What We Have Here Is a Failure to Compete

  • Nobody. Wanted. To. Compete.

    That was for slayr, who said before the game he still had some doubts about this teams desire to compete.

    Competing means fighting for what is needed to survive amidst scarcity, against long odds, when there is no help coming.

    Salmon compete to make it from the ocean back up the river through the rapids pushing them back in order to breed.

    A dozen hungry hyenas compete for chunks of flesh from the carcus of a dead impala.

    Ten basketball players compete for one ball on each missed shot.

    If they cannot make shots on the offensive end, then they compete for offensive rebounds.

    If their opponent cannot make a shot, then they compete for a defensive rebound.

    No matter how many shots you miss, no matter how many shot they miss, no matter how many times you turn it over, no matter how injured you are, no matter how tired, no matter how green, no matter what the odds makers say, no matter what floor the game is played on, you can compete for a rebound.

    Rebounding finally is a truer test of competitive character than man to man defense.

    Man to man defense is just one man trying to deny one man, and helping a second man.

    Rebounding is ten men fighting for one ball.

    Rebounding is one man fighting 9 for one ball.

    The odds are against you getting the rebound every time it comes off the glass.

    You don’t rebound, because you want to. You don’t ebound because your coach tells you. You don’t rebound because it would help the team.

    You rebound because you are animal looking for a morsel of food.

    You rebound for the same reason that hyenas compete for the carcus of the impala, because its there and because you are possessed by a deep instinctive need to beat other things to it in order to survive.

    You rebound because there is only one ball and something in you says get it before they do, get it no matter what, get it at any cost.

    KU was out rebounded today 44-37.

    And for most of the game KU was -10 or -11 on rebounding.

    This was not about a team too green to know how to block out a D1 opponent. This KU team has played the toughest schedule in the country. This team knows how to block out.

    This was about a team that did not want to compete against guys its own size for the ball. They didn’t want it more.

    Perry Ellis was a five star recruit. Perry Ellis is supposedly 6-8 and he is a good jumper. Perry Ellis is smart and plays hard.

    Perry Ellis got two rebounds in 29 minutes.

    Two rebounds.

    Take away Joel Embiid who grabbed 10 rebounds in 25 minutes on a knee with a brace, and Jamari Traylor, who got 6 rebounds in 14 minutes, and there were no other competitors on the KU team.

    There was great talent.

    There were NBA draft choices.

    There were hard workers.

    But there were no other competitors.

    There were just guys running the stuff, trying hard, and shooting poorly.

    But there were no other guys out there saying if its them or me, its me.

    KU got selected out in evolutionary terms.

    No competitors.


  • @jaybate 1.0 perfectly said, no hyenas on our team.

  • Don’t forget Selden on competitors. He didn’t play great in the first half, but he really went after it in the 2nd. Still, disappointed with most of the rest of the team.

  • @konkeyDong Selden played hard 2nd half. Just awful bb!

  • Wow how disappointing. Had to work out at the range today so I avoided all texts and emails so I could come home and watch the replay. That was a wasted 2 hours. Would’ve been different to get beat and at least have something to cheer about. But there was nothing. Zip, nada, zero. Only hope after this they bounce back at Baylor cause you know Baylor will be up and ready. Time for another (beer) or several.

  • Last year I was in the drum watching KU struggle, but they turned it around late. This year I Passed that game up, because I had a rare opportunity to be in AFH in a few weeks. I am very happy I wasn’t there today. In fact, we looked so bad I turned it off at the half and did chores while the DVR ran just in case I saw something in the final score worthy of watching. I hope we got it out of our system. And thanks to ISU -they did us a favor today.

  • Good post Jaybate. This team does not compete on the level that it should. Today, it was painfully obvious. Does this mean that they can’t reach the Final Four? Absolutely not. In my opinion, losses like this are good for a team’s development, especially KU’s teams of the past decade. The '10 and '11 teams had a strong sense of entitlement. On the other hand, the championship team and the '12 teams did not. They were tough and resilient teams. Most times, tough lessons have to be learned with a tough loss. Perhaps that is why there were few, if any, halftime adjustments by Self. He knew that they needed another lesson in competing 100% every single game. Even when the shots are not falling and the refs turn a blind eye to a player that throws one of your guys to the floor, you still have to give it your all.

    Personally, I don’t give a flip about this game. All I care about is reaching Dallas. If it takes this team having a few more losses where they get their butts kicked to learn to compete every second of every game, then I am all for it. I do not think that that would necessarily hurt their confidence. Instead, it would motivate them to never let it happen again. Texas looked like they were motivated and wanted to win. It didnt matter that their coach was Rick Barnes or that they didnt have nearly as much talent as KU. They wanted to win more and it showed.

