January 31: News Headlines Digest

  • Also see our Daily Threads, January 31, and the News Digest for Yesterday, January 30, as well as Daily Threads for Yesterday, January 30 #### Jayhawks

    ##Newell: A rarity for Bill Self, KU basketball turning into a team of extremes##

    KU’s offense is playing at an amazingly high level. The Jayhawks posted 1.22 points per possession against an Iowa State defense that isn’t big but has been effective; the Cyclones entered the game with a top-25 ranked defense according to Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted measures and also hadn’t allowed more than 1.14 PPP all year.

    ###CBS: Scouting Title Contenders: Kansas Jayhawks###

    When watching a game or looking at statistical trends, we might figure out one or two ways to slow down Wisconsin’s half-court offense or score against Florida’s multiple defenses. But that’s obviously not the whole story. But what about the guys who get paid to break down that stuff; what are they thinking?

    Over the next eight weeks, I will go through each of the national championship contenders and attempt to address the key preparation points when facing each team. I will talk to four or five coaches who played those teams this season, and get in-depth insight into each team. How do you score on Arizona? How can you stop Syracuse in transition? What’s Michigan State’s biggest weakness? We’ll find answers to each of those questions, and much more.

    Up next is Kansas, winners of seven in a row and perhaps the most talented team in the country.

    ####Artist Trey Songz shows up to support pal Frank Mason####

    Singer, songwriter, rapper and actor Trey Songz, who is used to performing under pressure, had some words of advice for buddy Frank Mason before Wednesday’s Kansas University-Iowa State basketball game in Allen Fieldhouse.

    ####** Kansas and its freshmen are hot topics (as usual) in world of college hoops**####

    It’s time once again to catch the vibe of the national media’s perception of Kansas basketball, by hopping around the Internet and the Twitterverse to see what’s out there on the No. 6 Jayhawks — now 16-4 overall and a perfect 7-0 in the Big 12.

    ####Haskin: With offense clicking, table set for Jayhawks####

    One of the most telling observations following the seventh Big 12 victory in as many starts by Kansas was offered from Fred Hoiberg.

    The Iowa State coach was asked if the Jayhawks can run the table.

    ####Notebook: Cliff Alexander, Kelly Oubre both chosen as McDonald’s All-Americans

    Kansas University basketball signees Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre will play in the 2014 McDonald’s All-America game on April 2 in Chicago’s United Center.

    ###### Also see our Daily Threads, January 31, and the News Digest for Yesterday, January 30, as well as Daily Threads for Yesterday, January 30

  • Did anyone see the Kentucky loss to LSU? Man, the announcers were just blasting against the bad body language and disconnect from the Harrison twins. They also showed Willie Cauley-Stein griping endlessly on the bench, and even said on-air that "Cauley-Stein just needs to stop! And say “yes, sir.” " I thought that was priceless. At one point Calipari got so heated at one of the Harrison twins, that during live action, he took 2 steps out on the court to push a Harrison (who was just standing on the perimeter) to “go guard” the opponent! Unbelievable.

    I realized right then how special the chemistry is that the young KU team seems to display together. F.O.E.

  • @ralster

    Spot on. I watched the UK game and saw the same things you did. What strikes me the most is that the team seems to have an absolute lack of chemistry; they might end being a good team based on talent alone, but likely will not be a great team.

  • I found out that we will have for the game tomorrow: Jon Sciambi (Play-by-Play) Fran Fraschilla (Analyst) Kaylee Hartung (Sideline)

    I’m going to go down and introduce myself to Jesse before the game. I feel like I know him after reading him all these years and looking forward to it.

    I’m on the Jayhawk’s end of the arena and am so pumped so see the team in person. Need to get my sign finished.


  • @RockChalkinTexas : What’s the sign going to read so we can all be on the lookout for it/you?

  • @ralster I’ve seen the same things from Kentucky this year. It makes the 2012 title of theirs all the more impressive, and makes this year’s KU team, which looks to be on a similar track, also impressive. Such a difficult job blending in so many new players at once, especially when most are used to being the alpha dogs. Getting guys to buy in on defense, accept their roles, sacrifice individual numbers for the sake of the team…very difficult when you’re dealing with so many freshman.

    We can’t say that this year’s KU team was put together by design (as Self recruited Randle and Dakari Johnson), but it is pretty amazing how well the pieces mesh. And the contrast in team chemistry can be seen in the decisions by Randle & Wiggins to choose their respective schools. Randle chooses Kentucky, and there’s talk of assembling the most talented team ever, going undefeated, etc. Wiggins chooses Kansas, a place he’s comfortable with, coming in with players of similar personalities that he’s jelled with in various all-star games. Maybe it’s a stretch, but it’s like Randle choose Kentucky for the wrong reasons and Wiggins choose KU for the right ones.

