Joel Embiid vs. Karviar Shepherd - You Choose

  • We have a little bit of time before our next game, so I thought I’d hit on a topic that has been on my mind a bit – Joel Embiid vs. Karviar Shepherd. Who would you rather have at KU right now?

    The answer seems easy, but bear with me.

    To reset last fall, KU was recruiting Karviar Shepherd, who committed to TCU. Shepherd is a long, 6’9” center, ranked #77 with Rivals and #65 with ESPN. He had been in the top 50 and dropped a bit in the final rankings. We then were able to wrangle Joel Embiid, who shot up the rankings.

    A few assumptions as I address the topic:

    1. That Joel Embiid is a OAD;
    2. That we do not win the national title in 2013-14;
    3. That coach Self recruited Shepherd because he really wanted to sign him.

    I also understand that Embiid was not a presumed OAD when he signed.

    My question touches upon the OAD dilemma and an approach to recruiting. One year of Joel Embiid, or four likely years of Karviar Shepherd? Don’t focus specifically on Shepherd, or whether you like him as a player, or whether his ranking is high enough (not top 50). Focus on the idea of having high level, developed talent in our program for multiple seasons. You could compare Embiid to a Perry Ellis type. Or any other PF/C that we could have possibly signed that was a three to four year player.

    It is more of an approach to recruiting.

    We got Embiid because Shepherd did not commit. That’s a near certainty. Based on the assumptions above, would you rather have Karviar Shepherd right now, or Joel Embiid? If we know we’re not winning a title, would you make that trade right now?

    Ok, I understand, we don’t know if we’re going to win a title. That’s part of the intrigue. But making that assumption, I think, defines your threshold or OAD tolerance. Thus, is an OAD like Embiid “worth it” only if we win the national title?

    When Wiggins signed, my take was that I wished that he’d gone elsewhere, but if we win the national title this season, then that would change my mind. I still feel that way (but I could see my mind changing … we’ll see). My logic, in part, was that we risked transfers by some of our very talented three to four year players (Greene, White, Frankamp) because at least two of them would just not play much, if at all; and we would be setting those guys back in their development regardless. I was more conservative than some in projecting that one of them would be in the rotation (White or Greene). I contrasted that to Julius Randle, who would be coming right in to fill an obvious hole. He was a guy that would not create the risks of transfer of high level talent.

    But with Embiid, we don’t really have any major transfer risks. So more similar to Randle. This is simply a comparison. It could be comparing Julius Randle to Karviar Shepherd (or a similar player). Or comparing Perry Ellis to Nerlens Noel … Noel for a year of Ellis for three? Assuming we don’t win the title, would you rather have a four year player like Karviar Shepherd, to develop, and to potentially impact this program for three more seasons? Or the OAD Joel Embiid?

    Take that a step further. Say we don’t win the title. White and/or Greene transfer. So in 2014-15, we have no Joel Embiid, no Andrew Wiggins, no Karviar Shepherd, no Brannen Greene and/or Andrew White (and there is a distinct chance we lose both).

    It is doubtful that Cliff Alexander would have been dissuaded from signing by Karviar Shepherd. Shepherd could have possibly started this season, and then slip back as the third post man for his sophomore season. He’d then be primed to start his junior and senior seasons. It is possible, if not likely, that Ellis is gone after his junior season. Who’s there to fill the post void in 2015-16? Right now, really low ranted guys – Traylor, Lucas, and Mickelson. Or a roll of the dice and a jump back on the OAD merry go round.

    Our 2013-14 prospects would have been harmed by not getting Embiid. But our next three seasons would be undoubtedly brighter. Again, assuming Embiid is a OAD. Mortgaging the future a bit.

    The ride is nice with Joel Embiid right now. But how ridiculously sad is it that we likely only have two – three more months of Joel Embiid on a KU basketball court? And is the OAD approach to recruiting the best thing, long term, for KU hoops?

    Would coach Self just be better off ignoring the OADs and focusing on developing high level talent? Quite simply, is that the better way to win a national title?

    As we’ve seen Embiid explode, I’m interested in everyone’s opinions here.

  • I wouldn’t trade Embiid at this point. First off, that’s like asking if you’d trade your child for another child. Embiid is more than just a talent now. He’s a Jayhawk and a joy to root for, attitude very much included.

    Secondly. He’s a Bill Self big man with a ridiculous skill set that can be an icon and a beacon for Bill Self and for KU. He’s a personal accomplishment for everyone invested in KU to show how very good our big men can be. That’s worth a lot.

    Thirdly I will gladly trust in Self to surprise us with the next great rotation on top of having Embiid this year. At this point Embiid is a known commodity and a fantastic kid to have.

    I do appreciate the difficult hypothetical though and as you said this is probably the obvious answer that everyone will give.

  • @HighEliteMajor - I’m glad you continue to post on the differences between the top tier players and those just below.

