Billy Don't Be A Hero...

  • Billy Don’t Be A Hero…

    No… wait a minute… Billy PLEASE be a hero!

    While watching my tomatoes grow, I’ve been thinking about our post play for the coming year.

    Doke is a beast! He is going to be amazing for us.

    While his assets are obvious, his not-so-good side scares me because of our lack of experienced depth. We are sure to miss Landen Lucas this year.

    It appears that Doke is our one big post defender. Can we expect him to do his job well without fouling? And when he collects a few fouls, will he have to throttle his efforts in order to stay on the floor?

    If I’m coaching against KU… wouldn’t I go directly at Doke, trying to collect fouls early?

    Speaking of fouls… what about free throws? Doke didn’t even shoot 40% last year. His form from the line was completely unformed last year. Form and muscle memory can take years to tweak into something bearing fruit.

    My tomatoes make me think about basketball. Round orange balls.

    I’ve come to realize that Doke learning to shoot respectably from the FT line may be one of the biggest factors for us this year. If he remains shooting around 40%, won’t teams play “hack-a-Doke?”

    What happens then? Does Coach Self pull Doke from the floor?

    This all directs my eyes over to Billy. We need Billy to advance as quickly as possible. I don’t see how we escape with easy wins in games where Doke is forced to the pine. Our version of “playing small” always means having one big on the floor. I’m becoming a huge Mitch fan, but he just doesn’t have the bod to fill the paint.

    It seems like we have to work hard on our post guys from Day 1 this fall. Billy needs to learn “Self-ball”… which means Bill’s philosophy and playbook. And he needs to do it within the team concept; learning how to play with the rest of our guys. His talent is off-the-charts, but we will never see his talent until he learns our game and can perform it in D1 real time.

    Doke… I know he works hard and he wants to help his team. But I am going to remain worried until the issues above are proven to no longer be issues.

    Free throw clanks will haunt me in my dreams.

  • @drgnslayr Coaching staff MUST bring in one more big guy, a kid who can score from the line as well as pass the ball back out to our 4 “little” scorers.

  • @drgnslayr I made mention of this a few days ago, but I’m serious about the Rick Barry free throw shooting style. I certainly looks silly, but looking a bit silly making 70% is much better than throwing up bricks conventionally at 40%. It’s absolutely crippling in late game situations. By the way, it’s “poke-a-doke” – per @JayHawkFanToo.

    We are dangerously thin in the post, like I’ve never seen it before heading into a season. It’s really even thinner than we ended the season with last year.

    Preston better be really good.

    Imagine if Udoka is an injury prone guy and gets knocked out for 3-4 weeks? I would never have believed a Bill Self, throw it into the post team, would have so few folks to throw it into.

    Our strategy of pursuing top post players is clearly a failure – perhaps those 20-75 guys don’t look so bad now. As the priority, not the fall back, which is why we’re not getting them to the extent that we need them.

  • I’m all for fringe NBA talent 3-4 year post players unless and it’s an extremely good player like Ayton or Bagley. And time will still tell on both of those, but each seems very good. Diallo we knew was raw and before this crazy oad era would have been a multi-year player, and a pretty good one at that I think. Oh well…

    I do think we end up with lower ranked post players in this class. One or two multi-year guys. Then 19 comes and KU is extremely well positioned for a couple top forwards. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. For now though, I will just enjoy the current/upcoming season.

  • @BShark

    If Jarred Allen would have come to KU instead of Texas he would have been a lottery pick.

  • @drgnslayr The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Billy is the key. We are really shorthanded up front. Like no depth at all.

  • @JayHawkFanToo If Jarrett Allen would have come to KU, I think we might have a national championship last season.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Interesting. I had not thought of it this way but now that I do, it makes sense.

  • He would have made a huge difference, that much I would agree with. Could have been the difference, but I’m just not sure, the team played so tight against Oregon.

  • @BShark Curious, what makes you think that the team played “tight” – “tight” implying that their underperformance was mental, not physical.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Would you disagree?

  • @HighEliteMajor That loss to Oregon still baffles me. Other than Frank Mason our guys did not show up. Was the Oregon defense that good, or were our players entering the contest overconfident from the previous easy blowout? I am a fan of D. Graham; but after that loss and his play I am left with some doubts as to whether he can replace Frank Mason as a determined force to overcome adversity in close contests this season. He seemed to let Frank down in that disappointing loss.

  • @BShark I didn’t sense that they were tight, or overcome by the moment. Nor did I sense that Bill Self was tight – which can lead to a tight team.

    I’m interested in why you think they played tight.

    I guess I came away thinking that they were a bit overconfident as @REHawk mentioned, and that we faced an opponent that was able to capitalize on some of our personnel issues. Unlike Nova, I didn’t come away thinking we got out coached.

    Some things conspired to create our loss - 1) Lucas was badly overmatched inside. The ceiling thing, 2) We had no additional answer inside thanks to Bragg’s bong stuff, 3) Vick/Graham had poor games, and 4) Jackson was placed in immediate foul trouble by poor officiating.

    I would say that I don’t know whether the guys who had poor games – Vick or Graham – were tight. But both seemed to perform in other high pressure situations.

    Of course, just my observations.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    As you know, I have always said that the tournament is all about matchups, momentum and luck. KU had a really bad matchup inside that was the main difference and our shooter missed wide open outside shots that they routinely made at a high clip before. If you look at the shooting stats, they are way below the season average. The inside matchup was, in my opinion, the main factor.

