• Our man Tait, over at KUSports has posted a story on our 3-point proficiency to date. And while Matt isn’t quite the stat-grinder Jesse is, we appreciate his efforts in shining the light away from emotional views to hard facts. Thank you, Matt!

    The season has played out long enough now that we can look at hard numbers and form a strategy around them. Might players play up or down as the season progress? Yes, of course… but then it is good to factor in recent games to estimate future proficiency. Players (and teams) go hot and cold… that’s what Las Vegas counts on… there is enough variance in the game to keep things unpredictable around their point spreads, creating a 50/50 jump ball where they net 10% on the overall wash.

    If we look at the general picture now we can form some general ideas for moving forward. I took a look at individual proficiencies and came up with the following.

    One thing is for sure… Tharpe needs to be popping more 3s! He is at 43.75% from 3! We would need a 2-pt FG% of 70% to match his proficiency from 3!

    We are going to win a lot of games if we can have Tharpe shooting more 3s! The sample size on Greene and Frankamp are small… but what we have on them doesn’t show near the proficiency of Tharpe! One issue with Greene and Frankamp, they have a reputation for shooting the long ball, and they feel the heat to shoot it when they can. That puts a bit more pressure on them to nail the shot and take the shot when defenses are close enough to distract their release. Tharpe tends to be very selective on his 3s and only takes them when he is wide open. However… in recent games, where Tharpe owns the high point stat, he showed his ability of creating his own 3-pt shooting space off the dribble. We need more of that!

    The only part of Wiggins’ game where he is truly proficient is from the FT line. His 3-pt and 2-pt offense appears to be holding us back because it is below the team averages. Granted, he helps create offense for others by drawing over defense, but not much as he only has 39 assists for the year.

    Wiggins needs to lift his offensive game now! He is really starting to hold us back!

    Selden’s numbers are slightly higher. Not earth-shattering, but slightly higher.

    Looking at individual proficiency tells us everything. If you get away from team numbers and look at individual numbers… our post guys need to be getting the ball a lot more and taking the shots… not throwing the ball back out. The one exception is our need for post players to throw the ball out to Tharpe to take the 3! This can’t be stressed enough! Embiid’s numbers stick out the most. He has 61.2% FG proficiency in the post!

    Another guy that sticks out in the positive is Traylor. He doesn’t score a lot, but he needs to shoot more when he is on the floor. He is averaging about 15 minutes a game… enough to make an impact.

    From the stat line we can draw conclusions on who needs to shoot the ball more, and who needs to shoot the ball less… it goes like this:

    MORE SHOOTING (in order of importance):

    Tharpe (3s)

    Traylor (2s)

    Embiid (2s)

    Ellis (2s)

    LESS SHOOTING (in order of importance):

    Mason (3s and 2s)

    Wiggins (3s and 2s)

    Selden (3s and 2s) is about a wash…

    This doesn’t factor in fouls and FT proficiency. This has been the one saving grace for Wiggins’ game. If we factor it in, he’s probably just holding his own and not adding any advantage for us. It’s not like he isn’t producing… he just can’t match the production we have in the post, and Tharpe on his 3s. And since our defense has issues, we need as much offense as we can muster.

    Our offensive numbers on the whole are good enough to win another NC. Our rebounding is also strong… helping give us more possessions. What really kills us is TOs. I don’t have the total stats on TOs, but what I do have is enough of a look to question the possibility of this team being a real contender in March. Our freshmen are leading the way in that department:

    Worst at TOs (in order):




    The 3 have combined for 161 TOs in 24 games! That is 6.7 TOs per game from just 3 players.

    But wait… there is more… There is one statistical area that explains why this team isn’t undefeated at 24-0. Defense! Our defense gives up 70.1 ppg… ranked 176th in the nation! Our 3-pt defense gives up 34.5%, 189th in the nation!

    And last… we foul a lot. Bad defenses tend to foul. We’ve committed 508 fouls in 24 games. That is over 21 fouls a game! Way, way too high for a team to contend in March. We’ve actually been lucky in this area, that the teams we have played only average a paltry 66.5% proficiency at the line. I wouldn’t count on that number staying that low in March, especially after advancing into higher rounds.

    I’m certain we will not change strategies to slow down Wiggins’ shooting quantity. We are betting on him lifting his game and carrying this team. We don’t want to reduce his game to the point of being a non-factor. But… he needs to find a way to lift his game NOW! He needs to stop taking forced shots and he needs to look for ways to create open looks for himself. That is the method that will lift his %s… and if we can lift his %s, we will be a much harder team to beat in March!

    All of our stat issues will clear up if this team learns how to hustle for 40 minutes, and stay focused, too. The focus and hustle will reduce our TOs, help individuals play better individual and team defense, and will create better scoring opportunities that will help players like Wiggins lift his %s. The focus and hustle will help our freshmen play more like sophomores.