    We’ve had so many discussions about this… and it really has to be talked about continually because more complexities are realized every time we do.

    What about Turner? Do we get Turner because we got Embiid, or would we get him if we hadn’t landed Embiid? Or do we want another guy that could end up going OAD?

    I don’t know… but it seems like now we’ve thrown our hat into the OAD arena, and there is no turning back. If we don’t continue to land OADs now, it will be assumed that we hit another slump.

    Perception is a big part of all of this… no matter how you look at it.

    I think most people are glad we have Embiid now, and are thinking if he leaves after one season we’ll replace him with another top big. Heck… if he doesn’t get replaced by someone new coming in we do have some quality guys coming up that could nail down the 5, though maybe only Lucas is a true 5.

    I still don’t know what is up with AW3? Is he done for this year? Could he be a mid-season transfer and we hear of him leaving in the next few days? It just doesn’t seem to make sense that he hasn’t picked up any minutes lately. This is the guy that was praised for his off-season work ethic with Hudy. This is the guy that was praised for early practice hustle. The word has come down that Greene is going to start getting some minutes (when possible)… and now Frankamp is finding a few minutes on the court.

    I know all of us get man-crushes on our players and hate to see them transfer, but maybe it should be that way. Maybe it is just one more method of using discipline with players. And it is, for sure, a way to offer up another opportunity to someone who is in a situation that could be better at another school.

    I know most fans don’t understand that a scholarship is only for one year. There is no commitment beyond a year. It just seems natural that players stay 4 or 5 years (unless they turn pro sooner). Transfers seem to indicate troubles on a team.

    With the recent story released about Merv… isn’t it now obvious that players who transfer out of Kansas usually still made the right choice by coming here in the first place?

    I think the transfer issue unfairly demonizes Self, and people get this idea that he’s not looking out for the best interest of the player. Self does look out for players, right behind driving to win as many games as possible for Kansas. That comes first, and closely behind comes player nurturing. That is the proper priority because without winning, Self is gone from this job. We didn’t hire him to be a social worker.

    It is truly sad that we only have Embiid and Wiggins for a couple more months. I wish players were forced into playing two years or going straight to pros from HS. The OAD situation stinks… but it is what it is, and we are forced into an OAD world!

    I love to see players staying 4 or 5 years! I miss Releford right now!

  • @HighEliteMajor Another interesting questions that, again, cuts to the heart of the OAD dilemma. I take Embiid. By the end of the season he could be the talk of the NCAA…seriously. He could prove to be a once in a great while player. That being said, your underlying point that very good, but not OAD players are best for building a NC is true. However, no matter what we think, Self will continue to recruit the very best players that he can. Just about any other coach will do the same thing. In the winning is everything environment that operate in, the best players give them the best chance of winning.

  • @HighEliteMajor, I am pretty confident that either Wiggins, or Embiid, will play a second season.

    My assumption is that Adidas is grooming each player to be a Number 1 draft choice and so get the maximum hype and contract that comes with that in order to propel each player into the stratosphere of shoe/apparel endorsements.

    Addidas reputedly has to expand its revenues sharply in North America to offset continued losses in Europe. It also may have to expand its market share sharply vis a vis Nike to make the Duopoly stable and sustainable in an era of predatory investment capital managers seeking to take over huge global producer markets, especially this shoe/apparel market tied as it is by a petro-plastics umbilical to the Anglo-American oil refiners oligopoly and thence to its sponsor, the owners of the global central banking system using the oil backed dollar as its reserve currency.

    It makes little sense to me for Adidas to spring both Wiggins and Embiid the same season, so that one is the Number 2 choice. What is best for Adidas is to stick with what I hypothesize has been the plan all along: Wiggins end of this season, Embiid end of next season.

    Self seems to be telegraphing Embiid staying.

    I would guess Adidas needs to get a series of Number One draft choices and it needs to get a series of NCAA champions to really put a dent in Nike’s dominance, even if Nike were amenable to letting it happen for the good of strengthening the duopoly, which Nike hardly appears to be, given its apparent stacking of UK and UA in pursuit of Nike teams to dominate the Finals. Maybe they did not channel talent, but from this fan’s distant view it appears a possibility.

    Adidas got a ring from Rick last season; that was a start. But they learned from Derek Rose that its not enough to just get one number one every once in awhile. Adidas needs a series of Roses as surely as Nike needs a series of Anthony Davises.

    So: I am pretty much expecting Embiid to play for KU next season. This lines up 2 straight Number Ones for Adidas. It also lines up three straight NCAA champs. These are the kinds of runs that can make a difference over time in market share and bottom line.

    All the Nike leaning media and coaches appear to be putting out a steady, shameless stream of “Embiid is the best” and Embiid will jump this season" to try to throw a wrench in what seems to me to be Adidas strategy. Gee, what a surprise!

