Bragg - Thoughts and Feelings?

  • The once loved freshmen with a great smile and surprising Piano skills took a sharp and unexpected turn his Sophomore year and struggled mightily. He had both off and on court issues. He lost his beautiful mid range jump shot and was a huge disappointment, as many thought he may be the leading scorer at the beginning of the season. That was followed up by two separate off-court issues that showed CB was distracted to say the least. And that was capped off with him being benched the last game of the season.

    So, now we have to wonder where Bragg will be next season. Do we as fans even want him on our team? Do we feel he still has value? Can he turn the corner and become a great basketball player?

    Personally, I want him to stay. I think he has all of the good things we saw from him that freshmen year somewhere. He just needed a wake up call. A reminder that the NBA isn’t just a given for him. That it can all be taken away with one poor decision. By hanging out with the wrong people. And, that is why I want him to stay. He saw what could happen if he isn’t focused and works hard. And if he can put in the work he needs to this summer, Bragg will be one of the great Bigs to come through the KU program under Self. I hope he stays, and we see that smile another year or two.

  • I want him to come back. I think he can still be a good player. I have to think that the off court incidents affected his confidence. I hope he comes back. I do worry, though, that the admin. / Self doesn’t feel the same way.

  • I believe the off season will help him a great deal. Between his freshman and sophomore years, Bragg changed his body dramatically. Not only he grew, by some accounts 2 inches, but he gained 30+ pounds ad now he has the build of a real PF that can bang inside; however, his mindset is still has not caught up to his body and he is still trying to play more of a finesse game and avoiding contact. I have mentioned before that Bragg plays as if he had Lightfoot’s body and Lightfoot plays as if he had Bragg’s body…go figure…

    Over the summer, the staff will work with him developing an inside game better suited to his new build and with a mid range to boot and I am optimistic that we will see a different player.

  • First off I think he’s leaving. I’ve been hinting to that end for months. He’s the perfect example of a kid that looks for a new situation. KU isn’t immune to the transfer game.

    Why was he benched in the last game? I fail to think it was due to the flow of the game. We didn’t have one big that played well and when Jackson went down with 2 fouls those were usually Bragg’s minutes. So why didn’t he get a chance to help in the Oregon game…

    I think the staff tried to force him into a role he wasn’t comfortable with and it showed. He didn’t really have a choice after the style of play switched to the 4 guard offense. A big part of why that happened was the inability for Bragg to develop enough to start him. Jackson took his place and I’m sure that hurt his ego.

    I would love for Carlton to be back if he dedicated this off-season to the mental side of things. I don’t care about the off the court issues but they became an easy target to say he wasn’t focused, it showed on the court way too often. I thought maybe the distractions would harden him and he’d use them to motivate his play but he wasn’t able to do that consistently.

    His motor, defense, hands, were all major concerns this season. It’s hard to say he took any steps forward even though his statistics overall say he improved. Sometimes I wondered if this was a player capable of playing at the High Major D-1 level. He honestly would benefit from a red-shirt year and if that happens most assuredly it won’t be at Kansas. I wish Carlton the best with whatever he does. He can certainly come back, hit the reset button and work on his game and repair his image and game. But today its much easier for these kids to hit the reset button somewhere else

  • @BeddieKU23 Bragg’s choice or coach? I think he’s gone too.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I think its going to be Carlton’s decision. I don’t think Self would push him out but we don’t know how much of the off the court stuff has bothered Self. I’m sure we won’t know either way

  • @BeddieKU23 I think the lack of playing time is a nudge. That appears objective. Bragg, on the face of it, could have helped vs. Oregon as another option – meaning, to see if he could have any success.

    But of course we have zero idea what the behind the scenes discussions have been. It’s really one of the more intriguing topics.

    I’ve thought he’s gone for a while now. The planets appear to be aligning.

    If he stays, though, that is a pretty strong statement from all involved.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Lots of good points.

    The playing time against Oregon says something is up.

