With Doke out for the year, what changes now?

  • Big blow yesterday. I was holding out hope that the injury to our big guy would be minor and he’d be back but out for the season? Won’t be full speed until summer? Jeesh, not only does this crush his current season, it puts his off-season development in Limbo as well.

    Where to start… This feels like a crushing blow to a team that only has 9 healthy bodies now. We only have 3 healthy bigs, Coleby is still dragging that leg and will have to play now., No other choice for him. We are severely limited in the post right now.

    What is the hope? That Bragg lives up to expectations? That Lucas can play up to last years level for the rest of the season? We can squeeze minutes out of a hurt Coleby & Freshy Lightfoot? Go to 5 guards?

    This doesn’t end title hopes in my opinion because this team will live and die by its five guards. We’ll see who steps up and see how this team responds to adversity.

    When are we going to stop getting bad luck with our bigs. Every year a big is getting hurt that impacts the team…

    thoughts everyone?

  • @BeddieKU23 Bragg steps up, Landen continues to improve, Coleby really contributes when he gets fully healthy, Mitch comes in to give a breather, Jackson plays a bit of 4/5 in the Magic 1980 NBA Finals mode, and we survive pretty well. Udoka was originally seen as reaching his full ability and being most important next year anyway, so this puts us where we originally expected to be.

    Not saying we won’t miss him as a possible game-changer, just that I have confidence in the coaches’ and the other guys’ ability!

  • I think this puts very positive pressure on Lucas and Bragg. Real life and life under Self has always been about taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Nobody is a made man that doesn’t have to abide by the rules. Nobody gets to take plays off on either end of the court. And you can bet that if any of these guys act inappropriately or are lost out there , Self will find a way to make their minutes disappear. But the leash is long, they know we need them, and with the 4 guard offense established and clicking they know they can still catch a blow and the team will be fine. I think all these guys are team first players and theyre going to get it done, get us deep in the tourney, and make Frank an NBA guard!

  • @mayjay

    Nice post. Doke’s impact will be felt. I do hope that guys step up in his absence with how thin we are. I like Coleby but even coach says we are only getting 80-85% of him and maybe for the whole season. Lightfoot is who he is right now, maybe he’ll have some games where he flashes.

    Minutes will go up for Lucas & Bragg and the margin for error just went down even further with them. We’ll certainly see how guys step up

  • Sorry to hear the news about Doke. Loved what attitude and effort he gave. While we are developing our big men post defense could we see if while he is suspended Grayson Allen could show our guards his defensive leg work?

  • Ba gawd King, that’s Mitch Lightfoot’s music!!!

    It means much more Bragg and Lucas and probably almost exclusively playing 4 out 1 in. I don’t even think against Baylor or Kentucky at this point we can afford to play two post players at a time. Not when the back-ups are Mitch and Coleby, that would not end well. With playing 4 and 1 that will help mask it to an extent and thankfully we have a transcendent player in Josh this year that is perfect for a college do-it-all 4.

    Basically, it makes the team less versatile to play big when the situation would call for it.

  • @BShark I think we will see a bit of Bragg coupled with Lucas, at least until one gets some fouls. Bragg’s jump shot can help unclog the middle for the high-low passes to Lucas.

    I hope.

  • Well, after the initial thought after hearing this, the thought of - -well we are screwed, after sleeping on it, have had a little time to think on this. First for sure this is big, really hurts our depth and some defensive presence inside. I just thought man now what? - - - Let’s think this is what I feel anyways, Lucas is showing signs and decent one’s at that, that he is regaining his end of the last year form now, nothing huge offensively you know 8-9 points like last year, 6,7,8 rebounds like last year. Udoka REALLY the last couple of games that we played was on the bench more, Landen had once again like had started playing more, BECAUSE of his play - -Udoka still having some foul issues. Udoka and Landen pretty much was a wash offensively, neither one big numbers, Both similar in rebs. Lucas is pretty solid body frame wise, pretty solid maybe and I say MAYBE Lucas a little more mobile then Udoka, so I’m thinking in that aspect maybe not a huge drop off in the overall.