    The media and coaches with more of an Adidas lean seem to be talking up both players, but not beating the drum for Embiid to come out this season.

    I think the only reason we are having this tide of speculation about Embiid is that players being humans, rather than robots executing marketing strategies, Andrew Wiggins hit an unexpected wall, while Embiid came on a bit faster than expected. That combination created a massive opportunity to hype Embiid as this year’s Number One.

    But I suspect of late Andrew has gotten a fire lit under him to right the ship soar back into number one talk. Embiid is supposed to push, I reckon.

    The pushing of Andrew Wiggins finally reached Andrew and he was a holy terror in Ames.

    Let me emphasize this with caps: a guy listed as a guard on KU’s roster had 19 rebounds! When was the last time you recall a guard getting 19 rebounds? Magic Johnson? Oscar Robertson? It was a statement game for Andrew. It was recognition that he has to put up some numbers for awhile, in oder to bring the Number 1 speculation back to being focused on him. Or so I believe, anyway.

    Just an awesome rebounding display for a perimeter player.

    In conclusion, I believe everyone needs to get ready for more lion killing stories next session.

  • Assuming Embiid is a OAD, I would still take him, hands down.

    The reason is that his impact to the program may reverberate for years in recruiting. I think the track record with bigs was already established and that’s what got Embiid to come – he thought he could develop here.

    Embiid has amplified that to 11.

    For the next several years at least we should be the prohibitive favorite with the top big in the nation. Every year, the very best ones will be coming, trying to follow in the footsteps.

    They will try, but they won’t be the same, because there are 7-footers coming to college almost every year and they aren’t guys like Embiid. A footer with the agility of Embiid is really rare.

    We couldn’t have known how it would all pan out when he was being recruited, but let’s face it, the staff saw the raw potential right away and made the right call.

  • @jaybate 1.0 Wouldn’t ya know it, them damn shoe whores are behind everything.

  • It makes no sense whatsoever for Adidas to spring both Wiggins and Embiid the same season, so that one is the Number 2 choice. What is best for Adidas is to stick with what I hypothesize has been the plan all along: Wiggins end of this season, Embiid end of next season.

    @jaybate 1.0 Not sure if you’re serious about all this shoe conspiracy / cloak and dagger stuff. But, in case you are, perhaps you could help me understand why it doesn’t make sense for Wiggins / Embiid to be #1 / 2 and it did make sense for and Davis / MKG in 2012? Why would Nike allow 1/2 but Addias would not?

  • I thought Louisville was with Adidas in which case Rick won a ring for Adidas last season.

  • I guess I should answer my own question.

    If, as @jaybate suggested, Embiid will be around for year two, I think that would sway me to take Embiid.

    But if not, if Embiid is around for only one year and his presence doesn’t translate to a title, I’d take Karviar Shepherd.

    My point here is that we don’t have to participate in the OAD drama. Self could simply choose not to participate. It’s seems weird for me, maybe, since I believe strongly in rankings. But I also believe strongly that it’s awfully hard to really maximize any freshman.

    @drgnslayr really brings up a great point … does having Embiid get us Myles Turner? And to extend that further, does having Embiid and Turner get us Stephen Zimmerman? If it does, is that how we want to live?

    The rotating door of players, and bodies, and development, and hype, and “being young” – I don’t think we have to live that way.

    I know I’m swimming upstream here. And if we win a title … “if”… then I’ll be the first one in line proclaiming the OAD experiment a success. But the pursuing and focusing on the highly ranked non-OAD seems like a pretty darn solid path to a national title. I’m fine with sprinkling in an OAD in a clear position of need; but other than that, it’s simply mortgaging the future and creating an incredibly unsure future.

  • Title or not, I think that if Embiid goes on to have a stellar NBA career, the returns over time for The Program are better having Embiid over Shepard. In my opinion, Shepard is a dime a dozen, and Embiid is a once in a decade type of player. If Self sends the #1 center and # 1 guard to the league in consecutive years we have a chance to start a Calipari like recruiting coup. I agree with you that I prefer, as a fan, to see the 2 and 3 year players, but in the last 10 years, we have seen the NCAA move to a one and done league, and Kansas needs those players to continue getting maximum media exposure.

    Just think about this: How many people in Canada are learning about KU basketball this year as every game played is being aired there. The same can be said for JoJo…I bet his stardom is attracting more new eyes to the program as well. We all love to get a title in April of 2014, but my opinion the long term growth and stability of the program are enhanced by having Wiggy & JoJo.

    ps, Shepard is a little better than a dime a dozen–just going for emphasis there 🙂

  • Imagine if we had just gone for second tier players this year?

    We were still replacing our starting 5 from last year. Is our only way of judging this team if they win a NC? I’m pretty certain if we snagged lower quality players we wouldn’t be winning #10 in the B12.