    To stand any chance in March, our freshmen will have to play like sophomores! It is as simple as that. They need to reduce their TOs, reduce their fouls, and play with more directed intensity, especially on defense.

    Tharpe has solid stats this year. But he now must take a stronger role in leadership. He has to be the leader in every game that stays on our freshmen to focus and hustle. That is the one thing that has to happen from here on out. Someone has to push our freshmen when they miss a shot and get down and out. Someone has to push our freshmen when they turn the ball over to suck it up and focus better.

    Our 3-pt defense is our biggest deficiency. There is an easy solution for fixing this. We need to go on the offense! Off of rebounds and even off inbounds after a basket, this team needs to push the pace for an open court basket! Funny how we have several of the best open court finishers in college basketball, but we rarely get the game into the open court! Embiid is the best ball outlet player in D1, and has the potential to be the best of all times with his outlet. If we score a few easy baskets, opposing perimeter players feel the heat to get back and defend. This is one huge distraction away from them hitting 3s. We score a big big win-win by pushing the basketball! Up until now, this part of our game has been a very big disappointment and our best area of opportunity that we have almost completely abandoned!

    If Wiggins wants to find an easy way to lift his stats he’ll get out in the open court and then take it hard to the rim! Push the ball, Jayhawks!

    Pushing open court offense takes high energy. High energy requires optimism and confidence. Clearly… this team lacks optimism and confidence!

    We are not far away from being a real contender. This team with a healthy Joel and the right energy and focus will challenge the best in D1!

    We are coming down the stretch in the final 1/3 of the season. Now is the time to make our move. Revitalize our strategy and we have several important games to work out the bugs. The opportunity is there… we just need leadership and the right plan of attack!


    We have the depth to run any team in the nation right out of the gym!

    Rock Chalk!

  • From Sports Illustrated article Tuesday that confirms some of what you’ve gone over above.

    Posted February 11, 2014

    ##Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins can thrive if he stays aggressive##

    By Brian Hamilton

    Andrew Wiggins seems to be at his best when playing aggressively, and the Jayhawks will need him at his best with Joel Embiid out.

    The ball flipped into his palms Monday night, Andrew Wiggins put his head down and set course for the rim. There appeared to be no consideration of another option. He may be the most scrutinized freshman in the nation, but there was no over-analyzing this. Kansas needed a game-tying basket, and Wiggins would try to provide it.

    His first attempt to do so rimmed out. So Wiggins landed, hit reverse and in a bolt of athleticism used spring-loaded legs to get a hand on the miss and tip it back in. The Jayhawks had their tie game and a chance to win in overtime, which they ultimately let slip in an 85-82 loss before a relieved Kansas State crowd. But Kansas had a chance because Andrew Wiggins decided to give his team one, and it’s clear by now there’s no harm in the Jayhawks demanding more of that.

    Though there are exceptions, Wiggins appears at his most efficient when he revs up the aggressiveness, even by a small amount. Given the revelation that fellow freshman Joel Embiid has succumbed to a bit of wear and tear and may be the Big 12’s most valued spectator for a stretch, an assertive Wiggins might keep the Jayhawks humming in the stretch run to a league title.

    Wiggins has been consistently involved on offense, but he hasn’t been consistently productive. His willingness to command shots hasn’t wavered much since the start of Big 12 play, with a shot percentage that ranged between 20 and 30 percent in nine of 11 league games so far.

    Meanwhile, his effective field goal percentage, a measure that takes into account success (or failure) from three-point range, has been up and down. That figure has soared as high as 75 percent against Iowa State on Jan. 29 before plunging to 20.8 percent in the next game, at Texas on Feb. 1. But a correlation between Wiggins’ willingness to be even slightly more selfish, and the offensive efficacy that follows, has become clear.

    On Jan. 25 against TCU, Wiggins posted a shot percentage of 30.0 and an effective field goal percentage of 69.2. Next came that Jan. 29 Iowa State game and a shot percentage of 30.3 to go with that blistering shooting performance, both bests in Big 12 play thus far.

    Conversely, there was the league opener in which Wiggins’ shot percentage was 23.4 and his effective shooting rate just 22.2. The cellar floor was the Jan. 18 Oklahoma State game in which he had a shot percentage of 16.5 and an effective field goal rate of 30. There are of course exceptions – on Jan. 20, Wiggins had a shot rate of just 18.3 but 50 percent effectiveness from the floor – and this could be simply explained as Wiggins appraising how he feels and shooting more when he feels good.

    But then there was the Jan. 13 game at Iowa State, when the Cyclones were running at full gale force. Before it, Wiggins’ father challenged him to attack the glass. Gauging Wiggins’ body language and approach courtside, the result seemed to be a loose and assertive player from the start, no feeling-out period needed or wanted. And the result of that: 17 points and 19 rebounds and a propulsive Kansas win.