  • I do think Jackson certainly played tight. Maybe I need to rewatch the game. I don’t remember a particularly egregious foul call on Josh.

    Certainly KU missed a lot of threes again, the worst performance of the year by far. Which…happens, but it sucks when it happens in the tournament multiple times.

    I very much do agree about Lucas though, he was outmatched.

  • @BShark Jackson got two quick fouls. Second one totally bogus.

    @JayhawkFanToo - Inside was the killer. We’re more thin to start this season. Doke is out sick today and Preston has knee soreness. It’s Lightfoot. And more Lightfoot.

  • @HighEliteMajor We are thinner- we don’t have Coleby. But what we have is better than last year.

  • @HighEliteMajor DG was definitely tight in the NC game (3 points, all free throws). If you rewatch it, he passed up several open shots he normally took all season long. Bell blocked a couple of shots and all of a sudden he grew to 8ft in our players minds. They were terrified of him. It is why JJ was a super inefficent 3-8 from the field. If those two guys have a normal scoring night we win by 2.

  • @BShark

    Fouls 2 and 4 on Jackson were awful, awful calls.


    We tried to matchup with Lucas, but Bell absolutely demolished him, which allowed Bell to basically play free safety on defense and control the lane. It was the thing I feared most about Lucas being our default 5 man - a quick athletic player dominating that matchup in a way that shifted the tenor of the game. KU really needed to go 5 out against Oregon to force Bell to guard either Jackson, Vick or Svi (probably Svi) offensively, meaning that the lane opens up because he has to stay on the perimeter with Svi.

    It would have been a very non-traditional look, but it would have given Frank, DG and Josh a chance to attack the rim without having Bell consuming everything in the lane (I swear he had more than the 8 blocks he got credit for). Play Lucas only with Bell off the floor, otherwise the matchups just don’t work.

  • @justanotherfan I haven’t re-watched the game but normally when a player comes off his man for the block he leaves his man (LL in this case) wide open for the dunk. Why weren’t our guards feeding him instead of forcing the shot?

  • @Barney All year long there had been a problem with LL fumbling those quick dumps in the lane. I think that might have happened in the Oregon game early, but it all blends together in the brain and makes me want to reach for a bottle of something strong…

  • @mayjay all game long… I yelled don’t throw it to him!

  • @Barney

    Normally this is true, but as @mayjay mentions, Lucas had issues with mishandling those quick passes. Remember, LL was a catch and gather guy.

    Check out video above at 0:44. It happens quick, but he catches the entry and you very quickly see him have to pull the ball towards his body for control, then go up to finish the layup.Two things about that play. One, he has to catch and gather, which takes an extra moment (giving a defender a chance to recover). Two, he finishes with a layup rather than a dunk, which a quick, active defender like Bell can still block or bother.

    Towards the end of the video (1:49 or so) there’s a couple more examples of Landen having to pull the ball in towards his body to gather before exploding up. For a good shotblocker, that gives them a chance to time out the jump and block the shot. Landen was very good on lobs (the highlights have tons of finishes with him catching lobs), but if you took away the lob, because he couldn’t catch, gather and explode quickly, he was effectively neutralized. Oregon took that away, leaving us playing 4 on 5 offensively.

    The hope, from a guard’s standpoint, was that if you could get the shots on the rim, Landen could get the stickback dunk when Bell left him unguarded. Again, watching his highlight, Landen is more than capable of getting the putback dunk with no problem. Unfortunately, a lot of those shots never made it to the rim.

  • @justanotherfan I think our guards have proved enough over the past several years that it is hard to shoot over a shot blocker when you drive in the lane. I thought they would see not to do that after getting dismantled by Kentucky a few years ago but instead made Bell look like Olajuwon. Did anyone try at least one shot fake to throw Bell off? I dont remember that in either game. People treated Bob Knight like he was a stupid fool for bringing up the shot fake during the games but he is absolutely correct - the shot fake is woefully underutilized.

    Would have been nice to see anyone drive the lane, jump stop then shot fake on Bell. No harm in trying it.

  • @justanotherfan Good thoughts, thanks! On the other hand throwing up shot after shot didn’t work except to make Bell look like Ewing. A pull-up jumper might have been a good choice also. I realize we are analyzing months after the game (hindsight…). I know everyone here was as frustrated as I was seeing the team play so poorly.

  • @HawkChamp Knight might have been a jerk and didn’t do his homework about players when working the games as a commentator, but he did understand the game and saw the little things live that most of us miss.

  • Jordan Bell was a steal for the Warriors. Crazy.

  • Lots of great reading. I’ve become even more convinced that Billy will be a huge key to where our season goes. My gut on him… he is one of the most-competitive players we’ve had in years in the post.

    He’s going to be a guy that develops in waves. He brings in great tools, just has to be able to apply it to the standards and speed of D1.

    Should be extremely exciting! Probably best that the pressure is on him. Guys built at that level of competitiveness usually do best to be pushed with pressure. I’m thinking we will all be a bit nervous with his play, and then some time in Jan-Feb he will make a huge leap. Suddenly he “gets it” for some aspects of the game.

    One thing he has to be careful with… he MUST multitask at a high level. Translated… that means… he can’t be in a game focusing on his scoring, setting screens or blocking shots so gives up putting his energy into rebounding.

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