Now The Real Fun Begins: May Rotation Talk



  • So the roster has now been finalized.

    I think Svi returning is bad news for Garrett’s playing time. Garrett now goes down to 5th guard to start the season with Cunliffe likely working his way into the line-up when eligible. So Garrett now seems like the odd man out, with the caveat that if he can handle the ball at this level immediately he becomes invaluable as the off-guard when Graham or Newman takes a breather.

    Graham and Newman will be minute sinks. I imagine both will be 32+ mpg. Maybe a little higher. One needs to be on the floor at all times.

    Who starts between Svi and Vick? I don’t think it matters much. They should both pull over 20 mpg and be key players.

    Cunliffe is an athlete (Garrett is too, but he’s also a basketball player) and Self seems to love him. I’m ready for Jamari frustration here. But fortunately it’s 5th guard frustration and not primary back-up/5star not playing.

    The post situation is clear by necessity, but it could be a bumpy ride.

    Doke will play as many minutes as he can handle, hopefully 30 but it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up closer to 25 due to foul trouble.

    Preston should start at the 4. Will Self try to make him bang and potentially have another Bragg situation? Or will he let Preston roam/drift around? The other possibility is that Preston buys in completely and is everything we hoped Bragg would be.

    Whitman is the back-up to both post positions. I think ideally he is a 10-15 minute guy, but in match-ups where Self wants to stay big I think we are looking at 20 minutes or so from William and Mary’s back-up center.

    Lightfoot would have to improve rapidly to play outside of garbage time. I think in foul trouble situations in tight, pressure games Self goes small over playing Mitch. My guess is when we check at the end of the year his minutes will be similar to Chris Teahan’s minutes…

    Looks like another guard oriented team to me. Hopefully Preston is great because I think he is a big key. Doke and Whitman are both DUNK IT/OH GOD PLEASE DON’T SHOOT THAT 10’ JUMPER guys. In situations when they are both in there, opposing teams are likely to pack the paint. Thankfully this roster has the shooters to make teams pay for that. Graham/Newman/Svi are all fabulous shooters. Even in Newman’s pretty bad FR year at MSST he shot 38% from three. I think Self will get the best out of Newman. He is a very good shooter, he was just trying way too hard to create his own shot at MSST. This is my one worry for this team, that neither Graham or Newman are great creators. We will see. But yeah in addition to that Vick is a pretty good shooter too. I’m not sold on Cunliffe but he’s the 5th guard so it’s not a huge deal.



  • You say that this team lacks great creators. Isn’t that an argument for the hi-lo? Get the ball in the paint by passing to a big, not by driving.

    The only thing is the bigs have to be able to pass out to the open shooters. Udoka?

    The other thing about driving, so many drives (or cuts to the basket for alley oops) benefited from Lucas screens! We’re going to be screaming “drive the f*n ball” and the guards are going to be waiting for the nice driving lanes that they had all the time last year.

    The “identity” of next year’s team is going to be a very interesting search…



  • I’m pretty pessimistic (as usual!) for next year. Svi’s return helps…some. I’m not sold on him being any more than a competent role player. The freshmen I always take a wait and see. The transfers, I am optimistic that Newmann will take up some of the slack caused by Franks leaving. Whitman, no clue what he’ll bring to the table. We’ll win a bunch of games for sure. Will we win the big one? Well, I’m pessimistic, as usual!



  • This team has motivation. 6 guys have the potential to get drafted in 2018. Expect them to play like studs. We will have a mismatch to exploit every single game. Either a poor defender on Newman, a bad pick and roll post DG can destroy, a short frontline on Doke, a slow post Preston can run circles around, or a short guard trying to defend Svi or Vick.

    At this moment, only two teams have the players to matchup with us 1-5. That is Kentucky and Arizona.



  • I would have been a lot more pessimistic had Svi stayed in the draft but I’m good for now. I think there is a tremendous amount of talent on the team but we have absolutely no clue how these guys are going to play together. Italy helps, that will get their feet warm for the season.

    Obviously Doke is the key in the post especially defensively. I don’t know what to expect from him on offense after all the time he’s missed. He is still going to be a major work in progress, but one I’m so excited to see progress. I do think he becomes one of the alpha’s we will need as long as he can manage his fouls.