    So we do have a Calipari-like team this year but that was more because of losing most of our team last year.

    I am of the opinion we will not lose all three of Wiggins, Embiid and Selden. If true, that means we have at least one of those guys back for at least one more year.

    And of Greene, Frankamp and White… I’m pretty sure at least 2 of those guys will be back.

    Mason and Tharpe will be back. Lucas and Traylor will be back. Mickelson will be back.

    Even if we lose 2 of our 3 potential OADs and we lose 1 to transfer, we are going to be stacked next year with what we have and what we bring in. As of today, we have two guys that look like they’ll start as freshmen. So it is hard to imagine next year’s team being nearly as young as this year’s team.

    However… the fact that we brought in several potential OADs and had to replace our entire starting lineup… this was a good year to test the waters with the Jayhawk Nation with a Calipari-like team to know for future reference if we want to dive in this deep.

    My sights are on #10… and if we win that, and nothing else, I’m satisfied. Of course, I’d like to see a March run and hardware in Lawrence… but we have a long ways to go to be competitive in March. I’m not holding my breath.

    Out of all of Self’s teams… this is the true “rebuilding year.” I can’t think of another one of his teams where he had to replace the entire starting 5… actually starting 6 (Kevin Young).

    This is not a common year for Jayhawk basketball… and that was no matter who we recruited.

  • I would take Embiid every single time, without hesitation.

    The hope is to have the best possible shot at a national title every single year. That requires a lot of things - cohesiveness, toughness, luck - but it also requires talent, and lots of it. Without Embiid, KU would have been very talented, but Embiid could push them over the top this year. Shepherd likely would not be able to do that.

    The second reason I would take Embiid over a guy like Shepherd is that there is no guarantee that, over his 4 year career, he has one year where he has an opportunity to impact KU the way that Embiid likely will in his one season. For some context, let’s look at Mitch McGary. He was the #27 recruit coming out of high school according to ESPN in 2012 (26 for Scout, 30 for Rivals). Like Shepherd, his stock fell prior to his signing. Obviously, he was ranked higher to start with, as he ranked as high as #2 at one point. Then, of course, the bottom dropped out and he ended up in the low 20’s. However, he rediscovered that production level last year and could have been a lottery pick. He returned to school and got hurt, because injuries happen. Everybody in the maize and blue celebrated when McGary came back to school. Dreams of Big 10 titles and national title runs were dancing through their heads. And now he’s hurt, done for the year and probably going pro this summer. What did Michigan gain by him staying?

    There’s no guarantee that if we had gotten Shepherd that he would have 1) stayed all four years, 2) improved all four years, 3) remained healthy all four years, 4) played at a high enough level to push us into the national title discussion in any one year.

    Even if this is Embiid’s only year, he has played well enough to put us in the title discussion. Granted, there’s no guarantee we win that title, but if you trade Embiid for Shepherd, I doubt Shepherd is playing at this level, which makes us worse overall.

    The other thing to ponder is that Embiid would have gone somewhere. His finalists were Kansas, Texas and Florida. Can you imagine him on that Florida team? They are already very, very good. Add Embiid to that mix and they are probably on the short list for the title. Rick Barnes isn’t exactly a coaching guru, but Embiid makes Texas a much better team than they are right now, probably good enough to push for 3rd or 4th in the Big 12 instead of 6th.

    Taking Shepherd over Embiid doesn’t make Embiid magically vanish. He’s playing somewhere, and probably playing very well because he’s just that talented. In Embiid’s case, that means playing somewhere that we would have most assuredly had to face him this year (maybe twice!) and potentially strengthening another national title contender.

    Shepherd over Embiid basically could mean we aren’t quite elite this year, or next year, or the year after that. I would rather have the chance to be elite than be just a little bit short.

  • BTW: Did anyone in here watch the UK - Arkansas game last night? It was hilarious watching Cal be Cal. He’s so friggin’ animated and his coaching style looks like he is coaching 5 year old kids in biddy basketball.

    The commentators constantly mentioned Kansas. I guess Kentucky watches our games… and Cal mentioned to his team that they need to have the same composure we had going into Ames. The commentators kept mentioning that, and also mentioned how we beat Cal at Memphis.

    We are in our own little bubble… but outside of Jayhawk land, we are starting to get more attention all the time (again). I like us being almost off the radar. Our players can focus on basketball instead of TV cameras.

  • @drgnslayr I didn’t see that, but I did watch the Kitties beat Oooooook-lahoma. Since both teams couldn’t lose, and we just put a 26 pt drubbing on the k-state, I was glad to see OU lose.

  • @nuleafjhawk - I’m a basketball nut… so I DVR games about every night. My wife thinks I’m a lunatic. She’s probably right.

    I caught the Kitties’ game, too.

