can tell you that Alan Greenspan should have stuck to his guns when he said in 1995 that we should heed the warnings of Japan where overheated markets were not cooled by the Bank of Japan leading to the real estate-bubble that developed in the late 1980s and then burst in 1989. We experienced much the same in 2008 by the moves set in motion during the 1990s and then the early 2000s. I am no expert, but these disasters were obvious during their development and they’re obvious now. I fear that we may be treading down a similar path this season (of course, this is basketball and as a historian comparing the deaths of brave men, or even the economic wellbeing of an entire society are simply not comparable. However, I feel that you all understand the central point towards which I am pursuing).

    Landen Lucas’s player efficiency rating is considerably higher than it has been in the past, yet it is still lower than other players we have on this team. As several other posters have pointed out, Bragg has reached this point, and while Diallo makes head-scratching-decisions, his mistakes are without a doubt correctable. That may be the most infuriating point of this whole conundrum. Diablo and Bragg have correctable shortcomings, whereas Lucas and Traylor have simply reached who and what they are as players and there is little that can be changed or adjusted. Jamari Traylor’s PER is…pretty much the same. Bad. Did you notice that Lon Kruger did not bother guarding Lucas at all? Just left him alone. At the top of the key, near the free throw line, in the post. Anywhere. Flat out ignored him. That is my concern. Lon Kruger simply addressed what we all know to be true: Landen Lucas is not a threat. He knows he doesn’t have anything close to a post move, so we have essentially conceded our offense to playing 4 on 5. This may be crass, and again, I have no problem with either of these two young men as students, people, or representatives of this university, but they are simply not good. IF they were suddenly erased from this team’s lineup I DO NOT for a second think it changes the trajectory of this team, our chances of winning the Big 12, a national title, games against top-tier competition, etc. In my opinion, it just simply would have no effect, other than positives, on this team.

    As many of you are well-read basketball fans, I’m sure many of you are aware who Diamond Stone is. If not, he’s the 5-star center for Maryland. He, like most freshman, went through some growing pains up to this point. But Mark Turgeon hung with the young man despite his shortcomings. In a short while, Diamond Stone has become a pretty competent post player, putting up 39 points for No. 4 Maryland to erase a 10-point deficit. Can you imagine if we get a fraction of that production from Diallo or Bragg (keep in mind I said a fraction). I’m not lobbying for Bragg or Diallo to play 35 minutes a game, but having them ready by March makes us scary. Landen and Jamari’s ceilings have simply been met. Landen’s 8 rebounds and 5 points in 25 minutes is nice, but does little to impact or improve our chances of winning in March and April, and they are hardly a safety net (I have nightmares of double teams swarming LL and knocking the ball out of his sensitive hands). This is my concern. I want KU to win just as badly as anyone else on this sight, and I hope I’m wrong, but quite frankly the truth seems glaringly obvious to me and I fear, unlike other examples throughout history, we have ample alternatives the sad outcome that we may be sewing for ourselves.

    All I ask of the old school fan base is to disenthrall yourselves with the idea that Bill Self cannot be wrong. He has been. Several times. Our season has ended in the past because he has been wrong. HE HAS ADMITTED AS SUCH. You are not being misled. These are not lies. It has happened.

    I would have delved further into statistics and things of that nature, but it is my birthday, and I am going out to dinner with a very pretty young lady. Happy New Year to my fellow Jayhawks, and as always, RCJH.

  • @MoonwalkMafia I agree, but Bragg and Diallo can’t play when the game and a big 12 championship and number 1 seed are on the line - they are just not comfortable with Self’s system yet. They should only play extended minutes in blowouts.

  • @MoonwalkMafia Solid post. I dont think anyone disagrees that Bragg and Diallo should get more minutes so as to give them opportunity to be more ready for March. We need that.

    I am also wondering why we havent seen Perry at the 5, stretching the floor with Brannen, Selden, Frank and Devonte. That could be killer. Did we see that against OU? I forget.

    Here’s hoping that Bragg and Diallo get more minutes in the games against the lower half of the Big 12 and that the Light comes on for both of them very soon.

    One thing I really like about our C5 rotation…well ok more than one; I like that we have major depth at that spot and it nightly gives us a double double. We didnt have that last year. I also like that if one guy gets his weaknesses exposed, another one steps into his place, just like a shark tooth in a Great Whites jaws. I think that Coach Self is going to ride the C5 all the way to the Final Four and hopefully by that time Bragg and Diallo can become major contributors.

  • @MoonwalkMafia said:

    On the one hand you have the fans that stand behind Bill Self no matter the circumstance. … On the other hand is the group that is trying to push our fan base in the direction that the vast majority of sports has gone.

    Aren’t you the one being “divisive and polarizing” by exaggerating the position of one camp and extolling the position of the other?

    Yes there are some posters who tend to stand behind Bill Self. There are even a few who seem to object to discussion or constructive criticism concerning his choices - or who object to criticism of certain players. I disagree with them.

    There are also occasional posts that go too far in their criticisms of certain players. When you speak of “erasing” two players from the roster, you are making a blanket statement that I think is lacking in respect for their efforts - and their occasional contributions.