    On the surface I’m not sure this is a great rebounding team outside of Doke/Preston/Vick. That’s where Svi, Graham & Newman can all make strides this off-season. I’m hoping Whitman is a serviceable rebounder. Vick really has a knack for lose balls and his athletic ability gives him every chance to offer 4-5 rebounds a game.

    Maybe the biggest effect to Svi coming back is how this creates depth for this team. The battle for that wing spot is going to be awesome and then you have Cunliffe & Garrett battling for that 5th guard spot. 3, 6’5 to 6’7 guard/wings is crazy to bring off your bench. All 3 offering something different, its a good problem to have.

    Starting 5 to start the season

    Graham Newman Svi Preston Doke

    Pretty easy to predict right now. I could definitely see Vick winning the wing spot.

    I could also see Self starting Whitman just to lay into Preston. Regardless we should have 7 really solid rotation players.

    Then you sprinkle in Lightfoot, Cunliffe & Garrett as needed and this is a top to bottom talented team.



  • I like that.Kcmatt7 said:

    This team has motivation. 6 guys have the potential to get drafted in 2018. Expect them to play like studs. We will have a mismatch to exploit every single game. Either a poor defender on Newman, a bad pick and roll post DG can destroy, a short frontline on Doke, a slow post Preston can run circles around, or a short guard trying to defend Svi or Vick.

    At this moment, only two teams have the players to matchup with us 1-5. That is Kentucky and Arizona.



  • Newman is a creator. Graham can be, although he needs to be more consistent about it. And Preston should command double teams even when he faces up. That’s enough offensive juice when you consider the shooting that we will have from Svi, Vick, Graham, Newman and Cunliffe (when eligible).

    Azuibuke probably won’t see as much collapsing defense because he’s going to be a third or fourth option. That will help him as his game matures.



  • @Kcmatt7 good point. Our game with Kentucky right off the bat should be great and a good gauge of what the team is capable of.



  • I feel comfortable with the level of play with Devonte, Vick and Svi. Malik won’t face another guard better than the one he had to spend a whole year guarding in practice last year. Preston reminds me of Julian Wright. If he can reach JuJu’s level we will love him. Whitman has all of the “Up and Under” dance moves of Kevin McHale so he’ll score, but he won’t be a banger like Doke. If Udoka can set a screen and if he learned to pick and role from Mr. fundamental, (Lucas) he’ll be fine. He will create flying lob dunks for others while occupying the inside with his monster body. Cunliffe is an athletic scholarship version of a Conner Teahan. His sister Hannah is a two-time all-American in Track at Oregon. Garret might be the breakout player off the bench. He signed with KU then afterward became the player of the year in Texas. Lightfoot hopefully has been eating, lifting and growing mentally and physically. He’s a good kid that we will always root for.

    Now that High School graduations have taken place and we only have two months before Rome and Milan, are all of these players in McCarthy Hall and doing their dailies?



  • @justanotherfan

    He created as MSST, but poorly. Now, he has been drawing rave reviews in practice and has had a year in the program. I’m as excited to see him play as anyone but I tend to agree with @ParisHawk that this team will need time to gel and find an identity.

    @wrwlumpy

    I like the Morris comparison better for Preston but if he has a Julian Wright type year that would be fine. Though, he will probably shoot some threes with Julian never really did.



  • @BShark

    While Garret is projected to be a SG in college, he played PG in HS and from the tape I have sen of him, it appears he can play PG reasonably well. I can see him playing PG when Graham is resting, 8-10 mpg?



  • Probably see some combination of 3-2 with the 4-1 next year with Svi at the 4 when KU goes 4-1.



  • JayHawkFanToo said:

    @BShark

    While Garret is projected to be a SG in college, he played PG in HS and from the tape I have sen of him, it appears he can play PG reasonably well. I can see him playing PG when Graham is resting, 8-10 mpg?

    I hope so. If he can handle a secondary ball handling role that makes it easier to give Newman and Graham breathers.