  • No energy is right. I couldn’t believe what I witnessed. They didn’t even arrive at the Erwin Center until 1:30 and couldn’t make a basket in shoot arounds. Very lethargic. Without Selden wouldn’t have broke 50. I just saw the TCU game. I did tell everyone here that Texas was a scrappy team. I didn’t think we would let them score like that in the lane. Both Joel and Conner came out afterwards with ice bags on their knees. Joel and Jamari were the only ones who didn’t sign my Jayhawk. Jesse was in the section right next to me.

  • @konkeyDong, yes Selden started scoring and playing harder, but in 33 minutes of play…

    Defensive Rebounds 1 Offensive Rebounds 1 Steals 0 Assists 0

    The point of my post is that there is a difference between playing hard (hustling) and competing. Competing is taking things away from people. Beating people that are bigger and stronger, or shorter and quicker, to balls because you want it more. It is taking rebounds away from people that already have their hands on the ball. It is ferocity in the face of disadvantage. It is being willing to run harder than anyone in an arc to the ball to beat people running in a straight line to get the ball.

    And my post was aimed especially at Perry Ellis and Landen Lucas and Andrew Wiggins.

    Marcus Morris, Thomas Robinson, and Kevin Young were each very different kinds of 4s with very different levels of talent and very different arrays of skills. Marcus Morris was probably a 3 playing a 4 the way Perry is. Thomas Robinson had the body of Superman. And Kevin Young was a 6-8 180 pound string bean. But everyone of these guys got after the ball like there was no tomorrow, like hyenas that hadn’t eaten in a week going after an impala carcus. Marcus appeared very smooth, strong and efficient, but when he clamped on the ball, whether someone else got to it first or not, Marcus in a very controlled, purposeful manner ripped it out of the air and it was his. Thomas Robinson was a freak of nature. He was so strong they had to box him out with two or three men and still he ripped the ball out of the air. There were pictures of Thomas being hit from three sides at once and still fighting to get to the ball. Kevin Young literally climbed on peoples backs and ripped the ball out of their hands time after time after time. Marcus from time to time came up against guys as long and good as he was, but he usually wanted it more. Thomas rarely came up against a single guy as good as he was, but he routinely had to fight through two guys trying to box him out. He fought through. Kevin faced guys as good as he was, or better, almost every game he played and just wanted it more than they did.

    This is the legacy of the 4 position at KU. Their teams did not win 30 games plus by conceding the ball to other, bigger players because they were bigger, stronger, or greater in number.

    At a certain point in basketball, things always come down to who is the most ferocious competitor. It is not kill, or be kill. It is beat the other hyenas to the carcus. It is get there quicker and fight harder to keep it. Playing hard and smart only help get you to opportunity to compete at greatest advantage. But ultimately James Naismith created a game with 10 persons, but only one ball.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @DinarHawk, I am glad you are not letting this game get you down. I am not either. The big picture here is this: KU played 6-7 good games to bolt out into a very big conference lead. They were due for an off game. They have gotten some important road wins. They have beaten most of the good teams they have faced. They have trouble with a particular kind of team that SDSU and Texas are models of. I actually think they have grown beyond the problems Villanova caused them; i.e., I think they could clock Villanova now. But our bigs (and I include Wiggins in this because like Brandon Rush before him we need him all over the court, not just on the wing) have not yet figured out how to get up on a competitive edge to beat long and strongs that can get up in their faces and block shots. But I too believe they will learn competitiveness.

    It is not surprising that our freshman and sophomores are having some trouble with competitiveness, despite how talented they are. Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris were not great competitors when they were freshmen (though Marcus got the hang of it down the stretch his freshman season). Thomas Robinson was often a basket case as a freshman. Kevin Young was, in his own words, hoisting and missing threes at Loyola Marymount when he was a freshman, thinking he was going to be a shooting forward.

    Our freshman and sophomores are playing exceptionally well for how young they are. Exceptionally well. But they are not playing on that competitive edge that Self’s experienced teams have been so exceptional at doing–the level that even near greatness requires.

    John Wooden’s pyramid of success put competitive greatness as the very top block–directly under the cap stones of patience and faith. All the talent, all the training, all the mastery of technique, all the patience, all the Sam Gilberts, all the strategy and tactics, all the referee baiting, everything was for naught, if when the moment to perform came, you could not compete at a peak level. The block reads: “Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required each day.”

    These young players now have a second experience with the SDSU/TEXAS Model that challenges their competitiveness and makes them lose their will to compete. Before they played these two teams, this KU team did not know what it did not know. After it played SDSU, it probably believed it had a bad game; one of the 1/3 bad games Self conditions them to prepare for. But after the Texas game there is no escaping the similarities between SDSU and Texas. There is no escaping that it was not just KU having a bad game. Now they know what they do not know. The question now is: can the coaches help them discover what they know they do not know; that they are lacking in competitive greatness at the moment; and do so without making them lose their confidence?

