Bill Self Outside The Tunnel Of Acceptability
For years, many of us have been begging for coach Self to be more flexible, to break out of the same dogmatic approaches that he insisted upon regardless of personnel.
One theme I always suggested as explanation is that great achievers, in whatever profession, get there in large part doing it their way and not being distracted by those that suggest that they moderate and change. That makes them even more resolute in their beliefs, particularly when they achieve great success. And thus less likely to change – they know what’s best.
The comment by Fran Fraschilla about Self changing his style of play actually began last season. Last season, Self broke free of the standard rigidity and truly permitted his team to play to their strengths. This followed Self’s admission that he did not handle the 2013-14 team correctly. All the while, hanging on to much of the scheme and approach that he’s always relied upon for success. Adapting, tweaking, adjusting as needed.
It’s all about flexibility. The new Bill Self.
Before the 2015-16 season, I just wanted Self to tweak his system. I’m a high/low fan, always have been. But when you have gunners, you have to gun. After a horrible end to the 2014-15 season, where our offense was in disarray, we all saw it begin in the World University games – which could be the best thing to happen to coach Self as a coach. We saw him pucker a bit in the championship game. A little regressing on the road of change.
This is all some of us have every wanted. Results are not assured. Teams will lose. Players will be at fault. Coaches will be at fault. Circumstances (illness, injury, officials, etc.) can weigh against success.
But truly, now, Bill Self is a coach that views success as being possible outside of his previous tunnel of acceptability. That’s really all it is now. That’s the change. Success can be had on offense doing things differently. For those that ardently and loyally defended coach Self, with whom I’ve battled a bit over the years, all I can say is – this is what I was talking about. Taking your talent, and melding your system to provide the best opportunity for success. As mentioned for years, other coaches do it. Self can do it. We now see it right before our eyes at Kansas. Much like Self did last season, when there were scant few discussions about scheme.
This is not your father’s Bill Self. This Bill Self is different. This Bill Self is not at war with his team over scheme and style of play, as he was in 2014-15.
There may be times when the high/low and post feed basketball returns. But now, I have great confidence that Bill Self cares little about scheme, but more about what scheme will be successful. High/low will return when high/low gives us the best chance to win.
And that is good for Kansas basketball.
Is there a better coach in college basketball? I don’t think so.
Very well said, he is becoming an elite coach
@HighEliteMajor Great stuff. It is very fun to see this adaptation. It will only create even more success moving forward in my opinion. The thing that makes it even better for me is. It’s like you said. Coach isn’t battling the team over this. In fact. To me it looks and sounds like he has embraced it. Feels like he is honestly enjoying it. Fist pump in the air after this big top 5 toughed it out from behind road victory. Stoking Coach Selfs fire this team is…
@cragarhawk His cardiologist is probably enjoying it, too. Ours is!
@HighEliteMajor Solid post, again.
I love it that Coach Self is breaking the mold. It gives me greater hope for a deep run next month…can you believe it!? One more month til The Madness.
Id like to share an article with everyone.
I would never disagree with a such a learned basketball mind as yours @HighEliteMajor, but couldn’t one say this year that he absolutely had no choice but to adapt? Lucas being the only proven inside threat, marginal at that, and then some question mark interior players. Doke, Bragg, Coleby and Lightfoot have not panned out due to various reasons. We can all thank our lucky socks or whatever we wear for good luck charms that Lucas has been steady enough. But really he had no choice but to scrap the hi-lo this year. I know it started last year somewhat, but this year. Gee, no choice?
@wissox Good points – In fact, Self may be even better in coming years for having this team - for being forced to experiment and move out of his comfort zone and adopt some alternative approaches.
@wissox Many, many have disagreed so you would be part of large group. You could say that he had no choice, but I’d suggest the old Self would have persevered with his system. Heck, we were playing Mario Little at the top of the high/low at some point.
Entering the season, Self of course started with Bragg at the top, and Lucas/Doke low. Bragg looked to be an excellent passer. With JJ at the 3, but slipping in as the back up at the top of the high/low when Bragg wasn’t in. That seemed the most likely lineup to most everyone heading into season.
The old Self, in my opinion, would still be going with the conventional lineup, he would flop around on the bench when someone shot a three he didn’t care for, the quick hook, he would mandate the post feed – he would be talking about how we weren’t scoring in the paint, how we weren’t getting high percentage shots, and how we were relying too much the outside shot. We’ve heard it for years.
To me, Self has clearly changed. It’s all about winning, and no as much how we win. What is as true as anything is that regardless of system, Self owns our wins because he has created/permitted/installed the success.
@cragarhawk He has embraced it. it has been awesome to see him instill drive and drop system that looks for the open three point shot. Amazing.
@HighEliteMajor Self has been SLOWLY evolving for awhile.
Before the 08 team, he was a staunch believer in set plays. He started opening up his offense to a more free flowing offensive scheme that gave the players many options.
Then came the slow progression of the dreaded “fools gold” era. Slowly, he let his players fire away at open 3s early in the shot clock.
The last part was his two big, traditional high-low game.
In the past, I could see Self yanking Jackson for Svi or Vick extremely early after an ill advised drive or pull up jumper. Now, he lets his talented players play through the learning curve.
I still love the high-low game and hope it comes back when the personnel is right. I think it’s the most consistent way of getting easy buckets when the shots aren’t falling. But for now, I am enjoying watching Mason take over in ways a PG in the past wouldn’t have been allowed to!
Also, with Mason and Lucas gone for sure and the possibility of Svi and Graham leaving, look for a lineup of 3 bigs with Preston, Bragg, and Doke to ignite the high-low once again.
In the meantime, I am enjoying what this year has to offer!!
For me, my favorite Self moment in awhile was when he told the whole team (on a Drew timeout) what Drew was going to try on the last play of the game. And of course Drew followed through and called the play - a lob to his best player.
But with Motley double teamed, they had to throw it into the 7 footer who everyone knew wasn’t going to drive it. Josh knew to leave his man and helped Frank block Motely when he finally did get the ball for a last desperation shot to tie the game.
Faylor is so consistent, And Drew must feel like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner… meep, meep, better luck next time.
Pretty awesome coaching and some fine decision making by JJ.
It’s great to be a Jayhawk these days.
@StLJhawk Ya, that was major golden moment when Self said he knew what Drew was going to call, and of course Drew called it.
And Josh freelancing on D, how good is that kid…
Death, taxes, and Bill Self.
After a horrible end to the 2014-15 season, where our offense was in disarray, we all saw it begin in the World University games – which could be the best thing to happen to coach Self as a coach.
Exact point @jaybate-1.0 & I discussed this after the 14/15 season…
@ralster that really is incredible
I’m glad a few people brought up that Self is not pulling guys who take quick shots and miss… he is evolving and letting his players gain some floor confidence and feel for the up-tempo style that is this years KU team… I love this… although he really barked hard at Svi in Waco, as did veteran Landen. Speaking of svi, I would be shocked if he left… but I am always shocked by the guys who leave and end up in the d-league.
And speaking of leaving, There was a big thread a few months back that devonte is defintely leaving and making it plain to those near him…
Also, looks like we finally have a OAD who should make a big contribution come tournament time… JJ comes to play hard every single time down the court. Our best OAD ever.