    The Big thing is - - who spells Landen? - -That’s going to force Bragg to HAVE to play inside, he likes to drift outside for the jumper, doesn’t really like to bang. On the offensive end might be better because would open the floor even more, spread even more - -a big that could take opposing bigs out away from the basket more. Create even more drivng lanes for Frank Josh and Devonte, the problem will be on the defensive end for Bragg I think trying to defend big bulky physical guys down low, doesn’t have the bulk to battle, liable to get worked over down deep. These two Lucas and Bragg I feel are going to be THE TWO that has to take care of the 5 spot for sure, Like was mentioned Dwight is still by far not at 100 % dragging that leg as Coach has stated, and Mitch is just way to light in the frame and not nearly developed to help that much yet - - Probably very limited spot playing time behind Lucas, and Bragg, there is just no way for him to be able to match up inside he needs a lot of time with Hudy

    Now I could be totally wrong, way off line, but maybe it’s not quite as bad as when first hearing as we thought. - -Ya for sure it is a hit - - a big hit, but we actually wasn’t getting a lot of points out of our 5 spot when Doka was playing. - -Again I think offensively him and Lucas are just about a wash, Rebounding they are about a wash at this point and time anyways. Now would Doka been better later in the season? - - Who knows , we won’t know now, we just have to play with what we have. Let’s remember that our strengths this year have been Josh, Frank, Devonte, SVI, and LaGerald, and still will be, playing through and around them will continue. We Have seen that we are going to go as far as those guys take us this year anyways we have already seen that, and that will continue, this doesn’t change that. - - I’m not saying that it’s all roses BY FAR Doka will be missed for sure, but just MAYBE not quite as much as we all first thought.

    Now what will this do to Doka and his development? - -It’s going to sit him back some for sure, and it even brings up the question to me anyways I felt Doka was here for the two years maybe three. Now I feel we will have Doka through his junior year. I felt he needed the two years to get his offensive skill set AND defensive presence to the full extent, now with this set back I just feel he will be here the three years. I know this is of no use to use at the present but might help us through the 2018 how people have been talking that 2018 class is a lean class for recruits. Now will be the time for Doka after his surgery will give him time to work on conditioning, work with hudy, and work on his game. Big loss my friends but we still going to be ok I believe, just my thoughts. - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • 85-100 really fast!

  • In a weird way it could help relieve some pressure from Lucas and Bragg since they will not have to worry about not making mistakes and earning playing time. Both will get plenty of playing time and they just need to concentrate in staying out of foul trouble and increasing productivity.

  • So I said there were no positives here, I thought of some parts of the situation that are at least not terrible… The team has plenty of time to adapt to no Doke at this point in the year and quite frankly, our upcoming schedule is pretty tame until we head into Ames.

  • @approxinfinity

    “I think this puts very positive pressure on Lucas and Bragg.”

    That’s what I think, too.

    I recall a Louisville team that lost one of their key players during March Madness and then went on to win it all.

    We still have all the tools we need to win it all. It is just about getting these guys to focus and be motivated up and beyond everyone they play.

  • @drgnslayr It seems like both those guys already aren’t overthinking their play, are relaxing of late. Lucas is catching entry passes with one hand and he’s seeing where everyone is when he has the ball, not fumbling around on the block with blinders on. Bragg is using his mobility to his advantage and chasing down rebounds, and making his bunnies, and he’s not demonstrative when things don’t go his way.

    If Coleby can get well by February, as Bill hopes, it’ll give us the depth we need.

    Do you think Mitch needs to add weight/strength right now? Can he, with the season in full swing?

  • Some quality cancel the season meltdowns about this on other KU forums.

  • @BShark

    Good thing we don’t get subscribed the same med’s as those boards do!

    It’s a tough blow, good thing its early enough to adjust and hope that our other guys step up. Doke wasn’t going to win the championship single handily anyway but he could have been a key cog.