    Which side of the schism am I on?

    I would try to bridge the divide,

    • first by accepting that posters here have slightly different priorities: for example, I join @drgnslayr in giving the Conference title more importance than @HighEliteMajor does.

    • Then by giving credit where credit is due, as @HighEliteMajor has done: Self has adjusted to the team and so far has done a great coaching job this season.

    The discussion points lately have simply revolved around the post players other than Ellis. There is no reason to use big words like “schism”, “divisive”’ and “polarizing” for that.

    If I were allowed to discuss these points without being accused of defending Self at all costs, I would start by saying that Mickelson wasn’t given a fair shake before this season and I’m glad he is getting his due now.

    Then I would remind you that the NCAA screwed Diallo and made it harder for Self to develop him this year.

    Finally, Bragg / Diallo may have higher ceilings, but they also have lower floors. Do you deny that?

  • @Lulufulu I thought it was funny that Seth Greenberg yesterday said that KU doesn’t have any offensive threat at the 5, comparing us to last year’s Wiscy and Duke teams. Did he forget about Hunter who has a good jump shot, or Bragg and Diallo once they improve? I guess it sounded a bit uninformed.

  • @DinarHawk

    I like Greenberg but he sees to forget that the trend in basketball is away from the 5 and more towards stretch PFs. Wisconsin might not have had a true 5 but it surely had the best stretch PF in College basketball

  • @ParisHawk In my opinion, it is a divisive issue though. It is a polarizing issue. That’s why I wrote this. Of course there is a gray area, but it is an issue where there are many that have difficulty seeing beyond Self’s genius and those that are willing to think beyond it. These are hardly big words haha.

    To your second point, I am trying to highlight the question of, “do we win without Landen on Monday?” I believe that if he and Jamari are simply not on this team and the option to play them is just not there, the outcome, in any game, is largely the same. There may be an extra win or loss, but I don’t think there’s a considerable difference. That is my point.

    With all due respect, I think if the conference title streak is the priority of the season for you as a KU fan, then you have likely answered your own question as to what side you sit on. This is Kansas. As other posters have said, it’s Thad Matta’s job to win games. Bruce Pearl’s job to win games, etc. Bill Self’s job is to win national championships. However, I completely agree that Hunter Mickelson was never given a fair shake until this season. That seems obvious to me, as apparently it is to you. That isn’t defending Self at all cost. We saw what Mickelson could do in Korea. That would be siding with the opposite side that once Self was forced to give Mickelson a chance he actually performed well. That’s the point. He seemed uninterested in even attempting to give Mickelson a chance. I think that’s largely what many of us are afraid of with Diallo and Bragg (much more Diallo since he will only be around for a short time).

    And lastly, it isn’t as if Diallo became eligible last week with only the UCI game to get him ready. So let’s not act is if Self was helpless here. And do he and Bragg have lower floors? Sure. It’s possible. But I’m simply willing to play the odds here. We have that luxury. That’s part of my point. If Diallo picks up 3 fouls in 5 minutes, then ok, who cares? Take him out. But he can also rack up 3 blocks, 3 rebounds, and 8 points in the same time. I’m willing to play those odds. The same production, on average, is not met by Lucas or Traylor.

  • @MoonwalkMafia I have a serious suggestion for you . This year for the first time ever, mostly in response to a lot of posters on the site for continually harping on this theme of not Playing Jamarii and Landon in favor of Diallo and Bragg due to some " statistics " and ( the most overused and meaningless word in sports -"potential ") I started re-playing all of ku’s games and “close-watching” them. Now I do happen to have more time on my hands these days to do this which is nice. For many plays in the game I would re-wind over and over so I could see what every KU player was doing in that play both on offense or defense. I have learned ten times more about basketball by doing This than by reading posts here for 3 years. It showed me what players were doing and more importantly, NOT doing, and I realized that there is far more to a good team and good team play that stats.

  • I will put out my opinion that we definitely would not have won Monday’s game without Traylor and Lucas on the roster. I really have trouble finding a way to justify the opposing view.

    Bragg looked lost and scared fumbling the ball several times and committing turnovers. Diallo continues to play outside the flow of the rest of the guys on the floor. Hunter was not strong with the ball and didn’t show his usual energy and did not get the deflections he often does.

    Traylor had huge momentum shifting blocks plus the rebound and put back in crunch time. Landon played great in overtime, made free throws, and was always in position to both defend shots on the drive then rebound the misses (something none of our other bigs can do!).

    This game meant so much more than getting to 2-0 in the big twelve. It was a must win home game against the best challenger in the conference for years. It was a game that gives a nudge to the victor come seeding time. But most importantly (yes more important than playing time for freshman) it was a win that brings a team together. A win that shows just how far each teammate is willing to go for the other. A win that shows even though Traylor almost cracked his head on one block, he would still go even harder for the next. This win built character, built chemistry, and hopefully made champions out of our Jayhawks.