  • So I got around to checking other Big 12 rosters

    Some things of note

    ISU out: Ray Kasongo (I believe KU briefly and I mean briefly checked him out in HS) and Simeon Carter

    ISU in: Jeff Beverly 6’6’’ PF Grad transfer, Hans Brase 6’9 PF Grad transfer

    OU out: Dante Buford, Darrion Strong-Moore.

    WVU out: Elijah Macon

    These are things I noticed that seemed new since the last time I checked.



  • It’s easy to see this team become a great team, if it avoids injury, Doke can be more than a load, Preston copes with D1 violence, and 3 guys (Devonte, Vick and Svi) have career years.

    It’s Devonte’s team, but it’s Vick’s dream that counts most.

    Vick can become a great player this season, if he can stay out of jail. Vick is about to Super Nova, if Self gives him the touches and Vick dreams clear and clean.

    Svi will be very good.And he is the only shooter that can bang a little too, so he plays.

    Most think Newman will start. I think Newman will get his minutes backing the Big Three up, which will likely add up to 30 mpg, unless Garrett steals 10 backing up Devonte. If Vick falters, Newman joins the Big Three.

    Inside is two big question marks: Doke and Preston. Can Doke heal and learn the game in time to become the true 5 stud he could be? Can Preston find the motor and toughness to go along with his fabulous physical gifts? Can a Bill &Mary guy beat out Baby Faced Mitch or vice versa to join Sam cunliffe in giving fouls behind Doke and Preston?

    The suspense is killing me.



  • We need to embrace Whitman and at least call him Walt…or Jack is good.



  • @jaybate-1.0 I think you are the first person to project Newman off the bench. Don’t let his dad hear you say that – he’ll say Malik is staying and then he’ll leave the next day.



  • Has Preston been cleared by the NCAA to play? Earlier, there were questions about his academic eligibility. Now, many posters already predict he will be a starter. When will we know if Preston is academically eligible? Does KU make an announcement or do we just keep predicting greatness until the NCAA urinates on his eligibility?



  • @jaybate-1.0 Newman will not come off of the bench. When he transferred there was an agreement that he wouldn’t bold for the draft this year but the other end of the deal was that he would start next season. It’s a given



  • stoptheflop said:

    Has Preston been cleared by the NCAA to play? Earlier, there were questions about his academic eligibility. Now, many posters already predict he will be a starter. When will we know if Preston is academically eligible? Does KU make an announcement or do we just keep predicting greatness until the NCAA urinates on his eligibility?

    Will forward Billy Preston be KU’s next great freshman?

    With the arrival of June, all eyes in the Kansas basketball world begin to shift to the incoming crop of new Jayhawks, many of whom will land in Lawrence this weekend, in time for Bill Self’s youth camps, summer workouts and whatever other welcome-to-college-basketball adjustments the powers that be at KU choose to throw at them.

    For a program that has welcomed such high-profile players as Andrew Wiggins and Josh Jackson in the past four years, the incoming 2017 class lacks sparkle.

    That’s not to say that forward Billy Preston, combo guard Marcus Garrett and four Division I transfers — only one of which will be eligible in October — will not add a lot and play important roles for the Jayhawks.

    But while Garrett might wind up being the next Devonte’ Graham and William & Mary transfer Jack Whitman could follow in Tarik Black’s footsteps, human nature — particularly with KU fans — tends to take people’s attention to the highest-rated player on the board. In this case, that’s Preston, who finished his prep career at Oak Hill Academy ranked as the 10th best player in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com.

    Unlike Wiggins and Jackson, Preston does not carry with him the automatic assumption that he’ll be a one-and-done Jayhawk.

    That mentality won’t fly at Kansas and no doubt will lead to much more bench time than court time for Preston.“Talent-wise, he could definitely be that,” KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend recently told the Journal-World. “His issue’s always been, he’s switched so many schools and he’d never really had great coaching until he went with Steve Smith (at Oak Hill) so he’s never really been held accountable for how he plays. The ball sticks sometimes with him and it’s, ‘Let me see if I can go one-on-one.’ With coach (Self), if he gets the ball and he can’t shoot it, pass it or drive it, he’s gotta get rid of it. So that’s something he’ll have to learn and (who knows) how long it will take him to learn how to play.”