    There is a brutally honest quote by Bob Knight in Joan Mellen’s remarkable 1988 book “Bob Knight–His Own Man.” It goes like this:

    “If you were to ask me to boil this whole thing down to the simplest form, it might be this: in order to be any good, you have got to know what you’re bad at, and so you play to your strengths and play away from your weaknesses. But somebody’s got to tell you what the hell your weaknesses are and somebody’s got to tell you the mistakes you’re making. If they don’t do that, you have no chance.”–Bob Knight (p.188)

  • @jaybate 1.0 great post, I think we will see if they can figure that out Tuesday. I’m not a big believer in excuses or they hit a wall or whatever. I’m in a bad mood!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Bad moods are good if you use them to make you think NEXT. Rock Chalk!

  • Personally, I think this is becoming clearer. This team is a finesse team, led by Mr. and Mrs. Finesse, Perry Ellis and Andrew Wiggins, and their son, Naadir Finesse. Uncle Finesse (Embiid) vists on weekends. The Finesse family.

    Right now, this is not a tough team. Oh how I’d like to see TRob at the 4 right now with this group.

    Now, I do think Embiid can be tough. But did you see him after Ridley tossed him to the ground? He looked stunned. There is a difference between slapping at a KSU player, and bucking up against Mr. Ridley. Selden is not part of the Finesse family, just an in law. Not surprising that he excelled in a game like yesterday.

    As an aside, after Embiid got hammered, I would have put Tarik in the game and told him to blast Ridley at the first opportunity, Flagrant 1, 2, 3 and 4 … whatever. Send the freaking message.

    But this is a finesse team. And we will have win with what we have. That is reality. We have to shoot the ball. We may have to outscore teams as opposed to banking on stopping them from scoring. There was a lot of talk about turnovers a while back. But we won on the road at ISU with 24 turnovers, and lost at Texas with just 12. I, of course, don’t want turnovers, but as I’ve mentioned before, turnovers aren’t the know all, say all about how well you’re playing. We may need to risk more turnovers, we may need to be more reckless and aggressive on offense. We may need to run at every opportunity.

    We have to create better scoring opportunities, however that might occur. We might need to (God forbid) run a press. It’s pretty simple to me. As @jaybate mentioned, we’ll have trouble with teams like SDSU and Texas – tougher teams. We have the opportunity to adjust, get better at what we do, compete better, and find ways to win games.

    @jaybate asked this question - “can the coaches help them discover what they know they do not know; that they are lacking in competitive greatness at the moment; and do so without making them lose their confidence?”

    My answer to that is “perhaps marginally.” What I mean is that the Finesse family I mentioned above are not going to change their stripes in a few weeks. And that is the core of this team. So I do not think that discovering something right now, or in a few weeks, will occur.

    Personally, I think that coach Self has to find a way to win with this group as they are. How can this team, in March, win playing a finesse game?

    That requires detailed scheming and strategizing. It may require running more set plays. It may require changing our approach to attacking zone defenses, i.e., more screening. It may require tweaking our lineup and minutes against such teams to emphasize those not in the Finesse family.

    This is a very, very good team. But the harsh reality may be that our progress in March may be more dictated by match-ups than in the past. Perhaps coach Self can limit that some by adjusting to the team that he has.

  • HEM, That is what scares me about this team. I think we will win the conference and be considered a contender for the NC. However, matchups could get us in the tournament. We don’t match up well with long, athletic, tough teams. They’ve killed us. Except Baylor…and I’m worried about Tuesday because they are coming off the win at OSU and tend to put short streaks of good play together. We’ll have to have faith in Self to figure out how to win with the very good players that he has even though they aren’t all the type of players he usually has on his team. After years of watching teams that win ugly, and when they don’t have any offense because they keep other teams from scoring…this is different for all of us. I usually don’t care about officiating because it goes both ways and rarely impacts games. I didn’t see that the call on Selden made any sense at all. Also, after watching games all day yesterday, flopping is becoming almost as big a problem in the college game as it is in the pros.

  • Texas can block some shots… but knocking down a dozen Jayhawk shots was less of a reflection on their ability to dominate the post and more about our lackluster play.

    When Texas comes to AFH I would think we will be amped for that game. If so… tell me Texas will be blocking 12 shots! It ain’t gonna happen.

    We played yesterday like everyone was carrying around a 50 lb ball and chain. And when they blocked a shot it gave them more moxie to slap down the next one.