    If you can’t appreciate what experienced players like Trayor and Lucas brought to the team that game then you don’t understand the word TEAM at all. Self can tell the Freshman all season long what they need to do to get more playing time but Lucas and Trayor just showed them.

  • @benshawks08 I was disappointed that Hunter did not play tougher. Really hurt himself for playing time. He is the one I wanted in instead of Lucas.

  • @benshawks08 PHOF !

  • Great discussion and points by all and appreciate the tone. I’ll register my vote for big words and the historical illustrations and reference to other disciplines. Thanks @MoonwalkMafia @ParisHawk.

    I don’t think we can sew up the conference championship, let alone National Championship, without seeing better production from our high ceiling players. I’m not sold on one strategy or another to get them there. But I worry that a loss of productivity from the team as a whole when we lean on the lower ceiling players has a large opportunity cost down the road.

  • @Bwag Yes, and hopefully they can get more time Saturday and also play stronger and tougher. They will get better and have more of a feel for how Self wants them to play.

  • @MoonwalkMafia


    I have started this basketball season supporting the idea of making Cheick and Carlton EARN their minutes instead of have them gifted to them because of potential. I still think that is the way to go and it does a lot to help keep the team focused so much on team, instead of every man for himself.

    But… I also said there would come a time when our young guns earn more minutes. I think we are rapidly approaching that time. They can start getting more minutes and the upperclassmen they take minutes from shouldn’t really challenge that.

    All of these games are important. Regardless what anyone in here says about our conference streak… when you go on any sports media today and they talk about Kansas basketball, they aren’t talking about our 2008 championship. They talk about the streak and what a milestone that is and then they start comparing Self and Kansas to Wooden and UCLA. You will never hear that discussion from them if we just win another national championship (or several).

    I’m not against us winning another NC. I want both. But I definitely will not support a concept where we hand over the B12 championship on a lark that giving more experience to our freshmen will be the extra bit to win us a NC. Chances are… we would do that and end up with NEITHER! I can not support any concept that will potentially leave us with NOTHING this year!

    I seriously doubt we would have won that OU game had we given plenty of minutes in the second half to Cheick and Carlton. The fire was just too hot for them to contribute what Landen and Jamari contributed.

    I think Jamari bought himself some PT minutes by playing as well as he did. He participated in the kind of plays Self really loves… scrappy rebounds, blocks and going after loose balls.

    OU doesn’t miss many FTs. They would have enjoyed a lot more free points had we kept our freshmen in there longer.

    Really… none of us are in any position to decide if Cheick should be getting more minutes. We simply haven’t seen enough of him to know what he can bring to the game now. We know he is very capable of fouling at a rapid clip.

    And as far as him sitting on the bench and killing our future chances at recruiting more OADs… is it worse that he sits, or gets out on the court and brings the team down while he makes terrible plays? I’m not sure if any of us can answer that without just guessing.

    His time will come. We have a few softer games coming up and I can almost reassure you that him and Carlton will be getting some minutes. What they do with those minutes will determine how many minutes they get.

  • For the new guys I do feel a lesser amount of experience that involves winning is more valuable than a greater amount of experience that involves losing.

  • Banned

    The real question?

    Can KU win another conference championship with Traylor and Lucas playing the most minutes?

    Can KU win a national championship with Traylor and Lucas playing the most minutes?

    It’s that simple.

    Bottom line if Traylor and Lucas get the most minutes then Diallo and Bragg never reach their ceiling as they aren’t playing.

  • A funny thing Self said in the post game interview about Hield: “We didn’t go after him very hard because we had Ben.”

  • @DoubleDD Does Hunter not play on the team anymore?

  • @drgnslayr You are right - it just feels like any day Bragg and Diallo’s minutes will increase because they are more comfortable. I think we all need to be patient and wait, as Coach knows how talented these guys are and what they can bring to the table.

  • Banned


    I kind of considered Hunter in the mix with Ellis. Yet after the OU game maybe I should reconsider that point.

  • @DoubleDD

    “Can KU win another conference championship with Traylor and Lucas playing the most minutes?”

    We have a long ways to go in conference. I am hopeful both Cheick and Carlton are earning more minutes as some point in conference play.

    But every game is important in conference.

    Our victory against OU at home may easily end up being the winning margin we need in conference. We simply couldn’t waste that game away thinking ahead about the future.

    Both Jamari and Landen made very nice contributions in our win against OU.

    Will that continue? No one knows the future. Self is looking at conference play one game at a time, and that has proven to be successful for the past 11 seasons.

    As of right now, I’m still glad Jamari and Landen are giving us good minutes.

    I seriously doubt Self fought so hard to get Cheick and get him legalized only to ice him in the deep freeze all season. Just doesn’t make sense. Cheick is in charge of his minutes, not Self. Obviously, Bill set a bar that Cheick has to get over to get more minutes. I don’t believe that bar is unreasonable and I do believe that Cheick is flying up on that bar quickly.

    This is about the time when Kelly started getting real minutes last year. Kelly was a lot more polished than Cheick at this time.

    No question by anyone… everyone admits Cheick wasn’t D1 ready from Day 1 at Kansas. I think just about everyone on this planet would be surprised at how quickly he is progressing.

