3 Generations of Bill
We have seen 3 Generations of Bill now.
2004-2008 (2003 doesnt count. That was a lost Roy year)
The first ended in a championship. The second a championship game. The 3rd 2 Elite 8s lost to the eventual champion and a team that lost by a hair to the champion.
Each generation had its theme.
Balanced high low with staggered classes, jumping passing lanes.
Senior overloaded team with thinner rotation, half court sets, lock down d.
One and done era, frustration on unreliable bigs (and Perry, the lone throwback Self big. Awkward teenage years of guard oriented offense (trust issues: fools gold). Then true greenlight shooting, true stretch 4. Not losing his head when the D underperformed. Trust. Calm.
Each generation had its defining injuries. Brandon Rush injury gave us a title. Mcclemore ineligibility might have cost us a ring. Udokas injury may have cost us a ring.
Each generation had its COY award. 2009 (would argue 2008 ring put him on map, 2009 was everyone seeing him succeed with less), 2012 and 2016.
This last generation hasn’t ended each season how we wanted. But we were within a hair of winning two rings these last two years. No Dooley, no Manning, no front court for a high low master! Injured Embiid, ineligible Cliff, injured Udoka. Despite that, we had our best 3 point shooting team ever under Self. I also think we had our best ball handling since 2008, our best player development, and our best recruiting since 2008.
We are poised to do well next year. And maybe we are now over the need for a generational rebuild like we did after the first two generations and mass exoduses. I don’t think Bill will ever let the classes get unbalanced like we had in 2011-2012 again.
There are a lot of really good signs that Bill has figured it all out.
So let’s wish really hard for something to break our way this time with the roster. We are due for a good break. We may already have gotten one with Carlton stinking it up. If he comes back a new man, picking up where he was projected to be, how good could we be? And Devonte having an off shooting night. Sure I’d trade another year of Devonte for our guys getting a ring and DTae going early as a stud, but looking like we get him back. If he blows up next year, how good are we?
We just need a couple breaks. That’s all it takes.
@approxinfinity Well said. This is a tense time, as we wont know what we have for next year, until all the departures and signees and transfers get all sorted out. 7 mos til November…sucks.
@ralster Graham and Svi decisions loom huge. Will be comforting to all concerned when they firmly decide, esp. if they return. If they should both leave, what a rebuilding year ahead!
I would add that a new generation started in 2015-2016 when we saw Coach Self change his proven system, starting at the World University Games, for a more open system and followed up this past season with a completely different system featuring the 4-1 scheme that proved to be highly effective.
No question that Coach Self’s style has undergone a very positive change and he has moved to a new level that promises to be highly successful and hopefully results in a title or titles in the near future. KU is now projected as an early top 3-5 team and even #1 in a couple of early pre-season rankings, even when it is losing the unanimous College POY and a top 3 draft pick and KU is not done recruiting; no doubt, a huge vote of confidence on his coaching ability.
I kind of look at the Self years through some dominant players.
Aaron Miles - Aaron was a bit robbed while at KU… being a Roy recruit stuck in his prime with a new coach, Bill.
Sherron Collins - Part of the magical comeback that brought our last title to Kansas. Then went on to lead Kansas teams through his senior year.
Tyshawn Taylor - Outrageous talent and almost brought home another trophy with a team that didn’t have a single McDs AA.
Frank Mason - Did everything but lead us to a NC. Unanimous National POY in all organizations.
Notice one thing… not ONE of these PGs were OAD or left early.
Footnote for EJ - EJ will not be remembered in that dominant field. But he deserves a lot of credit for shifting over to point when he wasn’t a PG. That may have cost him with his career after leaving Kansas. What if he had stuck it out at the 2? But he didn’t… and he took a lot of abuse on the chin for making such a huge sacrifice for his team and will never be given credit.
@drgnslayr I’ve been thinking about your post. I definitely want to spend more time slicing up epochs of KU ball under Self. I like the take of looking at dominant players… I’d differ a little from yours though… I thought of the Roy hangover as the Simien team. With an injured Langford, Self tried to run everything through Simien. The championship team I think of Rush and Mario. The bigs were huge of course. You might make a case for Shady as being the first successful 2AD. He was so smooth and not vocal that he doesnt stand out in memory. I’d say Rush because of the corner 3, and clutch 2 way play, and Mario for the passing lane jumping.
Then Sherron and Cole.
Then, while a collective effort in the era that ended in 2011-2012 I would pick Withey for his defensive dominance. Id pick the Morrii for their smothering high low, certainly if they stayed one more year, and Tom Rob for his double double ability and toughness.
The OAD era team didn’t really have a dominant player for at least one season that will stick in memory. At least not a strong memory of their time at KU.
And then Frank. Airtight handles after being turnover prone through the Tyshawn, EJ and Naadir years. And by senior year ice cold from 3, very few mistakes, terrific rebounder and tough D.
If I had to boil it down to 1 for each maybe Simien, Mario, Sherron, Withey, Frank.
@REHawk Why would it be a rebuilding year? We will still have 3 McDAA and Vick at the very very least. I expect Cunliffe to be a very solid piece to the rotation too.
Notice one thing… not ONE of these PGs were OAD or left early.
That’s cuz OAD’s don’t win championships. Maybe if you have more than one…but not necessarily.
@approxinfinity great post. The only difference with your list is I’d pick the top5 lotto level dominance of Thomas Robinson over Withey…even over StankFaceWithey. Imagine if TRob had returned for 1 more year beside Withey…methinks instead of frontline of Withey+KYoung, we’d instead take TRob in to that game vs Mitch McGary/Michigan. Slight game changer?
@ralster my man!
@Kcmatt7 What? I would indeed call it a rebuilding year if we have not one starter returning and also were to lose our first player off the bench. Even if only one of the two, Graham or Svi, should come back, we still would have lost 5 of our top 6 players. Man, that amounts to REBUILDING!
Here’s another thing about this rebuilding business: Can our terrific potential star contributor L G Vick maintain stability in his offcourt activities? His upward development is one of the keys to next season’s success. Personal history demands that we keep our fingers crossed. Seems that every season our program faces at least minimal behavioral distractions or temporary suspensions which lead to team upheaval or an unexpected defeat.
Really enjoyed your post. I was out of town so didn’t have a chance to respond.
How will Josh Jackson figure into your memory down the road? I’ve been internalizing his year recently. It’s tough to come down hard on him just for a bad last game. I knew he would suffer at some point in March, or at least, felt that he would eventually show us some “freshmanitis.”