  • @drgnslayr One thing to note, Bill has indicated that he thinks Coleby has the get better gene. I think we think of him as a known commodity upperclassman whose ceiling will be reached simply with good health. I think, like with Tarik and probably Hunter, Bill believes Coleby still has a lot to learn under Self:

    “He’s got a great motor. I feel like he can play on the block. He can play facing. He can do a lot of different things. He’s raw offensively, but he’s a premiere athlete and should be a solid rebounder and defender right off the bat.”

    “He’s hasn’t been playing ball forever, but there is definitely a foundation there, physically,” Self said. “Also, (there’s a) foundation from an intellect standpoint that is going to allow him to become a much better player fast. Without question, we think his best ball is well down the road.”


  • @BeddieKU23

    Right. It hurts, but at best he was going to play 15 minutes a night. I don’t know what some people are thinking but apparently we went from “legit NC contender” to “will struggle to compete” and I just don’t get that line of thinking.

  • Banned

    We can’t replace a Doka type player. His size alone says it all. Yet I know Bragg and Lucas will be fine. Maybe this is just another reason why Coach went with the 4 and 1 or now being called the spread offense. This type of offense run well saves the bigs from foul trouble and fatigue.

    Now my crazy thought. I don’t know why but I like this Lightfoot kid. I know he has been a bit wild in the few times he’s played. Also needs to gain a few pounds. Yet there is just something about this kid I can’t shake.

  • I want our remaining bigs to start playing like they have Doke’s size. Carry his spirit onto the court.

    We have everything we need… it is just convincing these guys between the ears.

    All of our post players are bigger than Sir Charles Barkley, who dominated the NBA in rebounding, so I don’t want to hear any excuses why any of our guys can’t step it up and dominate.

  • @DoubleDD No doubt. He gets tossed around by the big boys but he’s tenacious. Nothing is going to stop his effort. I hope he has the strength gene. His dad looks pretty barrell chested. Pound that Christmas dinner, young man!



  • Big loss but these things happen and teams move forward. We lost Wayne for the year in 2003 and ended up going to the national title game. I know that team had Nick Collison, etc but similarly guys will need to step up and raise their level of play. We are still a Final 4 level team if we can stay healthy.

  • @drgnslayr said:

    All of our post players are bigger than Sir Charles Barkley

    Well, taller, not bigger, than The Round Mound of Rebound. He was perhaps 6’ 6" and weighed about 250. He and Wes Unseld used bulk to get and hold position for rebounding, Rodman was more agility.

    But Barkley and Unseld had more years to develop technique at their sizes, too.

  • I’ve noticed over the last few years that when Landon catches the ball. the simple act of catching it, he is really good. We all appreciate his understanding of what Self wants a big man to do. With the talent this team has on the perimeter, Self needs a “Kevin Young” type garbage man. Landon knows how to set a pick, how to block out, he has a few of the Big Man moves, ALL HE HAS TO DO IS CATCH THE BALL! He’s catching it now and getting big rebounds. I’m very sad about big Doke’s injury, but our worries will be with Landon’s backups, not Landon.

  • @wrwlumpy

    Reading this post makes me think of Carty, which makes me sad. He was the perfect Self junkyard post. He still has time to change his mind at least.

  • Losing UA significantly hurts KU depth in the paint. He was KU’s enforcer down low and opponents were afraid to drive to the hoop on UA when he was in. KU is losing their best rim protector who allowed JJ, Mason, and Graham to dial up the pressure on the perimeter to 11 because there was somebody to back them up when they didn’t get the steal. LL is a decent shot blocker, but he’s not going to deter opponents from driving on him.

    KU is also losing their best rebounder by far. UA was/is a T-Rob type elite rebounder and nobody else is close to UA as a rebounder. LL is a slightly above average rebounder and Bragg while improved, is now about the same as LL as a rebounder. This is where Lightfoot could prove huge for KU. He’s got potential to be a really good rebounder for his size, but he still needs work. Coleby is also going to have to do some work now for KU on the glass because he will be needed to provide minutes.