    Many of you in here played (or play) lots of basketball. How long would it take to you from being rough to being D1 capable of contributing at a blue blood like Kansas? Well… in my case… I never reached that level of play and I’m guessing most of you didn’t either. And if all of us could sit in practices, we would be blown away by how fast he is progressing.

    It won’t be long now…

  • Banned


    Good points but will Coach play him? That’s the question. I hope so.

  • @drgnslayr Spot on. Remember being 18 and playing against a 22 year old guy (like Lucas and Traylor)?

  • @drgnslayr said:

    This is about the time when Kelly started getting real minutes last year. Kelly was a lot more polished than Cheick at this time.

    Right on… Folks seem to forget this fact… And Oubre did not have a 5-game suspension… So if they progress at similar rates, Diallo’s moment may come a few games deeper in the conference schedule than Oubre.

  • @MoonwalkMafia

    I am glad you are airing this angle, even though I never see much of a divide–just fans debating who to play as they have since I was a boy. I never see any divide at the field house and I know some pretty cantankerous and demanding alumni that are ecstatic about Self.

    That being said, I will share my POV to contribute to the discourse, since you feel strongly about this and have thought it through.

    I just see Self out ahead of fans, talking heads and most coaches and I see all of them laboring, as change requires, to catch up.

    Right now Multiple Offences 2.0 is catching all of D1 flat footed and trying to catch up.

    Last season he innovated Bad Ball and by season’s end perhaps a quarter of the teams were using it.

    This summer he adopted quick trigger Trey in 4 out 1 in formation innovated by Fred Hoiberg and Mike Anderson and won the WUGs, and now it appears teams are following his lead.

    Now he is piecing these together and teams will soon follow that lead, too.

    Self is far and away the most trend setting coach of the last decaede, because: a.) he is so successful; b.) he is having to do it with less talent than the super stacks that most other coaches can’t even dream of having the talent to emulate.

    That noted, How much higher ranked can we be than we are now? 1 is it.

    Next. How much higher overall winning percentage should we realistically target than .820? Not sure.

    Next, how many more titles could we have one the last 11 years than we did? Zero .

    Next, Which OAD 5 HAS DOUBLE DOUBLED AT AN AVERAGE OF 15/15 and is still ascending (17/17 vs the No.2 team in the country) on a team with as diversified of scoring as KU has that has only lost 1 game? Can’t think of one.

    Next, What adidas team is in as good of a position to give the dump truck schools a serious challenge? Can’t think of one.

    Next, How much better of a shot at a title and ring can we have at this time of season than we have? Can’t envision better except metaphysically. Bragg and Diallo seem like they can learn with 6-15 mpg and be ready to contribute 10-20 minutes in a right matchup by March.

    And we can’t lose any OAD 5s and PGs because they go to dump truck schools no matter what.

    It now appears Self has passed everyone by again and everything has changed but the way we think.

    Life with genius is always surprising.

    I doubt we win a ring, because we are too short outside and too weak at rebounding, especially when the guy we were counting on for glassvacs, Diallo, hasn’t adapted well to D1, despite a steady dose of opportunity.

    Regarding Diamond Stone, might he just be more like Xavier and Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Davis, and Ben Simmons, and less like Skal, and Cliff and caleb Tarcievski (sp), and Diallo?

  • @DoubleDD

    Yes we have a decent chance to win a title and a ring with C5.

    No, we probably cannot win a title and a ring with Bragg and Diallo starting and playing 25-30 mpg every game. They would wreck us for sure.

    In C5, so far, we appear to have the most potent every game MUA at the 5 of any team in D1.

  • Banned


    I’m all for the Inglorious Bastards. Like wise No, we cannot win a title and a ring with Lucas and Traylor starting and playing 25-30 mpg. They would wreck us for sure.

  • @DoubleDD I agree, we need their collective strengths to win a title.

  • @DoubleDD

    Absolutely there will continue intermittently to be match ups where Traylor and Landen will play MORE minutes in order for us to win a title and a ring.

    Both guys are getting better at their narrowly scoped roles as the season goes on. Landen’s improvement has been quantified. Part of the reason he is more productive is he is getting to play mostly against favorable match ups. Jamari will get more productive if his leg continues to heel.

    But I also think there will be games where Diallo and Braggs mpg pick up. Hunter too.

  • The C5 isn’t going to have a stand out player this year. It will be by committee and I would hesitate to include Bragg in the C5 because most of his minutes mostly come when he’s spelling Ellis at this point. That said, KU’s best option for the C5 this year is to play the hot hand or player that provides the need for KU at that time. Against OU, Traylor was the hot hand, but KU couldn’t completely close the gap because of their lack of rebounding so enter KU’s best rebounder, Landen Lucas and I will say that KU does not win that game without Landen’s rebounding efforts. When scoring is most important out of the C5, Mickelson is currently answer.