  • Dealing with lots of new players is tough because these guys don’t know each other on the court. They don’t know, for instance, where a guy likes to catch the ball, or how he likes to set up in the post or on the perimeter. They don’t know when a guy doesn’t want a cutter through the lane because he wants to turn into the middle, or when a guy wants a cutter because he’s turning baseline. Those things take time to learn.

    In high school I was lucky enough to play with the same group of guys for basically 3 years, the last two of which were on varsity. We got to the point that we didn’t even call a lot of things out because we had played together so long we just knew what other guys wanted on both ends of the floor. We basically didn’t call switches defensively because we had gone through the same rotations for two and a half years in practice and games, to the point that I knew from a guys positioning whether he wanted to take a man or not and I could react accordingly.

    Thing is, that doesn’t happen in a day, or a week, or even in a half season’s worth of practices. Look at Smart and Forte at Oklahoma State. They’ve been playing together for 10 years and it shows. How many times have you seen Smart with the ball and just suddenly find Forte spotting up from some unreasonable distance. That doesn’t happen after a handful of practices. That happens because he’s found him spotting up like that since they were in 6th grade, he knows where he is, where he’s going, and when and where he will want the ball delivered when he gets there.

    UK has some issues. Their two best offensive players - Randle and Young - haven’t figured out how to play off each other to complement their skills consistently. The Harrison twins are struggling to find their niche in the offense because they are used to being able to dominate the ball on the perimeter, having never really played with a dominant post guy like Randle before. Cauley-Stein hasn’t fully embraced his role as a rim protecting shot blocker/ rebounder, but that comes from being a scorer in HS and trying to continue to do the same in college.

    One of the major things that has helped this KU team is that Wayne Selden has been able to take a back seat for the majority of the season. It’s been frustrating because there have been games where Selden could have really helped KU had he just decided to take over for a stretch, but by letting Wiggins, Ellis and Embiid take center stage, there has never really been confusion about the pecking order.

  • @ralster

    Ralster I was actually at that game! Courtside seats. Kentucky looked very lethargic while LSU was very energetic at the same time.

    I saw in Kentucky kind of what we looked like a month ago, except we were falling to highly ranked teams.

    I read the link with what others are saying what we already knew about KU. I wish they’d shut up because these are freshmen who probably read and see more than we do. I don’t want egos to swell, to impede the focus on the ultimate goal which is realistic the way we are playing.

  • This post is deleted!

  • @ralster-@wissoxfan83 & I talked afterwards as he was at the game & said Cal was on the court the entire contest, obviously agonizing & frustrated with his team. Bill is a master at conquering the problems to entwine young players talents in his Okie ball system & IMO, one of the most accomplished & exceptional coaches in CBB in these regards. HEM & I both watched Stein play hs ball & agreed he was not even the best player on the team, often giving half effort & obviously not interested in playing good team ball. Talented yes, but not an attitude I’d want to deal with. Cal & his staff go for talent over psyche & have to live with the consequences of such-an NIT 1st round loss, or the talent level to win 4, 5, or 6 straight in March for the title. If you’ve some vets that have been in the foxhole before it is a different animal & even tho I had valid apprehensions at the start of this season, Self has developed these young guys to the level we’re all accustomed to here at KU. Austin will be a tough test to see if they can sustain their momentum going forward. You want them to peak late, & we’ve definitely much room to improve especially on D, but offensively the ball reversal & inside out play was PDG vs ISU & these guys are really finally starting to, as Bill says, “Get it.”

  • @Kip_McSmithers





    and Ellis



    And I have in each corner and running up and down the sides the 1912, 1920, 1929, 1923, 1941 and 1946 mascot figures.


    It may not come out properly formatted here, but you get the idea. The ESPN are in bigger Red letters than the rest of each one’s name. What u think?

  • @RockChalkinTexas-Excellent! Hope you have a big Bevo fillet & Red Auerbach stogie after the Victory. That is, providing you are carnivorous and indulge. We’ll all be watching for you. GO HAWKS!

  • @globaljaybird I saw Willie Cauley play in high school too and agree, his effort was pathetic.

    To your statement that Cal & his staff go for talent over psyche, remember (as I mentioned above) that Bill has heavily recruited a lot of the same players that Cal lands. We didn’t heavily recruit WCS, but the rumors I heard (which, being rumors, you can decide what their worth) is that we approached him but were shut down immediately. He played with (and perhaps lived with?) Shevon Shields, former Kansas City Chiefs OL Will Shields’ son, and for whatever reason that camp didn’t want to have anything to do with KU.