    Did you see how Arkansas beat Kentucky? The OT slam at the buzzer? It was un-friggin-real! 3 Kentucky players just standing under the goal while a high-flying Razorback shot in and had one of the greatest slam dunks of all times! It’s worth a watch today on Sportscenter… and if you can’t find it there, it surely must be online.

    Totally hilarious… watching all those future NBA players standing flat-footed and only being a spectator to the highlight! I can imagine them thinking, “that should have been me!”

  • @drgnslayr Total agreement with you, first that Conference title #10 is a worthy goal, and second that Self had no choice but to go after all the best players this year because so many last year’s players left.

    Where choice comes in is now: is Self recruiting potential OADs for next year, when he could be recruiting top “developmental” players? The answer seems to be yes.

  • @drgnslayr Cal & biddy ball-good analogy. Sometimes I’d just like to slap him as he overreacts to almost everything. Reminds me of when the wife said she wanted to take a trip somewhere she’s never been & I suggested the kitchen! Hey a guy like me who’s actually coached Y ball, OK, a pass is in order with all the parental tampering & involvement. But a professional? At least act like you’ve done something similar & show just a smidgen of poise. It won’t get you fired. 15 years ago I referred to those who are that animated as “Daddyball” coaches. Once when I got a technical before the opening tip by making a lineup change & the young man didn’t report to the scorers table the entire gym went bonkers & I just blew it off, no biggie. But another time when a parental volunteer told me to eff myself when the ref told him to put time back on the clock during a close game, I actually had to tell my assistant to take over for the last 2 min as I left the gym so angered. Emotion is easy to find, but not all that difficult for a mature adult to control. We still got the W. Sometimes you have to go with the flow, or just get your rear outta Dodge. Here’s a link to last night’s finish. Sometimes I’d like to see a highlight reel of all the chairs thrown at half time or after a loss like this one. A lot of opinions of coaches & their demeanors would definitely be altered.

  • @ParisHawk - Gosh… without losing more to OAD or transfer, we have already landed the two available scholarships. And we will have a team with mostly non-freshmen next year.

    If we are snagging one more player… at this point, is it almost easier to land another OAD for “icing on the cake” or land a development player who will be behind someone next year and might always be behind someone if we land more OADs in future years?

    It almost seems easier to fill one more spot with another OAD. The more OADs we send to the NBA early, the easier it is to recruit more OADs and harder to recruit developmental players who may never get real PT. That’s just my opinion… total theory BTW.

  • @globaljaybird - It seems funny… Cal telling his guys to remain poised and in control, while he remains animated and with a terrifying look like his family is trapped in a house fire. It just doesn’t add up… but for those who aren’t really UK fans, it is extremely comical to watch! I catch most of the UK games and I’m never disappointed on the entertainment value.

    Thanks for the link! Man… did that guy fly high or what?

  • @drgnslayr True, you are what you eat. These guys are just kids & they will most always display the same behavior as their coaches do under game conditions. Off the court-a whole different animal. When I coached, the jr high level was just about the most enjoyable age, mainly because most of the kids had not developed relationships with young girls yet, were physically gifted, & not quite old enough to display poor sportsmanship or publically undesirable behavior. I seriously believed that you lead by example. There were some exceptions sure, but those were my favorite years. And being from the burbs here in the KC metro, some of my kids were damn good players. I clearly recall an 8 yr old that was between the legs & behind the back more proficiently than most teenagers. I missed my calling slayr-I should have been a teacher & coach. Those were really fun years for sure. To me, finishing a degree is the most important thing going, as I dropped out beforehand for “love & money”…yeah right.

  • My take on OADs is that they’re basically salt. You might be healthier to swear it off completely, but without it, you’ll be left with a bland plate. Load up on too much, and it overwhelms the dish. But when you strike the right balance, it takes you to places your palate has only ever dreamed of.

    Given the fact that we were replacing the starting 5, I think there was/is more room for salt this year than in a normal year. We were basically starting with a boiled potato of a team. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a boiled potato. If you’re starving, then it’s practically a feast. But KU has been dining too richly, grown too thick to really be sated by such a meager offering. Don’t get me wrong, though. Even the most nicely seasoned potato is no substitute for a full turkey dinner with all of the trimmings, but the way things looked from last year to this, we were no where near Thanksgiving time. Yet now, as the meal comes together, it looks like we may have been closer than we thought. We managed upon some leftover beef. We found some greens. And what we thought might start as stock is rapidly thickening into a fine gravy before our eyes. If the bird cooks up as nicely as it looked on the label, we’ll be gorging ourselves come March.