    Even if we were to exaggerate how good Coleby played in the Purdue game it still doesn’t make sense on the surface. Dwight only got 4 minutes in the Oregon game and from my recollection was lost in those 4 minutes. So Bragg doesn’t even get a sniff? not even a look. Then we add in the fact Josh Jackson was saddled with two quick fouls and Bragg wasn’t the first option. Somewhere Bragg would have been an option if Self had played to his rotations in games prior.

    So are we to assume Self tightened the bench when the game quickly became one KU was trailing and playing catch up. Maybe it was the game plan. Something doesn’t sound right about that either.

    If he stays its a good sign that both are ready to move forward.

  • @BeddieKU23 No question that Carlton playing the 5 more often affected him. If we are going to go back to the old offense…we definitely need him.

  • Considering how Bell manhandled Lucas and Colby, Bragg, a very distant third option in that scenario, was likely saved the humiliation. Sometimes it is better to leave things to our imagination than to remove all doubt.

  • @Hawk8086

    Should we though? I think there’s more evidence to support staying with the perimeter oriented offense if Graham/Svi return (as that makes 6 perimeter players) on the roster. Plus the versatility of Preston (assuming he’s on campus) makes the 4 guard offense something to build off rather then abandon.

    I think given what we saw from Bragg this season it would be hard to revert back and have confidence in him producing. Self abandoned the traditional set to get his 5 best players on the court. It’s hard to imagine we are going to see Carlton in one off-season change that. Thoughts?

  • @BeddieKU23 said:

    I think the staff tried to force him into a role he wasn’t comfortable with and it showed. He didn’t really have a choice after the style of play switched to the 4 guard offense. A big part of why that happened was the inability for Bragg to develop enough to start him.


    He basically became a tweener for the system we were playing.

  • @BeddieKU23 Might be right…but I just think he can perform at a high enough level to play the traditional 4

  • All we can do is hope this is the off-season where Bragg makes the big leap, because it didn’t happen last year.

    I pray we don’t go back to the hi/lo. I don’t mind using it on occasion… but to be our calling card? No way.

    Carlton and Doke… neither are back to the basket scorers. I don’t think Billy is either.

    Billy has guard-like abilities. He can handle the ball really well for a big and his outside shot is coming along quickly. I don’t mind going back to the 3-2 offense if he is on the floor. Carlton doesn’t have good handles. Wish he did. That is an area he should polish over the summer. If he can… then I’m fine with the old 3-2.

  • @BeddieKU23 I would like to see us have the bodies for a traditional lineup and make substitutions in the flow of the game. Lets wear a team down with Hi-Lo and then bring in fresh ponies off the bench and run them to death. A little bad cop good cop.

    With this teams depth next year, I would like to see us feed the post early and try to get the opponents best Big man in foul trouble. Then follow that up with an all-out Press with 4 guards and Preston at the 5. Between Cunliffe, Garrett, Vick, and Svi we are so long and athletic. We could really get after people.

    As much as depth was a weak spot last season, it will be a strength next year. Providing we keep everyone still currently on the roster.

  • @CRH107

    I like the way you think. Your explanation makes sense to me.

  • I think Bragg’s season went up smoke. The paraphernalia found in his room could very well be the reason why we are having this discussion instead of discussing how we’re going to clean Gonzaga’s clock tonight. I don’t want to make this a forum on pot, but the stuff has been illegal for a reason.

    That being said, I was a little skeptical of the “most improved player in America” proclamations that we were hearing during the preseason. He was decent last year, but I didn’t see anything his freshman season that made my mouth water in anticipation.

  • @Kcmatt7 Very Nice - -well put. - -I have to believe my answers would be - - - As a fan - - the answer would be YES - - Does he still have value ?- - the answer would be YES - - Can he turn the corner and be a GREAT Player ? - - MAYBE - - -but a really good player? - -YES.