    I think losing UA is a huge blow to KU because he brings elements to the table that nobody else on KU can offer. I still think KU can win the title this year, but it will be extremely difficult to do so especially if KU runs into an elite rebounding team deep in the tournament.

  • @DoubleDD He plays hard.

  • It is a definite loss but as I have been saying here and elsewhere, we still have everything we need (assuming Carlton keeps getting better).

    Let’s take another trip down memory lane - Nova last year. I am still disappointed they won, but there is a huge opportunity for learning and using Jay Wright’s strategy when facing tall teams - perimeter ball pressure. Ball pressure forces guards into one on one situations and will always favor quick defenders.

    Folks around the net worry about us matching up with a tall team that rebounds well and understandably so. But lets look at some examples of small teams that took down big teams. UConn vs Michigan state, regional final in 2014. Relying on non power bigs Pierre Nolan, Niels Giffey and Deandre Daniels held Adrian Payne, Matt Costello and Branden Dawsen to six points in the paint. Folks, thats no accident. Heres another example - Butler in 2010 and 2011; back to back title game appearances with 6’9? Matt Howard as their big man. Yes, they had Gordon Hayward but he played inside about as much as Josh. Their strength? Guard play.

    Of course, we all know about Nova. I have re watched a lot of tournament games and I can say that Nova last year was nearly on par with the '08 team as far as disrupting the opponent. Great team defenSr always starts with great individual defense.

    The point of these examples is to show that numerous teams have enjoyed success in March by relying on their guards on both sides of the ball. As slayer said the other day, it all starts on defense. We would have a hard time trying to outscore UCLA, Kentucky and Carolina, but we sure can disrupt them just like Nova and the '08 team did.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 I agree pretty much on what you say, the one thing is Doka was our best rim protector, how ever like I stated earlier in here I think the other factors in this between him and Lucas pretty much a wash, other then losing a body. Udoka a better over all defender then Landen - -I don’t think so, Landen little more mobile. But the entire stats for the three main bigs:

    Landen. - - MPG, 17.9- -PPG - - 5,.9- -RPG- -5.0- - blk- - 10- -to - -16 - stl- - 4 - -fgp - - 60.5 - ft - 68.4 Udoka - - ’ ’ ’ 12.9- - ’ ’ - - 5.0- - " " - -4.4- - " " - - 18 - - " ’ - - 15- " " - - 2 - - " " - - 62.9 - " - 37.9 Bragg - - ’ ’ ’ 16.2 - - " " - - 7.7 - - " " - - 5.6 - - " "’ - - 4 - - " " - - 8 - " " - - 6 - - " " - - 53.4 - " - 68.2

    So, if you really look Landen and Doka just are pretty much a wash other then rim protection, like I said we have played through our guards all year, and after thinking abit, yes it sucks some but not as bad as I first thought. Landen is playing better it hurts for sure but I think we can overcome it. - As been said there are some acting like the sky is falling - -not true, not saying on here but other sites. - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @jayballer54 Rim protection is a big deal because a rim protector allows the guards to play more aggressive defense because there’s someone to bail them out. Now when Josh Jackson goes for a steal and misses, it’ll probably be an and one on LL or whoever is in picking up that foul.

    Cite all the numbers you want, KU’s guards are now going to have to tone down the aggression because they don’t have someone to bail them out now. This injury will change how KU plays defense the rest of the season and that’s not a good thing.

  • Banned


    Are you saying that KU guards only play aggressive when Doka was in there? I’m not sure I agree with that. Don’t get me wrong losing Doka is a game changer.

    No doubt.

    Yet I don’t think it changes everything we do now. In fact I think it enforces and affirms the spread offense that Coach currently has KU playing right now.

  • We are most definitely a final four team without Doke … Carlton Bragg living up to our preseason expectations covers that and more.

  • @DoubleDD if anything, our guards have to be MORE aggressive because Dok isn’t back there.