    The problem we are having is competitiveness. Players with a high level of competitiveness fight back harder after getting pushed. We collapse when we’ve been pushed. We surrendered yesterday in the first half. I wasn’t expecting a come back like the Shockers pull. That team competes.

    This laid back attitude is going to bite us in March. It will only take one of those games and we are done. And I could easily see this team embarrassed by another Bucknell or Bradley. We are going to be in trouble when we face the first team with plenty of competitors.

    Like I said in my thread on competitiveness… there is a difference between a guy who goes sliding for a ball because he was trained to do that versus a naturally competitive guy who simply has to have that ball.

    What I’m not sure is if we can learn to be more competitive. I don’t know enough about that subject… anyone in here with a background in psychology? Maybe all the guys have competitiveness built into them, and maybe there is a way to get them to use it. Without it… this team is going to underachieve in March. I have no doubts about that.

    I wonder how these guys would do in a Mesoamerican ballgame? For example, a Mayan ball game lasting several days where the losing team was sacrificed by beheading.

  • I was the guy who screamed about the rule enforcement changes this year because it would unfairly punish lock down defense and it woud add even more of a window of variation for refs to “call it like they see it.”

    If we dig back into my repetitive rants you’ll find me also stating that flops would become worse, because the only way a defender will be able to get a call is if he flops.

    Teams have now figured this out. And the flopping is working so well that it is growing on both sides of the ball.

    Anyone in here see the Syracuse/Duke game? Boeheim has put his entire team into the “Marcus Smart School of Acting.” That was disgusting… and it gave Syracuse the victory. It was the difference in the game. They probably won over 6 calls that would have gone against them if they hadn’t flopped.

    I’m already dreading March Madness. This is going to be the most f#&%ed up officiating in college basketball history. Imagine what is going to happen when the real stakes are in play?

    We need to send our guys through acting school ASAP! If you can’t beat’em, join’em! We are going to need to “sell some calls” if we want to win in March.

    I’m really feeling the love right now for weenies like Jay Bilas. Mr. Duke Lawyer has started hedging on his earlier comments about how he loved removing contact out of the game. He’s finally started noticing the unfair disadvantage against the defender, and how the game is being decided on stupid little calls of little contact. He’s even made a tiny comment or two on flopping… by throwing players under the bus for flopping. Hey… players are going to compete and they want to win. If refs are going to give them the call, they are going to do it. This isn’t the players’ fault, this is the rules change and how it is administered by college refs. Bilas and his Dukeys got a taste of their own medicine yesterday. Boo hooo…

    Embiid should have pulled a major flop when he had his arm locked with the Longhorn. And then he should have laid there acting hurt. Stop the game and “grimace in pain.” Then refs go to the monitor and flop the call. I mean… flip the call.

    This is what March Madness is going to look like this year.

  • I thought our guys played really hard, but it was just an off night when they couldn’t buy baskets. Several times our guys drove and received heavy contact, but no foul was called. In one sequence, I saw Embiid elected not to attack the rim because the Texas bullies were waiting. I believe those contacts would have been call on the Texas players earlier in the season.

    I couldn’t believe Embiid was thrown down, but got called for a foul. That should have been a technical on the fat one.

  • @drgnslayr what does it take to get a review?

  • @HighEliteMajor Interesting thought about putting in Black to bruize on Ridley, but I dont think that is Tarik’s personality either. Call it the EJ-syndrome. KU gets nice kids that Self has to “push” to play tough, with a few that do come with competetive swagger (Chalmers, RussRob, Sherron, Selden, Mason…). Embiid is a frosh. Wiggins is a frosh. By saying that, my hope is they learn to become what Self wants them to on the floor in the toughness dept. We do have good examples of Mason, Jamari, Selden, and sometimes Embiid.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I’m pretty sure any player that goes down and appears to be hurt above the neck should guarantee a review.

    Also… players can complain that they were hit in the head… or coaches can complain.

  • MAN you guys jump ship easy.

    We got complacent, went on the road, and got out everythinged.

    Hard to watch but was incredibly impressed with Wayne’s desire. Also VERY impressed with Wiggins. Think he’s really turned the corner. This is not sarcasm - this is fact. Wiggins could not buy a bucket, no one could, but he kept his head up, kept hustling, and played very solid defense. Other guys were just not tuned in. Na’ must have been blacking out on dirty 6 all night cause he was an absolute no show but other than that it wasn’t because we’re a finesse team or what not. We’re young and went on the road to a loud environment and just got beat. We’ll learn from it. We aren’t soft we just didn’t hit shots, could never get anything going, and the Texas players were playing in front of their first crowd that got over 85 db’s in about 6 years. Think KU football when we pretended we cared.

    Phog.net is superior. they love me. I’ve found a new home.

Log in to reply