    Anyway, not saying that Cal & Bill go about assembling a team in exactly the same fashion, but I think it is perhaps that Bill is just so much better at developing his players, whereas Cal has a harder time getting kids to “buy in.”

  • @icthawkfan316-Ten yrs ago I owned a home a few blocks from Shields & my son dated a next door neighbor, but I bailed out of the rat race & bought in the country to escape the woofers & ninjas so I’ve no scoop in that respect. Bill also is upfront with these guys about coming in as a frosh & earning PT from returning players or being the prime time man, with this year being somewhat of an exception. Plus these are very impressionable, immature kids by & large, so JMHO the overall quality of recruiting, mentoring, teaching & coaching is quite different under Cal & has been throughout his entire career. I don’t believe for one moment that a Rod Strickland or John Calipari are on an ethical level with our staff, or the trail of mistakes in Calipari’s history is only coincidental. That’s just my take, & I’m fully aware that most successful coaches are the schizz behind closed doors, but a kid can get the wrong message very easily & I think straddling that fence between enforcer & friend is something that Bill has few peers to equal his expertise and John Calipari is certainly not one of them. I also believe that a team takes on & displays the demeanor of their coaching staff and cool under the gun is not what Cal displays-ever. Hey, just my opinion but when it quacks & waddles & vacates wins…

  • Damn spellcheck only works half the time-like me!

  • @icthawkfan316 @globaljaybird

    The truth is that all coaches try to recruit the best possible talent and hope they fit in the scheme. Some players will obviously choose a program based on where they think they will have a) a better chance to start/play and b) a say in the decision making process normally reserved for the coaching staff.

    Where they land makes a big difference on the player and the team .The going thinking is that top players will have better chance to start and have a say at Kentucky where they are pampered and given their own dorm and not too many rules apply to them. KU, on the other hand, is viewed as the place where the coaching staff runs a tight ship, freshmen do not start and you have to earn playing time by learning defense first. Of course the myth that freshmen don’t start at KU no longer applies as we have 3 freshmen starting this year and will have at least 2 next year.

    The laxer the rules the less chance of having a cohesive team with good chemistry. Kentucky losing in the NIT is a good example of a team with no cohesion and only individual goals. One of the better example of cohesiveness and chemistry is the KU '08 championship team, that worked like a well oiled machine and had great on and off the court chemistry and the team goal was more important than the individual goals.

    An extreme example of dysfunctionality is the UNC team prior to Coach Williams, when players parents were having meetings and making demands of the coaching staff and the Athletic Department led by Dean Smith threw Matt Doherty, a former UNC player that gave up his job at Notre Dame, under the bus, I believe that Deans Smith stealing Coach Williams from his own Alma Mater while stabbing Doherty in the back was sad end to a great career. I don’t begrudge Smith for stealing Coach Williams, we all knew he would be going home some day; it is the way he went about it that still leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

  • @RockChalkinTexas : Are you really giving us Bucketeers a “shout out”? I like the sign. I’ll make sure to look for it.

  • @RockChalkinTexas you will have a blast! Enjoy! Rock Chalk!!!

  • @icthawkfan316 @globaljaybird Right, Cauley-Stein lived with the Shields. Interestingly, in the Olathe East area but attending Olathe Northwest (which is allowed). I’ve heard multiple reasons why KU wasn’t in the picture, ict’s scenario being one.

    It will be interesting to see the contrast between UK and KU in March.

  • @Kip_McSmithers YES! I had hoped it would be a surprise, but since you asked I put it out there. I’m on the KU end just on the other side of the basket next to the student section. Won’t be in TV Eye level but hopefully they’ll see it and show it.

  • @HighEliteMajor-Will lived on the OP side of the divide which is technically the Blue Valley district but as you say, interestingly many of those kids go to Olathe schools. His kids were very young when we were next door, but always well mannered, polite, & continuously shooting baskets in the drive. I owned 3 homes in the Olathe district & their guidelines were generally strictly adhered to for HS divisions within their boundaries. Exceptions were sometimes granted, but the lines were always well defined. When East opened my oldest son had played FB at North for 2 years, but decided to play & graduate at East. Ist season was tough-only 2 or 3 wins, but always admired him for doing that. He’s leaving for Lake Erie in the am for a month & a half to super a nuke plant refurb, so the toughness has paid off well.

  • @RockChalkinTexas Haha, that’s awesome! Love the shout out to everyone. Cheers to all you guys! (beer) (beer) (beer) Will look out for you tomorrow.

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