    Diallo and Bragg do need minutes to see if their progress in practice is starting to carry over to games (not yet), but situations like Monday night are not the time to throw them to the wolves. I don’t think Saturday will be either as Texas Tech is not going to be an easy game for KU. Tech handled UT in Lubbock and was within 3 against ISU at Hilton tonight with about a minute left in the game before ISU pulled away at the very end. Bragg and Diallo are going to have their few minutes in the first half of games to justify any second half minutes the rest of the way.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I’ll say this much to you, I’d love to sit down and just talk history with you. I enjoy your posts and what you have to bring to the table. Keep on truckin’, my friend.

  • First, I dont like bagging on a kid, unless he clearly blows it multiple times in some game…then Im mad at that 1 game. But if a kid blows it repeatedly over several games, then its a bigger sign, & a bigger deal…more of a trend, & the kid could get typecasted. Lucas was bad vs MichSt, & that seemed to be symbolic of his play over the 3 seasons, the dreaded “trend”. But, he seems improved past his plateau a bit this season. So we shouldnt stop rooting for him.
    Biggest reason Bragg played limited minutes is he was yielding rebounds, not boxing out. How does 6’3 Hield get putbacks in the paint??
    Kevin Young was a limited, undersized, energy type big, yet he never drew the ire of fans like Traylor/Lucas.
    Fans need to realize you dont learn Self’s system in a few weeks. And, some kids’ learning speeds and frosh playability varies: Shady, Cole, TRob, Twins, Cliff, Bragg, Diallo. TRob unplayable as frosh, becomes POY-candidate by Jr season…Marcus “soft” frosh, lotto pick by Jr season. Cole barely played as a McD frosh, lotto by Jr season. Shady+TRob with 3 quick fouls 1st half as frosh, too often.

    You think the $52mil Coach will tolerate outta-position play in the paint? Surrenderring rbds, stickbacks, 2nd chance opps to the opponent? By opposing guards, no less? Has this coach ever tolerated that? Think he’ll start now?

    Do we think Self is committing “recruiting suicide” by not playing Bragg/Diallo more? Well, he hasnt killed the program yet.

    Also, since these kids DO actually practice against each other & watch ea other, and hear & feel the $52mil Coach breathing down their necks in practice, they have a good idea exactly why Self is awarding mpg, & also why he is not… They may also know which teammate is better at various plays than they themselves are. (Ok, maybe BGreene doesnt quite see the light yet, but I bet he does after the 5game suspension).

    Also, some matchups favor different players.

    I’m not trying to defend the $52mil Self, but rather point out that this particular coach’s tried & tested system is based on awarding mpg based on reliability of execution in practice first. You’d think fans may appreciate that he’s trying to apply some reliability-of-execution yardstick, instead of just throwing a frosh out there based on high school hype alone. And its not that Self doesnt try to play a frosh: he’s played every frosh kid who was even faintly playable, just to see if he’s got a Sherron or Mason or Graham or Embiid on his hands. Look at the FroshLearningCurveMistakeCircus that IS Kentucky Basketball (at this point in their season) for the opposite example.

    Mpg are directly tied to a frosh kid’s success or fails when he tries to play.

    If you ask Bragg and Diallo and Greene directly “why arent you getting more mpg?”: what would the kids themselves say?? They get film study, feedback, etc, as they are being coached-up. They know EXACTLY why the ride pine.

    Just another chpt of “Brady plays while EJ rides pine”. As frustrating as it is to think of their potential as highly-recruited players sitting on the bench…what shouldnt be forgotten is the kid himself has alrdy shown how reliable he is or is not yet…

    Maybe Calipari and certainly Tom Izzo are ok with learning-curve losses, while Self, Roy, & other equally regarded coaches are NOT ok with absorbing losses. Philosophy plays a part as well.

    I hope the green newbies catch on quicker, so I can see them play sooner. Its in their hands, brains, and repetitions…

    We arent a Self team, until we do all the little things well, that he tries to teach. Notice the crisp passing this year, everything looks sharper, less mistakes–> hmm, finally we get to see a Self team led by experienced veteran players. Hmm, a bunch of soph, jr, sr players who know what they’re doing (fun to watch!). Doesnt happen by accident…takes hard work & a TON of repetitions, right?

  • @ralster


  • @MoonwalkMafia and @DoubleDD

    IMHO, these are very complicated changes we are living through in college basketball, essentially analogous to the privatization changes the university is living through. The changes alter who pays and who benefits from college sports enterprise and from the university education and research enterprise that the college sports enterprise is embedded in. The phenomenon is embedded in privatization of our republic and its federalized states.

    There are different points of view on whether we should be going through the changes, just as there were debates about whether or not USA should become a continental sovereign (continentalization 1.0 ), become one of the imperial powers in 1900 (globalization 1.0), and attempt a global hegemony after the de-Communizing and federalization of the Russian Eurasian Empire (globalization 2.0). But sadly these debates tend to occur after, not before, irreversibility has set in. Irreversibility means the inability to muster the consensus to choose another path of new infrastructure expansion, because too much sunk cost in the current new path has been incurred to allow a course change. It is different than inevitability. Nothing is inevitable, because complexity and the unforeseen muck up all plans good and bad to one degree or other.