    I like yourself , Would actually like to see him return. - -This was just a very bad year for Carlton, I think the off the Court distractions , , really effected him ON THE FLOOR , The kid has an awesome personality - -Did we like you say see that smile that would be very contagious this year like his Freshman year - -NO. - -I just feel it got to be to much for the poor kid -yes, he made some bad decisions - -BUT who hasn’t during their life at that age?- - - I know I for one sure did.

    I just really feel Bragg deserves a 2nd chance - -I feel he for sure could help the team big time even yet. - -I for one am not going to turn my back on the boy - -He knows he has done wrong - - made some mistakes, I feel deserves the chance to try again. – -As I have always said NEVER look in the mirror, for you can’t change the past - - -live today for today for tomorrow is never promised- - -just take one day at a time, that all he can do - -that’s all anyone can do. - - So again my answers would be yes - -yes - - & yes. ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @BeddieKU23 As I stated above, - - I would love to see Carlton come back - BUT deep down wich saddens me I have to agree with you , ,I just feel Bragg may just feel he needs to get away go somewhere else and get a fresh start.- -I think no doubt still he can play high lever D-1 ball, but I’m just afraid as much a I would like to see him return, this past year has just been to much for him here - -his off the court really effected his game this season I believe. - - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @wissox said:

    I didn’t see anything his freshman season that made my mouth water in anticipation

    That season enabled him to start at a base so low that “most improved” could have still been “barely acceptable.” If you are in a drought of 1/16" of rain in 2 months, an increase of 300% still leaves you with only a quarter of an inch.

    On a serious note, I thought he showed better range his freshman year. But hardly ever shot this year, maybe because there were 6 guys who could shoot better from 12+.

  • @mayjay I agree on his range. It was always kind of ugly I thought, kind of flat, but they went in. He seemingly didn’t make any of those this year.

  • @BeddieKU23 Ideally for me anyways I would have to think that if Bragg were to come back , I feel that he just has to play the 4 - -the 5 in the higher D-1 level is just not an option for him , I just don’t believe he ever got comfortable in that position - he is more athletic - -mobile to play out on the floor , he DOES HAVE the jumper from distance , we have seen it in the past, I just would hope if he returns that some where along the line we could get somewhere this spring a more quality big man - -more natural 5 and let Bragg go outside - -better fir for him --but that’s just me. I do hope he comes back. - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • Most likely we will soon read info about the prolonged investigation into that runaway girl (or those GIRLS) who became victims of malfeasance in the hoops dorm, back midseason. Man, I hope none of our players gets charged with that rape or providing drugs or alcohol. One player’s abrupt departure at semester as well as Bragg’s history of misjudgment loom more than somewhat mysterious in possible regard to that Bad Night. Hopefully, Bragg’s paraphernalia will not play a part in the eventual court proceedings of that lingering fiasco.

  • @REHawk I have always worried about another shoe dropping concerning Bragg and that incident/s

  • My hope is always the best for Bragg. Absolute best case scenario Bragg returns and enters the season as an absolute beast. But, his track record isn’t too hopeful. I’m neutral at this point.

    Question is…if Bragg stays another year, can he turn the remainder of his playing time into something special? I just don’t get Bragg.

    I’m more interested in Trevon Duval.

  • @REHawk If I remember right the team was in KC having played at the Sprint center during the time that incident took place. That doesn’t mean they don’t have knowledge of what went on or even could have in some way shape or form contributed to it in some way. I am sure it has had a negative effect with the team in general probably more off the floor then on.

    I met and interacted with Carlton a little over the summer at a kids camp. He was a happy go lucky, very bouncy and friendly person. During the course of the year his body language did not reflect that same demeanor all that often. Something is going on in his head and it is not possible to tell the cause. Possibilities that spring to mind definitaly include the off floor activities however lack of playing time for various reasons looms large to me. He grew a noticeably in both height and weight which from my own experience in another sport can screw with you. Also the entire system he learned to play his freshman year, and perhaps most his life, was thrown out with the shift to 1 in 4 out. No idea what he will end up doing I hope he sticks it out and finds his niche with the Hawks. He has showed glimpses of being a valuable part of next year.