    Still, I do share the larger concern about OADs. I don’t want KU to become UK. We don’t need a revolving door of talent. And we certainly don’t want any meals that consist solely of over-salted potatoes with no meat. I would rather get Embiid for two or three years than have him beget Turner and Zimmerman. In fact, I’m not really sold on Turner as it is. He’s not a very good offensive player and I think the comparisons he’s drawn to Anthony Davis are right out of left field (he doesn’t have any of the guard skills Davis has). Yeah, he’d be a great rim protector, but he think he’s more of a less explosive, higher BBIQ Nerlens Noel. Certainly not a bad thing to have, but also not worth having for one year if you can’t build around him. Not to mention, that Big Cliff is an excellent shot blocker in his own right (although he’s a swatter and that needs to change), and that we have Mickleson and Traylor as more defensively gifted bigs anyway.

    I actually really like the way next year’s current class is shaping up. Although Big Cliff will likely OAD, he’s raw enough that I could see him coming back for a second or even third season to truly become NBA ready. Likewise, based on comments made by him and his father, I think Kelly Oubre is looking more for a 2-3 year college career. If you’ve followed his stats from this season, he’s scoring tons, but needs obvious work on his long ball before he takes it to the professional level. Although he will most certainly challenge whoever is left at the wing after the season ends, his role may become first guard off the bench unless his energy and defense win out. Where I do see a talent gap and were I have concern over the remainder of this year and next is at the PG position. Mason shows a lot of promise and may even be able to achieve a Sherron Collins type career in time, but he’s a couple years off, and that’s been more evident as Tharpe’s played better. For his part, I think Tharpe showed great leadership in Ames, but he’s still not nearly the player we need him to be on the defensive end, and he’s also not a consistent enough player on the offensive end. He’s shown recently that he’s capable of having big games, which is good, but I’d feel much better if he’d average 6/6/2.3 (p/a/to) than if he’s at 10/2/1. Regardless, I think we need to do a better job of attracting elite (especially defensively) pgs that have room for development. Being able to disrupt on the perimeter would make a huge difference in how we’ve done this season, as well as how we could do. I’d actually like to add Jaquan Lyle not inspite of his reported academic issues, rather, because of them for the reason that I think he could have a McLemore type trajectory (although I don’t think he’s psuedo-OAD material the way BMac turned out), sitting out a year, then coming in to an immediate impact role, and eventually leading the team his junior season.

    So long and short, I think Embiid over Shepherd is where we want to be right now. I think Wigs over White is less of a deal overall, but he may be the player we needed to be competitive today rather than the guy we want to bring us wins in the future. And although I thought Selden was a lock for OAD earlier, I’m on the fence now. I still think he projects as an NBA 1, and if that rough patch he hit in December was truly his freshmen slump, then I think that’s where he’ll be headed this summer. But if he has too many more games where he fails to make a positive impact on the other either side of the ball, he’ll be back, and we’ll be better for it. There might be some opportunity cost there, especially if we’re going to retain at least one of Greene and White, but I think either outcome would please me, and either way, we’re in good shape for next season, and that’s all that really matters.

  • @globaljaybird - I think you have the right nature, sensibilities and basketball knowledge to be a great coach! It’s never too late to get back in! My coaching experience is limited… many moons ago I coached in Special Olympics and with the really small guys. Then I left for overseas for 20 years, which expanded my culture and basketball. I’m back now and I hope to get back into a bit of youth coaching soon. I have to admit, the most rewarding coaching, for me, was in the Special Olympics program. I’ve never had more fun and experienced so much enthusiasm in sports! Those kids totally rock! I wish everyone had their purity and enthusiasm!

    @konkeyDong - Awesome analogy… great perspective on your post!

    I think the book is still out on Turner. I see him as a project ahead of Withey at his age. He definitely has more potential than Withey on offense. It really is all about Turner’s focus on development… Hudy! Imagine that kid with some muscle!

    I agree with you… next year’s team is shaping up well… though I’m sure we are still in for some shake ups to the roster.

    And I’m with you on Tharpe needing to be a better defender. He can learn to be a great creator on offense, but if he turns right around and gives it all back on defense, what is the advantage we have with Tharpe?

    Hard to say, this early, if next year’s team will have anyone go OAD. It’s just too soon to predict. A lot of that is perception and media buzz.

  • Speaking of Embiid…

    Here is the twisted view from our “friends” over at USAToday:

    Out of all the highlights from that game showing a positive outcome for Embiid, they show his one miss at a dunk. (and Embiid was fouled)

    USAToday isn’t news… it’s media driven by an agenda.

  • So after reading all this, we should draft players that aren’t as good as other players so we can start all over with a losing season to develop more winning seasons?

  • I would toss this in … we had Simien, then Wright, Jackson, Kaun; we moved to Aldrich, and the Morrises; then to TRob and Withey; and now to Ellis. Not a OAD among them.

    High talent level guys. At least two seasons.

    Would you rather have that type of transition in your post players, or would you rather have Embiid one year, Turner the next, Zimmerman the next? Each year rolling the dice that you actually land the right one to continue the level of play?