  • @HighEliteMajor what do you think of Carlton’s role on offense so far? It seems as though he could be doing more like pick and rolls.

  • @DoubleDD I never said the guards were only aggressive with UA, just that they tended to turn the aggressiveness up a couple of notches and could take more chances with UA protecting the rim. When LL and Bragg are in, the perimeter guys do take fewer risks because the don’t have UA to bail them out. With UA out, it will tone down the defense to something that resembled last year’s defense which, while good, wasn’t as good as this year’s defense was shaping up to be.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 I understand that BUT are you also looking on the offensive side? - -If anything Doka sitting helps the offensive side with Bragg playing the 5 like I said is going to pull the opposition out away even more because that’s where he wants to play and can hit the outside jumpers, even better yet driving lanes for frank and the rest, you have to look at the entire floor not just one end… true he is a better rim protector BUT he hadn’t really developed enough to effect an entire game getting in foul trouble ALOT. He isn’t or wasn’t helping us protect the rim by sitting on the bench in foul trouble. The last game I believe 6 minutes and he was on the Bench with 2 fouls - - AGAIN how is that protecting the rim? - - -Landen may not be the rim protector that Doke is but he is regaining his last year form not super but solid numbers, and gets rebounds and can block some shots, and need we be reminded who when asked who they wanted to start and the answer was? - - -Landen. I’m not saying he won’t be missed, but it’s not as big as some think. - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • Banned


    Well here’s hoping your wrong.

    I know you don’t mean too, but man you coming off as a downer. One of the key attributes of this KU team is to pump up the volume on defense. At times it just overwhelms the opponents and me as a viewer.

    If you’re correct then KU becomes no more than a team chucking threes. I was impressed with Doka, but it never dawned on me that he was the key piece to making a championship.

    Are you sure about this?

  • @DoubleDD a team should never rely on a rim protector to erase mistakes -rim protectors should be icing on the cake. The guards have to initiate great team defense, not the interior players.

  • @BeddieKU23 I saw that headline and thought OMG is that for real? Heck yah its a major blow. Doka leads us in blocks and right up there in rebounds. How do we replace that without another 7ft body in there?

    On the other hand, our free throw shooting % might improve and our foul #'s per 40 might go down as a team.

    Ball dont lie. Doka cant shoot FT’s to save his life right now and he fouls out in like 5 minutes…ok exaggerating but still.

    So, Lando and Bragg will absolutely have to step up their games pronto!!

    Mitch and Coleby will hopefully be serviceable enough to split minutes as our 3rd big man.

    And heck, I havent read anyone else’s replies but our team 5 years ago made it to the Final Four with only 6 guys! ok, 7 if you count J Wesley

    Back to Udoka. He hurt his non shooting hand, yah? SO, once he gets it fixed and gets it in a brace, wouldnt it be possible for him to work on free throws?? I mean, NO motion with non shooting hand except to aim. He could seriously do that. Of course, Im no orthopedic surgeon, but it sorta makes sense to me. Wrap the shizzle out of his injured wrist, brace it up big time, let the big fella shoot FT’s till he makes 70-80% of them all the time.

  • @HawkChamp The Golden State Warriors are leading the NBA in a number of defensive categories. There was much moaning and groaning about the loss of rim protectors with Bogut and Ezeli gone. The players contend in interviews that their style of defense has changed and that they are playing much better man to man because they know that there is no one there if they make a mistake.

  • @Lulufulu Well, no orthopedist here either, and I wondered the same thing. Further research and reflection reminded the recesses of my addled brain that the tendons and ligaments controlling fingers are integrally involved in the architecture of the wrist. Trying to use his nonshooting hand to steady the ball would likely involve finger motion and any hand movement requires movement of the tissues in the wrist. Recipe for hurting or at least delaying full recovery, I would think. wristanat-ex1xx.jpg

  • @HawkChamp Never said or implied that. Having a rim protector doesn’t mean you can play matador defense, it means you can take more risks jumping the passing lane and going for loose balls because there’s someone to bail you out if you don’t get the ball.

