Observations from the Field House
I was lucky to get court side seats for my first game at the Field House this year, and here are a few impressions of the OSU game last Sat.
It was a great game, highly competitive and very physical. The best match up was Evans and Mason, a prize fight, both great players with unbelievable quickness and determination on both ends of the court. Both guys are at an all-American level of play on O and D, and great team players, passing and rebounding and making their team better. What a battle for 40 full minutes of tough play and mutual respect.
The game was ugly b/c OSU hit shots and KU missed shots. KU has a better team but OSU was playing better for the first 30 min. Hard play by both teams. It was exciting and full high energy. The crowd was great, especially at the 4:00 min mark when they play that “greatest home court advantage” video. Impressive media orchestration followed up with basketball execution. The test will be in Stillwater where we always seem to lay an egg.
KU has a good team but I am concerned with a lack of back up for Landen Lucas. Lucas is a great college player. He sets so many screens to get open looks for the shooters. He is a great defensive rebounder and good on-the-ball defender but not a rim protector. He plays at or above his skill level night after night, very impressive to see him go after the ball.
Bragg is just the opposite, confused on the court playing out of position at the five, and never gets the 50-50 balls. He is getting better in the toughness department but still does not have that strong will to board and would rather play away from the basket. He is still a year away from physical and mental maturity and is way too soft for a KU big man (prefers the fade away jumper, dislikes contact in the paint…). He needs stronger hands and quicker feet (very slow to slide on D). He will be back next year.
Doke being out has helped Lucas short term, but might hurt the team later this year unless we can develop another rebounder. Coleby is bigger and stronger than I thought (eye-ball test) and should be able to bang inside, we need a banger. Coach: make him play, ride him hard, we need him! He looks the part.
Lightfoot will be fine in 2-3 years and make some good contributions to the KU team in the future. I love his “want to” attitude, but not this season. Too weak and green to mix it up with the big boys.
LL will have to play 30 + min a night and stay out of foul trouble. He can do it but in the Dance one foul prone night and there is no plan B. He is the indispensable man on this year’s team.
On Sat, we were just not knocking them down. The number of times the ball went in and out of the basket, and the crowd pushing a collective sign. I like the fact that Coach will not let us live and die by the three. We have a team of shooters but only Devonte had a respectable shooting night. He is so clutch.
As Coach would say, it is good to play a game like this to make our team tougher and more capable of winning even when we do not make shots…still, we missed a lot of free throws and bunnies, not good. It is hard to make them when everything is so sped up and OSU was playing with an edge. I like their McPherson-raised coach and he had a very good game plan. I really like how he mixed his D (M2M and different Zone looks). We should mix it up just a little more on D.
I like the moxy of our back court a lot. Frank, Devonte and JJ have an attitude, an edge and I really think it is the right mix of a little punk, but not too much. Just like our Coach: feisty and very competitive but a good sport on the court (unlike OSU who still has that Marcus Smart punk attitude – the flagrant foul turned the game…).
The three of them are ferocious competitors. Franck is the leader and this is his team, no doubt about it when you see them interact on the court. He is not vocal but he has the last word, every time. Svi and Lagerald are good players too, but neither of them are consistent enough to be more than role players on this team. Both of them are capable enough to win us a few games, have done and will do this season. Both are underachieving on D, but getting better.
OSU has some impressive athletes, maybe more muscle that KU, but not as skilled. Sitting courtside, you could really see the physicality of the game (Big Ten style of play) and KU held up. This is the type of game and opponent where Doke’s absence weakens our team.
The crowd was great, the weather was cooperative and Fieldhouse looked wonderful. I love afternoon games.
Another Big 12 Title, another Final Four. Another First place ranking. Another fine group of young men representing our university. Rock Chalk!
@jayhawk-007 awesome! Post game interview Frank said that he liked afternoon games too.
@jayhawk-007 Thanks for sharing. AFH is a special place full of special fans. I need to get back for a game more often.
Yes, we need to play Coleby more now so he’ll be more ready to backup LL in March.
@jayhawk-007 was Sam on the bench?
Bravo Carlton for your energy and performance in Ames! Encore!!!
Go after the ball, sprint down the court, bang with the big boys. You have talent and we need you and Landen to anchor this team. Nice game…
Must give Frank a shout out. You talk about courage and toughness and will to win! Did you see him climb the ladder to board on D and drive the lane on O? And on a gippy wheel, wow!
He and all the guards rebounded very well. The D is just now starting to gel and the team is hungry and our guys play well together. Gutty performance by all. Highly entertaining. Love me some Jayhawk BB!
@jayhawk-007 good post. There definitely was a little more urgency on defense and we made them work and labor for every basket. Sign of improvement.