  • @HighEliteMajor I understand what you mean HEM, but is hoping that each OAD is legit rolling the dice any more than hoping TRob develops as much as he did? Or the Morii and Withey making as much progress as they did. A lot of folks (myself included) would say they turned out much better than anticipated.

  • And most of those players still left early. How many of those guys did we get the full 4-year ride out of?

    As soon as any of them get to draft status, they are gone! So… we only get one year at “all-star” level. I remember how bad the twins were in their freshman year. We didn’t know they could even dunk until sophomores.

    They can be big duds when not OADs… at least if OADs are duds, they should return for another year or two and start to develop. In the least, the OAD dud is still probably better than the freshman 4-yr development player. I’d rather have the OAD back for year two… (in most cases)

    I just think we would all benefit from a NBA rules change making these guys go two years to college, or none at all and straight to pros.

    I think our situation will start leveling out next year… when we have a cast of mostly returning players and 2 or 3 new players, some of which could be OADs, but none for sure.

    This is just a tough year for Kansas basketball starting from scratch. But at least we have dreams for this year… so… you could argue that this year has been made more typical than many would have thought. We are looking good for #10 and there is the chance this team could do something in March. I’m pretty sure that makes a typical Bill Self team more than the fact that we have a team full of freshmen (which we were going to have anyways unless he scored more transfers).

    I don’t think we can really know the best way to go in recruiting until we give this method a try for 5 or so years. You have to have several seasons of it to see if Self adjusts to the changes and to have a decent enough size sample to make a judgment.

    We could win it all this year and it still doesn’t mean this is the way to go. Maybe we win it all and then end up in the NIT for the next 4 years. I seriously doubt that will happen, but I doubt that will happen regardless what happens this March.

    Still… no one knows what will happen… that is what makes this game so friggin’ addictive! I’m such a junkie… I’m really pathetic!

  • I think the real issue with players of OAD potential:

    Can they play team ball? Do they require special treatment, which, in the process, helps destroy team chemistry?

    I think Wiggins is sometimes too unselfish. I’m glad he’s starting to push his game more.

    And we are now discovering that passing is one of Embiid’s true talents! His outlet passes off of defensive rebounds are the best I’ve ever seen of any big man ever to wear a college uniform! And on offense… he is starting to thrive off of being doubled by looking to hard pass to an open player. That one recent highlight showing him doubled and how he threw a hard baseball pass to the open guard on the opposite perimeter side was as good as it gets at the college level. You expect to see that kind of passing in the NBA, not college ball!

    I’m still thrilled we have both Embiid and Wiggins! I just wish we had them longer! Who knows… maybe Embiid stays. Imagine that… Embiid staying? No team in college ball would have the slightest answer for handling Embiid next year… I’d say few have an answer for him now. The only answer is to draw him into fouls.

  • @bskeet I don’t understand why one views talk about how duopoly and oligopoly “coopetition” work as engaging in conspiracy theorizing. Duopoly and oligopoly are not only legal, but one of the most prevalent regimes in regional and global producer markets. Many, if not most respected scholars in economics, political economy and international relations recognize these regimes as prevalent. Some even view them as desirable ordering combining a favorable trade off between efficiency and stability. I have never fully agreed with the experts that argue this way, but it’s true that many respected scholars do lean this direction.

    Regarding Nike, I can only speculate and opine, as I did about Adidas. If I were Nike, I would view myself as the hugely dominant player in D1 hoops. I would think my best play in that realm would be to stay on top by continuing to use my greater numbers of allied players and programs to try to take up as many slots on the grocery store shelf each year as possible. Numbers favor Nike. Adidas has the problem of how to avoid being swamped by Nike’s greater numbers. Therefore, it would seem Adidas’ best play would be to target top talent with better deals than Nike wants to offer it’s vastly larger stable of Nike leans. This logic would probably lead Adidas to want to keep taking the number 1 slot as many years as possible and concede to Nike numbers the remaining slots IMHO.

    Next, it could possibly be that Nike expected reputed one time Nike lean Andrew Wiggins to sign with a Nike program, at the time the players last year made their decisions to go 1-2. I don’t recall the chronology, but I know Andrew waited a very long time, maybe so long prior decisions could not be feasibly reversed.

    Regardless, I would see nothing necessarily illegal in oligopolists engaging in what some scholars call coopetition in the sports shoe and apparel producer market. I would find it more remarkable, if they did not. Rock Chalk!

  • @globaljaybird, not every thing, but it seems logical for them to take an interest in the players that might become hugely important to marketing their product globally for perhaps the next decade. It’s all just a hypothesis though.

  • @JayDocMD Actually, I think that all of the names I listed developed exactly as we should expect them to under coach Self. The numbers bear that out. But with a OAD, you have such a brief period of time to unleash the potential, thus the margin for error is much thinner.