  • Udoka is a rim protector that we can’t replace, and none of us know how much he could have improved with more experience and more practice time. His defensive footwork and offensive moves, both would have improved a ton! People simply need to step up. I believe Colby and Lightfoot will be fine, and I think people are greatly underestimating Lightfoot! Bragg will be fine, if he doesn’t get so frustrated when things don’t go his way! But I do believe we will win another Big12 Conference Title, and I still believe we will go to the Final Four-and once there, anything can happen. Rock Chalk, Baby! PS: I think, from listening to Coach Self, that Colby is 100% healed, “Physically”-but ‘Mentally’ is where the problem is! My further thoughts on that, is Colby needs to stop worrying about that injury, because what he doesn’t want to do, is to overcompensate for it, and injure something else!

  • The injury happened in practice, but what exactly occurred? I’m one of those curmudgeons who think that injuries are not all bad luck because to a large extent, we make our own luck. Diet, rest and preparation do a great deal to keep the injury bug away. Doke is young, and I hope he learns this lesson well. No poor lifestyle choices during recovery phase because I’ve no doubt that Mr. Injury would love to come pay another visit in the future.

    As for KU’s chances, I think it could be the difference between getting over a jump game. A rim protector is a great insurance plan, and so our margin of error just went down some. However, would AU have been playing in crunch time in March? Probably not this year. My hope is that Coleby will be more ready by then.

  • @betterfireE

    “It wasn’t a play,” he said. “I think he was just banging on somebody and got his hand kind of caught in a shirt and somebody hit his hand in an awkward position.”

    “No. Not at all,” said KU coach Bill Self after Thursday’s game when asked if he knew that at the time of the injury that Azubuike’s season could be in jeopardy. “We just knew he hurt his wrist. He finished practice. And then after practice (trainer) Bill (Cowgill) said we needed to get it looked at… It’s in a bad spot and the MRI confirmed it was torn.”

    This according to Self.

  • @mayjay

    But you forget who he did it against… the best post players in the world, including bigs with height and girth. There are no Olajuwons or Dawkins in D1 today.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    "This is where Lightfoot could prove huge for KU. He’s got potential to be a really good rebounder for his size, "

    Spot on. I look at Mitch and I see a white version of Kevin Young. Give him some time to develop a bit more and he will earn the title “Mr. Hustle.”

    With Doke being out, it almost goes without saying… Mitch will need to become an asset this year. He is going to become one heck of a player at Kansas and now he will advance his game that much quicker with the opportunity in front of him.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    "Cite all the numbers you want, KU’s guards are now going to have to tone down the aggression because they don’t have someone to bail them out now. "

    I think quite the opposite on this. Without a shot blocker to back them up means our guards will be held ACCOUNTABLE for defending. Having a shot blocker behind guards tends to be used as an enabler so guards can slack off because they have someone to back them up.

    For example… Withey set all kinds of blocking records. He could only have achieved those numbers because of two reasons happening simultaneously… First, Jeff became an excellent shot blocker. Second, our guards stopped cutting off driving lanes and increased the amount of drives Jeff had to face. That is the only way possible he could have achieved those kinds of block numbers.

    If our guards would have defended better, Jeff wouldn’t have put up those huge block stats.

  • @drgnslayr I’ve already explained this multiple times, absolutely nowhere have I said our guards were lazy with UA in there. Find where I said anywhere if you can. How many times with UA behind them did we see our guards jump a passing lane to try and get a steal and an easy basket? A lot. Without UA behind them, the guards can’t take those risks they were taking. Taking fewer risks by definition is toning down the aggression. Absolutely nowhere have I said anything about the guards slacking off either with or without UA in the game, only that the defense will likely take fewer risks without UA behind them when thise risks don’t work.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    We had a communication error. I had zoned in on your comment about “tone down aggression” to mean slacking off. I think you are saying they need to tone down on taking risks. I get that.

  • @drgnslayr yes they need to continue to be aggressive and intense. All it is is taking fewer risks

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