    Townsend knows this. And Preston claims he does. The key question entering the summer will be how closely Preston’s expectations match up with the reality of the journey which he’s about to take.

    “It just depends on how long of a learning curve there is for him and how well he takes coaching,” Townsend said. “I told him, ‘I’m interested to see how you react when coach (gets on you) the first time. Are you gonna quit and pout?’ And he said, ‘No, no, that’s why I came there. I need that.’ They say the right things but until it happens you just don’t know. The (Morris) twins said that too and they fought it or they could’ve gone (pro) earlier. They ended up being great players, but it took ’em three years to figure out, 'all right, we ain’t gonna fight him.’”

    One of the things Self, Townsend and Rivals all liked about Preston were his physical gifts.

    “He’s got an NBA body already,” Townsend said.

    And that’s both a good and a bad thing for the incoming freshman, who, according to a source with knowledge of his status, should be good to go in terms of eligibility when he arrives on campus.

    Good because his potential is off the charts and his versatility will be a luxury for Kansas that approaches the way Jackson was used last season.

    Bad because it remains to be seen if the KU coaching staff’s high demands and expectations from Day 1 will be something the 6-foot-10 forward can handle or if it will inhibit the steady progress required to make a serious splash.

    “With his body and his athleticism and his skill set, that kid, if he wanted to, could average a double-double,” Townsend said. “But I don’t know if he’ll do it because we’re gonna have to kick his butt to go to the glass every time. I would say to him (after high school games), ‘Dude, 6-10 and you had three rebounds? Go get 10 rebounds.’”

    Regardless of how much talent Preston possesses, how long it takes him to figure everything out and what his overall impact on the 2017-18 team actually winds up being, Townsend made it clear that the Jayhawks were glad to have him.

    “I think he’ll be OK,” Townsend said. “Could he be one-and-done? Yeah. Will he be? It just depends how long it takes him to figure it out. It could take ’til Christmas. The advantage he has, though, is we’re going on this trip to Italy (in early August). So he’ll be a little bit ahead of the game. But the second game of the year against Kentucky he might look lost. And people might say, ‘Oh, he wasn’t as good as you thought.’ But we’ll be able to tell by January, once league play starts, if he’ll be a guy who could (leave early).”



  • Per a KU sports article.



  • @Fightsongwriter or Slim.



  • Here is who I think will end up being the starters: DG, Newman, Vick, Whitman, Doke. Svi is the 6th man, and he replaces Whitman. Preston comes in next. Whitman is what Self wants at the 4. Down to the T. He’s a rebounder, he’ll battle inside, he can post up, he is tailor made for the hi-lo. I will reference Bill Self as my source, as he said we didn’t have any more Josh Jacksons to run the 4 out.



  • @HighEliteMajor

    LOL!!

    I decided I had not been out on a limb lately.



  • @Statmachine

    I do not doubt your insider info.

    But I have watched Self appear to renege on enough of these insider info deals in order to make a team win the most it can that I am hopeful he can break down Malik and his Dad and yet again create the best “team” possible.

    Sometimes Self appears to get cornered by players and their parents, but not often. He’s apparently a wily devil, when it comes to putting on the squeeze to get the scheme and rotation he wants. And I don’t think being wily as a coach is a bad thing. It seems like a virtue. Fans often seem to underestimate how much a coach can apparently covertly jerk players and parents to get what a coach apparently wants.

    Coaches appear to do this often over a career.

    Players and parents are either matching wits with him for the one and only time in their lives, or maybe the second time, if they had another son that was previously a top prospect…

    To some extent, it’s not a fair fight, IMHO, thus in forecasting I tend to side with Self finding a way to get his way.

    Similarly, if Self makes his preference for a player in a role known, I bet that’s how it often goes.

    If Self has decided Malik were a better fit than Vick and Svi, then Malik would be the guy long term; that would be my guess.

    But Vick is a helluva player IMHO and Self has appeared to tend to recognize great players regardless of hype coming in.

    He apparently knew Diallo was a piece, not a great player from the start. Same with Cliff and Bragg and so on.

    Any coach that could appear to outmaneuver Carl and Xavier Henry into Brady giving the glue, gun and defense 20 mpg, can probably maneuver Malik and dad this season.