    @drgnslayr - you mention seeing this level out. I’m leery of our post positions leveling out. We have Ellis, who after 2014-15 may turn pro; but no top 50 talent either now, or for next season (other than OAD Alexander or possibly OAD Turner). If we get a top 50 for 2015 (non-OAD), those guys, many times, aren’t ready made to start (Morrises, TRob, Ellis, Withey, etc). So that’s where I’m a bit concerned.

  • @jaybate

    Because of the outrageous amount of money paid for shoe endorsements… I’m suddenly taking your thoughts seriously about shoe companies. There is just way too much money being tossed around to not look closely at it and expect it’s an area where anything is possible.

    It seems that Adidas most-effective way to compete with Nike is go with fewer athletes, but many at the top. Sort of a rifle approach instead of shotgun approach.

    @HighEliteMajor - You can always worry about our post presence in a few years because anything can happen between now and then. Many of the top prospects in the post starting HS now aren’t on the radar yet… many yet to grow another 5 to 10 inches in the next two years. It’s just hard to say. After Alexander may come another player like Cliff or Randle who is ready-built. Or a transfer… I still have high hopes for Lucas. He has the best fundamentals of all our bigs now. Who is to say he won’t go crazy on Hudy this summer? Put some muscle on Lucas and we have a guy who could compete with anyone! He has already changed his body completely. He was full of baby fat before arriving in Lawrence. The guys who build really useful muscle mass spend a few years developing it and developing their game around it. That is totally different than pumping muscles up in a few months to look good in a magazine.

    I don’t think people gave Withey enough credit for his hard work in the weight room. That guy added as much real strength as a guy can do (effectively) in just a couple of years. If he sticks with it now (in the pro ranks) he’ll become a journeyman player in the league. Those footers who can defend and have real strength rarely leave the league early (unless injured).

  • @drgnslayr I was fortunate to get involved with Special Olympics & work some bowling “tournaments” about 10 years ago. That is absolutely some of the most rewarding “work” one can do. Kids from SO are so brimming with unbridled love it kind of chokes me up to think about them. Many are not destined to live long or fulfilling lives either alone or with those that care for them. I wish everyone could experience the amount of pleasure we received from our involvement with SO.

  • @globaljaybird - RIght on! To coach in a world without animosity, judgements, egos… just warm, accepting hearts full of love and enthusiasm! For whatever aspects are missing from their lives because of their personal situations, they more than make up for it by being so special in all the right areas! I know I questioned many of my own behaviors and motivations after having that privilege! There is no better position anywhere for teaching what CAN happen on this planet!

    Imagine if those attitudes and behaviors went beyond the doors of Special Olympics? The world would be one happy place!

  • @drgnslayr global, great posts!

  • @jaybate 1.0 And a sufficiently insightful one also I might add, heir jaymeister.

  • To Embiid or not to Embiid; this is the big question.

    I am pretty sure Embiid will be gone at the end of the season, and if one year is all we get, I am good with it.

    Folks, I don’t know if some of you really appreciate what we are witnessing. Many time I see the gentle giant go to work and I have to ask myself, did he just do that? We are watching the birth of a superstar. Years from now we will be telling the younger generation about the time we saw Embiid play, much like we occasionally hear from some one that saw Wilt play. Let’s enjoy the ride and the time we have Embiid at KU.

  • Joel Embiid or Karviar Shepherd guys?

    I continue to eat my raw take of crow as Jojo was incredible last night, outdueling Giannis.

  • @approxinfinity

    I really had to remember who Karviar Shepherd was 🙉

  • @BeddieKU23 said in Joel Embiid vs. Karviar Shepherd - You Choose:


    I really had to remember who Karviar Shepherd was 🙉

    Me too - -I have no clue who that is

  • @approxinfinity Wasn’t that beautiful the way it turned out?

  • @jayballer67 He was a center for TCU.

  • @Jethro said in Joel Embiid vs. Karviar Shepherd - You Choose:

    @jayballer67 He was a center for TCU.

    oh ya that’s right appreciate that. I DO remember him now

  • @approxinfinity had me thinking HEM was back.

  • @benshawks08 I’m sure he’s back just as a different name.

  • ~ 8 years later ~

    lol… nice seeing HEM and Jaybate in here and how involved all of us were in posting!

  • @drgnslayr you’re right, it really is nice to see how much we contributed back then. Time to dig deep!

  • @approxinfinity

    It makes me wonder… are we all changed somewhat? If so… how much influence is coming from our Covid existence and from recent societal changes?

    I’ve noticed a growing sensitivity in people where they take fewer chances speaking out because of fear of being challenged or attacked.

  • @drgnslayr maybe. I’m not too worried about what people think. I think it’s more fatigue, health concerns, the stress of navigating COVID with a family, the changing economic landscape and general BS that has taken up (or wiped out) my thoughts. Maybe in times of stress people are less inclined to expound on their thoughts with an extended audience.

Log in to reply