    There is another stage of discussion, however; that takes place before the path becomes irreversible. It is: how do we sink enough costs to make our POV on future path irreversible?

    And there is another stage of discussion before that; that is which infrastructure extension path do the latest technologies, distributions of resources and existing and potential alliances make feasible in the game space.

    Most public discourse focuses on (and is orchestrated to focus on) the irreversible and so is essentially venting, where public relations, propaganda and pay-ops are used to manufacture consent to what is going to happen. This is where much talk about OADs now is. It’s good. It’s bad. We shouldn’t have done it and we should go back. We should have done it and let’s go with it. Self should play OADs. He shouldn’t.

    But Self is not apparently operating at that level. His actions are saying the entire OAD apparatus is irreversible and not a net benefit to me and KU, if I either accept it as is, and sign and play them, like stack schools, or reject it, and don’t sign them. His actions are saying neither offered path offers net benefit, so I am walking a third path between.

    Self’s actions are saying not all OADs are equal. Some have higher ceilings than others. Some have lower foundations than others. Some have no qualification risk. Others have big qualification risk. Self’s actions are saying OADs’ commitment and desire to develop and loyalty exist on a spectrum. His actions say his commitment, desire to develop, and loyalty to OADs are functionally proportional to theirs. His actions say I give you what you give me.

    Self has redesigned Self Ball to accommodate the few OADs the recruiting process permits him. It denies him low risk, high foundation OAD point guards and 5s. He has gone to a two point guard offense to compensate that crucial role for not being able to sign the single OAD point guard. In lieu of the single high foundation OAD 5, he has evolve a C5 comprised of lesser 5s and a low foundation OAD 5 with qualification risk.

    If the recruiting system changes and let’s him have a 5-10 OAD stack, he will probably embrace that.

    The interesting thing is that necessity being an inventing mother, he seems to have invented a C5 that might outperform an OAD 5 under some circumstances, and a tandem point guard set up (pioneered by Self in 2008 and and evolved by Pitino a few years back) that might outperform a single OAD pg.

    Self has moved on from playing or not playing OADs.

    Public discussion, not Self, has to catch up.

  • @MoonwalkMafia

    Nice post.

    I think until we start losing games and having those loses directly on the shoulders of some of the C5 I don’t think much is going to change in how the minutes are distributed.

    You look at Bragg and he’s clearly in the mix of the rotation before Diallo. Has been since Diallo has been allowed to play. He’s shown glimpses of getting more minutes but Self is using both of these guys only if they don’t make mistakes. If Bragg is going to get consistent minutes, he has to be perfect out there. He has to have a few games where his impact on the game is felt, and lately neither Bragg or Diallo is doing that consistently. Again its a catch 22, there not being allowed to play through mistakes because Self has 3 other veterans he can play that he knows he’s going to get what he hopefully wants out of them. He doesn’t want to lose, especially in Big 12 play. Our coach may value winning in the conference more than any other coach in the Country.

    The unknown consistency for our freshman is keeping them on the bench. If Diallo learned court awareness and could play solid defense without fouling, or getting the ball at the FT line and not automatically launching would go a long way to getting on the court. Diallo has to learn how to best impact the game while he’s in there and stop thinking “me” first.

    Same with Bragg, his only real offense has been off assists. His Jump-Shot has not been reliable and his defense comes and goes. While the upside for our veterans has already been reached, at least they know what to do and how Self wants it to be done.

    Every game we play comes down to our guards and Ellis. We can microcosm a loss or a narrow win to the ineffectiveness of our veteran post players vs unknown production from our freshman but at the end of the day Mason, Graham, Selden & Ellis are going to be the majority of the reason why we win or lose.

    Until the freshman prove to Self, we can talk about this issue every game. If we lose the Big 12 or in the NCAA’s because of this issue with our C5 then its on the coach to deal with. Until then we got to learn to enjoy the ride we are on. Our vets won us a big game Monday, I’m sure it won’t be the last. And for information I do want Diallo & Bragg to play but at this point not at the expense of not winning. And without knowing whether we are going to stop winning because Traylor or Lucas is playing more is something nobody can answer.

  • Agreed. I think the biggest thing is that he wouldn’t let them play while we were beating the tails off of so many teams.

    Not to say I don’t think he’s an incredible coach though, perhaps still one of the top 5 in the nation. And these upper-classmen certainly play with more passion than the youngsters.

  • @MoonwalkMafia It is as if this blog has become a debate among Senators who in their hearts think that anything we say will force Bill Self to do things our way. What I find sad is that so many have lost any appreciation as a cheering fan. We right now are rated as the number one team in the country that just beat the other number one team in the country and for some reason there is no joy in some bloggers because we’re apparently not doing it the right way and only eventual failure is staring us in the face. We have the highest odds in Vegas to win the Championship, yet being in that position we still are on the short end of the bet which in the end, if KU doesn’t win it all, then the small “Sky is Falling Gang” can say, “See I told you so.” I love this team and I do not worship at the Alter of Bill Self. We’re playing Basketball now at a higher level than we have in 8 years. I personally thought that Bragg and Diallo did fine Monday night. Diallo throwing out of a double team with a crisp pass to an open man for the first time told me that. Like it or not, Coach is about defense first. More minutes are going to happen for the Frosh but I agree with Jaybate that every member of the Bastards has a place and a particular skill that they bring to the table. I thought that Diallo played well and seemed to be every bit as strong as Spangler. Peace to all.