    I could be all wrong about Vick and Svi being better than Malik this season and the team being better with Malik off the bench as a 6th man for 30mpg. But if Self were to see it as I do, rest assured, I have confidence he could and would try to make it happen.

    Again, Self appears a VERY HARD man.

    But a good and decent coach, IMHO.



  • KUSTEVE said:

    Here is who I think will end up being the starters: DG, Newman, Vick, Whitman, Doke. Svi is the 6th man, and he replaces Whitman. Preston comes in next. Whitman is what Self wants at the 4. Down to the T. He’s a rebounder, he’ll battle inside, he can post up, he is tailor made for the hi-lo. I will reference Bill Self as my source, as he said we didn’t have any more Josh Jacksons to run the 4 out.

    I bet Preston starts. Maybe not right away though.



  • Preston will start. Hopefully right away.



  • I actually hope you’re right. Townsend’s comments make me believe there will be growing pains, and Self will settle for the more experienced guy.



  • This post is deleted!


  • @BShark Nice post. Fun stuff to think about. I think with our guards, they all get a chance to play in the beginning. Coach Self wants them all molded and coached up ( the new ones anyways ) before conference season. Whoever fits the system best gets the minutes when the conference rolls around as per usual. I have no idea what to expect myself from the new guys. DG and Vick and Svi will all be taking major steps up in terms of their abilities. At least, I think they will. Newman sounds scary good to me right now. The other two I know even less about. All this makes me excited for Italy. I hope they televise the games or stream them online somewhere.



  • @Fightsongwriter The Poet!



  • @BShark Nice post! Dig the comments added in from KT. I wonder if The Star or LJW has them somewhere? Ive been busy lately, life moves fast. (tangent) OK back to it.
    I really liked it when Coach Self said last year that “Josh Jackson unpacked his bags.” Josh is absolutely my favorite OAD of the Self era. That kid unpacked his bags and basically went about his life like he was going to be at KU for 4 years. Josh dug in and learned all he could from Coach Self and the rest and we could see it progress as the season went on! He came to KU as a super stud with Wiggins comparisons and IMO left KU even better than Wiggins did at the same stage.
    Will Preston “unpack his bags?” I’m thinking he will but I cant honestly expect him to be like Josh. I’m hoping for just really dammed good from this kid at this point.



  • Several knowledgeable sports writers have projected Malik as the conference POY based on reports of his progress during his off year. I just don’t see Malik not starting.



  • JayHawkFanToo said:

    Several knowledgeable sports writers have projected Malik as the conference POY based on reports of his progress during his off year. I just don’t see Malik not starting.

    Malik is a lock imo.



  • KUSTEVE said:

    I actually hope you’re right. Townsend’s comments make me believe there will be growing pains, and Self will settle for the more experienced guy.

    There will definitely be growing pains.



  • 3 of the starting spots are locked down right now. Graham, Newman, and Azubuike will start. Vick/Svi will fight for the 3 and Whitman/Preston will fight for the 4.

    I think Vick probably starts and Svi comes off the bench bench because of his versatility of being able to sub the 1-4 spots. Garrett is the 8th man early on and then Cunliffe likely supplants him in December.

    I don’t see Lightfoot factoring into the rotation in any significant way and Garrett’s minutes diminishing as conference rolls around.



  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    You listed juts 3 bigs, Doke, Preston and Whitman as taking all the minutes for the 4 and 5 position? I am not sure that is correct, you need more than 3 players for these 2 position and this is where Lightfoot might grab minutes…unless you go back to a pure 4 and 1 with the 3 bigs you mentioned fighting for the one position.



  • @BShark

    Here’s a sheet I’ve been keeping track of the Big-12.

    The orange marks scholarships used for 2018-19 players.

    West Virginia’s top 100 recruit Culver is rumored to be possibly ineligible. We’ll see what happens there.

    Oklahoma got a visit from Mkyle McIntosh. Also visted Oregon. Could easily end up in either spot.

    Baylor might be getting a transfer (sit-out) in Vance Jackson (former Top 60 kid) who played at Uconn as a freshman.