    My biggest fear since the Oregon game is something happened on that trip which we have yet to learn (as if we ever do) that has Self annoyed with him. If that is the case I can see that being the third strike that moves him down the road.

    Not been posting much seldom around the computer and I am too old to make the damn phone work 100% with this site. I read everything here tho!

  • @Kubie I wondered if anything happened before the Oregon game too. You guys that think you are to old to work your phones ask these young guys! They are very helpful and you are to valuable to lose!

  • @truehawk93 Were not getting Duval. - - -Time to move on from this scenario - - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @Kubie

    I believe that with a little detective work on a previous thread we pretty much established that the team did not get to their hall until well after it had been reported to the police. Since several players were named as potential witnesses, the mots likely explanation is that while they were walking to the hall they might have seen someone leave. Other than the Star, I don’t know of anyone that has even remotely tied the players to the incident in question. A non issue, really.

    I believe Carlton is going through some growing pains, both physical and maturity wise, and in the off season he will start all over and turn into a very serviceable player.

  • I know people like the happy-go-lucky Bragg. But that’s not what anyone needs. Look at Frank Mason. How often does he smile? Sometimes a little seriousness and self-criticism is necessary to getting better.

  • @Kcmatt7

    A Jr Bragg with a re-dedicated off-season would be great to have at Self’s disposal. No doubt that’s the best scenario here. One that I’m still holding onto as long as no decision has been made.

    Self recruited over him getting Preston so that’s an interesting plot to think about. Then there’s Lightfoot who will be battling for more time after what should be an intense summer for him adding weight, continuing to develop. We also have a chance at landing a high level transfer in Juiston who would bring a lot of intangibles to the team. Self is certainly prepared to move on if that happens.

  • @betterfireE Ah-HA! If that is the case, then Frank had best sit down for a chat with LightFeet…Pronto! That kid is the most colorful cut-up on our current bench squad.

  • @REHawk Actually, REHawk, we might not see much of Frank Mason for a spell. NBA combines and training sessions will yank him off and away from springtime Lawrence, probably just as they did Sherron. I hope he can make it to the banquet (or has Self already hosted his last banquet for this season?).

  • @REHawk what?

  • @jayballer54 Big difference in “getting” Duval and being “interested.” You move on and I’ll remain interested in a great point guard, regardless of where he signs.

    Let’s not forget Wiggins was a LONG shot too and many were guaranteeing him to FSU. Hope is a good thing @jayballer54.

    @jayballer54 Don’t forget to tell HOF Coach Bill Self what you just responded to me. ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @Crimsonorblue22 …just muttering to myself.

  • @truehawk93 I won’t no problem lmao - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @Kcmatt7

    He’ll be fine and successful at KU if he sticks it out, but KU is a tough place for players with thin skins.

  • @BeddieKU23

    I wonder if our landing of Doke actually hurt Bragg’s spirit last year?

    Maybe his feelings were hurt and as the season started the post talk was all about Doke… not much about Bragg.

    I think it hurt his confidence… and he is a guy who wears his confidence on his sleeve. He clearly had confidence issues this year. The focus wasn’t there nor the ambition.

  • @jaybate-1.0 More like Bill Self is a tough coach to play for, for players with thin skin.

  • @drgnslayr

    Good question. But they play different positions and all the off-season hype went to him and Vick as far as reports of improvement/ready to step into a bigger role goes.

    I think what hurt his confidence more than anything was Jackson taking his spot. A known OAD comes here and plays out of position and thrives doing so. That was Bragg’s ticket to the NBA this year and it failed miserably.

    Landen Lucas was recruited over almost every year he was here but Landen is a different breed, he took that as extra motivation and earned his keep at Kansas. So far I don’t think we can say Bragg has done the same or taken the same mentality to playing here. And now, Bragg’s been recruited over with Billy Preston… The plot thickens

    Self told the media in the summer/fall that he wasn’t thrilled with his post situation and that was clearly his way of trying to motivate Bragg. Bragg seemed like a motivated fella when he got here especially as we saw him battle in the WUG.