  • @wrwlumpy Well said. I think part of what is driving the freshmen playing time discussion is our recent performance in the tournament. Many believe that having them playing major minutes improves our chances of winning a NC. The recent disappointments have made this more of a flashpoint.

  • We are now closer to the Texas Tech game than we are from the win we got on Monday night.

    Reading the post out there including this one about the divide, who should play more, upside, ceilings, floors, why it went into OT or three, who played well who didn’t, the refs, the announcers, I have come to the conclusion of this.

    Kansas fans are spoiled little brats.

    One loss to the team that became number 1. A huge win over the #1/#2 team. Beating a team with possibly the POY of all of college basketball.

    Yet there is unrest and anger about the winning. I made the resolution this year, and even posted it on this site that I was going to be more of a fan this year and less of a fanatic. Enjoy the season and the games and not get to a boiling point over ever possession that doesn’t result in a score for KU or a TO for the other team.

    So I stand by my statement that KU fans are spoiled. Being ranked #1 isn’t good enough. Winning a tough fought game isn’t good enough.

    Here’s a news flash, you can’t win a National Title unless you win games to get into the tournament to begin with. The more games you win in the season and against really good opponents, the better seed you get is said tournament. The better seed, the easier road to that National Title.

    Lose those games early and often and then you are forced to win your conference tournament to get in. That will lower your seed in the big dance pitting you up against tougher teams earlier and more often in the tournament.

    See you gotta win now, the next game. You can’t look ahead to March now, you have to look at Saturdays game right now. Then come Sunday you have to Look at Tuesday nights game, not who KU will match up in the round of 32.

    OK and since someone will surely say I’m a Bill Self apologist for this post, hey I get it, he’s not perfect, nor is any player, ref, fan, announcer, game, band member or anyone or anything else. Being wrong makes us human by nature.

  • Some generic comments from someone who doesn’t often post.

    First, I am a huge Bragg fan. I truly believe that he could be one of our best players ever. His passing skills, court awareness, footwork, etc all make for a very special player. But putting him in for more minutes in the OU game would have cost us.

    Second, Lucas is absolutely no threat to score and Kruger, knowing that, left him alone. I am not a big fan of Lucas as a player. Having said that, we do not go toa third OT without him. He scored 5 straight points, because he was left so alone, made a couple solid defensive plays and carried a major portion of the second OT.

    Third, Diallo in the game is growing. He passed better and was more in the flow, than he has been in the past. Eventually he will be a stud for KU. Just not right now. But you can see it coming with both he and Bragg and oh boy, when it does!

    Finally, this placing anyone who supports Self into a mythical group that must believe he can do no wrong, is a crock off semi heated poop. you can support someone and still see where they have made mistakes.

  • @ralster

    Another one of your gem posts!

    “Maybe Calipari and certainly Tom Izzo are ok with learning-curve losses, while Self, Roy, & other equally regarded coaches are NOT ok with absorbing losses. Philosophy plays a part as well.”

    I watch a lot of MSU and UK ball.

    Izzo likes to play a very hard preconference schedule. That is where he will gamble on games to get guys experience, plus he likes them to get punched in the face many times to toughen them for March. This year was unique for them because they did start B10 play without a loss. But once MSU starts conference play, it is all business. And Izzo will scratch your eyes out for a win. He definitely does not attempt to gamble in conference play any more than necessary, just like Self.

    Calipari is different. He always starts a bunch of star freshmen so he doesn’t really have a choice. Over the past couple of seasons he seems to be learning that he can raise the bar at Kentucky if he can keep some seasoned players in his rotation.

  • Another general comment about playing Bragg and Diallo more.

    This gets to a concept that is lost in this one and done era. Talent is great, but experience can be better. Self runs a pretty basic offense. He has wrinkles that he adds in as the team is more experienced. I forget the number of plays/variations but it is around 100 for his full offense. It takes experienced players to run the various nuances. That is part of the reason this team has been so effective. They have the experience. This makes it tougher to defend KU.

    When he inserts Bragg and Diallo, he has to shorten the playbook. and subsequently, even though they are more talented, the team is a slight bit easier to defend.

    Just a thought

  • @Kong Good points. I spend much too much time on this site and therefore do not attempt to read other school’s basketball blogs. :You point out that Lucas got points because Kruger left him alone. Kruger has been acclaimed here as a very good coach who wins wherever he goes. If anyone here reads OU sites, are they going on about how Lucas was left alone and how that cost them the game? Where do OU fans think their team stands now that they have lost to a team that plays the wrong players, shoots too few threes, and has failed to adapt to the current basketball landscape? There are a number of KU fans here who are upset about how we won the game. How many OU fans are happy about the way they lost the game?