    Iowa St might want to add another guard if possible with the McNeill transfer

    Something will have to give at TCU with 14 scholarship players. Maybe the Rafus grade rumors become true and he’s the defection.

    0_1496656279942_upload-bf59916a-7da0-4cd5-bd66-f45c6db9690d



  • @BeddieKU23 Rafus will probably end up at a JUCO.



  • @JayHawkFanToo I think he is assuming we play 4 guards instead of playing Lightfoot. Which I would assume myself. I hope Mitch proves me wrong. But today, Svi could play in the post as well as Lightfoot.



  • I’m looking at these rosters, and I’m not sure who is even good besides KU. Should be interesting!



  • @BShark I think Tech is the dark horse. 5 seniors. Added a couple of play now JUCO guys. Could be experienced and deep.



  • @BShark

    My post spring Big-12 rankings

    1. KU- obvious with Svi back

    2. West Virginia- Losing Macon and possibly their best recruit hurts them but its hard to bet against Huggins and the style of play. The development of West/Konate in the post is paramount for them. They will need Bolden/Bender and something from their other 4 recruits to be rotation pieces to hold onto this spot.

    3. TCU- Lots of positive momentum for this team. Picked up a useful grad transfer in Hamdy from VCU. Big body that can rebound and solidified their #3 spot for now. Dixon has made a lot of waves in a short amount of time.

    4. Oklahoma- Maybe a little ambitious placing them here but the addition of Trae Young plus expected improvements from their returning players makes this a potential pick in the top half. Kruger’s teams are never down for long. If they land McIntosh they will be a tough team.

    5. Baylor- 4 seniors still makes them a tough out. They are weak at SG and post depth. They will need Vital (redshirt) and Clark to make an impact as freshman in the post. Motley was the difference between 2nd and 5th IMO

    6. Texas Tech- Could start 5 seniors and have 5 more upperclassmen in the rotation. Evans & Zach Smith could be 1st team Big-12 performers this year.

    7. Texas- Bamba raises them from last. Getting any kind of stability from Coleman at the PG position will help them. Jones/Bamba are NBA players but what else scares anyone. I don’t trust Smart enough to make them good.

    8. Kansas St- 3 starters back and 2 rotation pieces for delusional Webby. No idea what they will get from the numerous unranked players they signed.

    9. Iowa St- Biggest fall of them all. Iowa St didn’t have a good spring. Numerous players left, they missed on targets and picked up what they could to fill out the roster. Wigginton is an absolute stud but he can only do so much as a Freshman.

    10. Oklahoma St- Finally Forte is gone. Evans went pro. Carroll returning gives them some hope. They could be better then Iowa St but this is a team that will rely so much on Carroll on offense.



  • @Kcmatt7

    Yup, although the loss of Brangers (one of the top 5 JUCO’s) in the land hurt them. He was going to provide perimeter shooting which they still lack outside of Evans. They still lack post depth if Odiase isn’t healthy and I don’t see anyone on the roster to rest Zach Smith much but this is possibly the best Tech team in a long time.



  • @BeddieKU23 Yea was sad to see Brangers leave. Perfect guy to bring off the bench when the team is struggling to score. Instant offense.

    That Western Kentucky team could be decent this year…



  • TCU had a JUCO player committed to them “opt to turn pro”. I believe that solves their scholarship situation



  • TTU landed one time brief KU target and non-qualifer (that year) Deshawn Corprew as well as stud Italian PG Davide Moretti. UConn and Indiana were sniffing around Moretti. Kid can hoop. TTU might be pretty interesting this year after all.



  • @BShark

    I saw Corphew was joining in 2018.

    Moretti looks like a solid pickup and looks like he’ll be somewhere in the Top 200 players.

    Going to be interesting to see how they mesh 9 new players in



  • BeddieKU23 said:

    @BShark

    I saw Corphew was joining in 2018.

    Moretti looks like a solid pickup and looks like he’ll be somewhere in the Top 200 players.

    Going to be interesting to see how they mesh 9 new players in

    Yep, big learning curve.

    I have Moretti around Svi level but obviously he is a guard/smaller. So, he should be a good multi-year contributor.



  • @BShark

    That’s what I was thinking as well or the Italian guard that just left St Johns after 2 years as a good comp


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