    It’s hard to believe he didn’t sustain what most fans thought was going to be a big year for him. So many in the past at KU have stepped up, no questions asked. The eye test says Bragg took 2 steps backwards (at least) in almost every phase of his game.

    It’s still hard to believe IMO how poorly he played outside of a few games this season

  • @BeddieKU23

    Yep. Me and many others were very wrong about Bragg. I thought he would thrive at KU. He needs a two post system, he is absolutely not a center.

  • @BShark

    I’m apart of that wrong club.

    I think its no excuse to say he’s not capable of playing the 5. Players play out of position all the time and find a way to adjust and thrive. He’s 6’10, that’s on him.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Yeah… he is a 4 and Doke a 5. But in the old Self hi/lo system… one is left and one is right (offense).

    I thought he had his shot at the 4 and only after he played horrible for quite some time did Josh take his minutes.

    Doke came in every bit as green as any player we have brought in… equaling Diallo and Alexander. I bet practice minute attention in the post was mostly towards Doke.

    In reality… Bragg was almost as green as Doke. We knew we had to formulate an offense with the players we had and it was going to be different from last year since he was taking over for Perry.

    Maybe he just felt so inferior to Perry, and he couldn’t keep his confidence up knowing people were going to compare him to Perry at the 4?

    I’m just throwing out ideas to try to pinpoint why he carried such a burden all year.

  • @BeddieKU23

    He just doesn’t have enough girth/strength to bang with kids like Nick Ward. Gets tossed around way too easily. Now, I definitely think he could have played more in suitable match-ups, but Self didn’t fell that way. Which is a big part of why I think it could be best for everyone involved if he transferred. NOT SAYING I WANT HIM TO TRANSFER.

  • @BShark

    Count me in that club… but I knew he would never be a 5.

    I proclaimed him as becoming the best pick and pop/roll guy we have ever had. I saw that velvet touch he had in his freshman year from mid range and fell in love… knowing he could expand his range to trey and then we really have something. A good set of legs, good motor, and some ability to dribble…

    I remember arguments if he would be more like Marcus or Kieff. Wow!

    I think what Carlton needs to decide now is WHO IS HE? He needs to establish a basketball identity. That will give him a target to focus on (for his development), because what is clear is his lack of focus. He will never amount to a hill of beans if he doesn’t establish a basketball identity and then focus on becoming “the dream.”

  • @drgnslayr

    We are in the same boat. I thought he would be pretty darn good in a similar role to Perry Ellis. Wasn’t thinking Marcus though.

  • @drgnslayr

    Good points.

    From what we saw on the court in limited time Doke looked like he had a mean streak (in a good way) to him. He knows he’s a big boy and can physically intimidate guys on the court.

    Bragg has never really given that impression although he’s a pretty emotional guy on/off the court. Bragg’s maturity as we’ve seen this season did not make the next step forward for whatever reason. And maybe it was too much to expect him to step in for Perry seamlessly, its entirely possible the pressure got to him. I remember Perry earlier in his career would get down on himself for not being perfect. There’s probably some similarities in that with Bragg who once things started going south it was hard for him to find a way to put it behind him.

    I hope if he returns we get some comments from Bragg & Self about how they will move forward

  • None of the bb stuff matters if he can’t get his life under control.

  • @Kcmatt7

    KU fans often appear to underestimate how demanding and critical they are.

    My parents used to talk about 50 years ago. My brother talked about it 20 years ago.

    It’s not the expectations of KU fans that are so tough. It’s their expressed judgements rendered from those frequently ridiculously over hopeful expectations that hurt players.

    Getting chewed out by Self is obviously a stinging experience, but most players have heard that level of harshness or worse before they arrive. Nothing prepares them for the fans–ours and opponents. Not everyone turns out suited for life in the spotlight and education can be tough for those sheltered from it in the pass.

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