  • @sfbahawk To be honest, I would rather not take a critical eye to this particular game from either side. I do, because I am human. But honestly, it is one of those games that you really want to sit back and take a deep breath and just say “Wow, this is why I like college basketball.”

    From both teams we saw great defensive play, fantastic effort by individuals, tremendous gut checks, critical high impact shots, wonderful team play and ball movement, etc.

    It was just a joy to watch. I think both teams are looking at it like they could have done some things here or there differently, but overall that was about as good as they could play it.

    Just don’t get me started on the officiating!

  • @Bosthawk I appreciate that suggestion. I’ve started doing the same as well. I think it’s an extremely worthwhile practice for sure. It’s taught me much more about the game as well. It causes you to reevaluate what you see in the heat of the moment. For example, when we beat SDSU, everyone was saying that we played so well, and that it was such a convincing win. I didn’t see that when I rewatched the game. I’ll avoid going into the details of that game, but I agree with your suggestion and assure you that I have been doing the same this year. Again, it’s part of the reason that I felt compelled to write this. The Harvard game may have been one of the more difficult games to watch and then rewatch and find what Self said about Landen Lucas to be true. It simply was not. Rematching the games has likely been the biggest reason that has led me to think that we have better options on this team than how we have been playing in some of our games up to now.

    @Kong To be sure, this not a mythical group. I can pretty much identify them by name. The “you weren’t interviewed for the job, so how dare you question coach Self” crowd. I assure you they’re out there. Go to to get a heavy dose of them. Your explanation about supporting someone despite their mistakes is the point. It’s the point I think many of us have made. I love Coach Self. Wouldn’t trade him for the world. But I don’t agree with everything he’s done. I think we’ve had some pretty horrendous losses that rest squarely on his shoulders (the loss to Michigan more than anything comes to mind). That doesn’t mean I want him fired. That doesn’t mean I want him to be replaced by anyone.

    @wrwlumpy If Landen Lucas plays 25 minutes and scores 4 points while getting housed by Diamond Stone or Skal Labisierre, yes, I will say I told you so. But to be sure, you are right. Diallo did play better. It blows my mind that Diallo and Bragg think mid-range jumpers (i.e. the worst shot in the game) are ways to stay on the floor. They’re not. With Lucas and Traylor that is something that Self just doesn’t have to worry about because they don’t have that in their repertoire. But you are right, he make some nice plays and is seeming to get more comfortable. At the same time, if Coach Self values defense so much, why not give a guy that can erase plays on the defensive end? I subscribe to the notion that many other posters have pointed out that you gain experience from getting experience. You have to play to get experience though.

    And finally, a very general comment on the OAD discussion. Self recruits OADs. So what’s the debate? He chooses to do it. If he doesn’t want to be forced to play them, then why recruit them? It’s not as if he can’t recruit top 50 players that will be around for a few years, who will take the time to learn the systems, learn from the bench, and learn from the veterans in front of them. So maybe instead of asking why should Self give the OADs the control the question should be why does he bother at all if they go against his core philosophy?

  • @MoonwalkMafia Like most of us I don’t like the OAD circus. It is a pain as a fan as we don’t get to fall in love with the players as they go through their years at KU. We don’t get to discuss how much they developed in our system under the tutelage of Coach Self, etc. But he is going to continue doing it. He will keep recruiting the best players. Simple as that.

    Some OAD players pan out and bring their teams to the promised land. Duke and UK are a pretty good example of this from last year. Some presumed OAD don’t exactly live up to the hype. Skal this year has been beyond underwhelming. He is averaging like 7 or 8 points a game and plays far more than Diallo who I think averages 5 or 6. I am certainly not saying that Diallo is living up to his hype. Far from it. I do believe that we would be seeing a more polished and D1 ready Diallo if he wasn’t forced to sit out our first 5 games.

    Diallo and Bragg may not end up being OAD and that is why it is still ok in my book to keep recruiting them. As much as I hate the Cliff Alexander / Oubre class from last year as far as results are concerned I think you still have to recruit these kids. Bragg and Diallo may end up being back and our 2016-2017 team could be yet another squad who could be in a Final 4.

  • @JRyman We are definitely spoiled.

    I like being spoiled.

  • Banned


    I’m not sure I agree that when Traylor and Lucas are in the offense runs smoother. In fact I think it’s the opposite. The offense bogs down and KU plays bad ball when either Traylor or Lucas are manning the paint.

  • @joeloveshawks Did you know that Self is the only active major coach besides Jim Boeheim to not take his team to back to back final fours? The list of people who have done it include Izzo, Donovan, Calipari, Pitino, Brad Stevens, Roy, Bo Ryan, and Consonants. Time to change that!

  • @DoubleDD I agree that when Lucas is in it doesn’t run as smooth, but with Hunter in it does. Sometimes with Traylor it does, but certainly better, at this point, than when Diallo is in. But I didn’t say it ran smoother. I said it was a bit easier to defend as there are less options for the offense to run.

    I actually like it when Bragg is in the game as his passing skills and court awareness tend to make up for many other things.

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