    Even his last two games should underscore for Wiggins what makes him most lethal: He’s 10-of-19 on two-point shots and 0-for-7 from long range while attempting double-digit free throws in each.

    No one should lambaste Wiggins for working within the flow of the team, which he appears to do predominantly, given his consistent share of shots taken game to game. But he looks better, or at least more efficient, when he’s on the attack, and Kansas certainly would benefit from that if Embiid’s injuries last until March at one level or another. Wiggins’ track record in Big 12 play and the last two games suggest he’s up for it. If Bill Self isn’t prodding his prized freshman forward for a little more yet, it might be time to consider it.

  • @drgnslayr Extremely convincing post! I was about halfway through and was thinking “yeah, but we need more transition offense to get Wiggins untracked” and right then you added several paragraphs about open court offense. I really liked the part about transition offense being a good way to defend against 3-point shots; that would be a great subject for some heavy Newell analysis.

    Definitely on my short list of best posts ever, despite the competition from all your other posts 😉

  • @drgnslayr Slayr, tho not vitriolic, you are joining HEM more than somewhat in your take on Andrew Wiggins. I still am positioned back a few cars in this 2/3 race lap, but I think you guys are right on track. Andrew has felt his way along without a great deal of heat, most probably, to this stage of the season. Almost every game he exhibits some mindboggling maneuvers which shriek to Jayhawk Fandom, “More is quite possible, what with increased assertiveness!” HEM recently focused esp. on Andrew’s low assist total. When he attacks the paint he appears rarely if ever to fathom pitching the ball off to an open teammate. He appears to be in need of constant proddings. As I recently posted elsewhere, Dad says Log some rebounds. Shazam! High school coach says, Avoid those finger rolls and attack the rim. Shazam! AW’s passivity is a puzzle, considering his capabilities and constant array of gametime challenges. Yet, his late minute half time or endofgame maneuverings have elevated the play of this team and its opportunities to log victories on several occasions. His defense is usually outstanding…an area where he seems to meet challenges unquestionably. All that said, the squad and season are now at a point wherein ANDREW WIGGINS MUST STEP UP. Otherwise, dreams for a Final Four run likely will soon flush down the gutter.

  • Transition offense requires each of the following as predicates:

    1. defending well enough to force bad shots and misses;

    2. pressuring enough to get steals;

    3. rebounding with at most two players, releasing the rest and quick release passes.

    Mastering the obvious, these things cannot happen until our players learn to play pressure, team defense, jump in passing lanes, and rebound.

    I suspect our perimeter defenders cannot play pressure defense at the level of Self Defenses of the past, because they have not had to practice against guys that knew how to play pressure, team defense. They do not yet understand yet that pressure, team defense is the only way for them to keep from being punching bags. When you are in another man’s jock strap from the beginning of the possession to the end, an offender is worrying to much about how to move the ball to start cheap shotting you every ten seconds. And when you are in an offenders jock strap from the beginning to the end of the possession, you can, at any moment, dish out punishment that is very, very hard for a referee to see, when your man is between you and the referee. The stiff screen as slayr and ralster like to call it, are best delivered when you are up close and personal with the offender.

    Our young players have plenty of ability to play pressure, team defense, but they have not yet connected the punkings they are taking with their lack of playing such aggressive defense.

    If any of them and their joints survive long enough to make this mental connection between pressure, team defense and ceasing to be punching bags, they will embrace it fully and swiftly and with a vengeance. But so far, their young brains do not seem to get it.

  • I have mentioned a couple of time before that in the last few games Tharpe has been passing wide open 3s and taking instead short floaters from the paint; maybe he is taking the advice to drive more too much at heart.

    Teams that play man to man will always commit more fouls, particularly with the new contact rules. With the current rules, RussRob and Releford, arguably the best lock down defenders we have had in recent years would have fouled out in the first 10 minutes. The team is still trying to figure out how to play tough man to man defense, Coach Self’s preferred system, without fouling out; because of his freakish athleticism, Wiggins seems to be the only one that is playing tough defense outside without excessive fouling.

    As I also mentioned in another post, Wiggins is going to have, sooner or later…hopefully the former, a breakthrough finishing at the rim and his shooting percentage will go up; he might not be getting field goals but he is going to the line consistently from where he is very good…except the Kansas State game.

  • I’m pro-Wiggins… but we are reaching a point in the season when we either have to see him as a constant plus on offense… or we need to start tethering his game.

    I know he is nothing like Selby… but Selby was a top recruit that we gave him too much leash (and PT) down the stretch in March, and he cost us… most likely a National Championship!

    Everything else about Wiggins is totally different from Selby. But the part where he was untethered down the stretch seems to be the same situation here.

    No one really should get a completely unregulated “green light.” And just because Wiggins is one of the very best pro prospects in the nation, it doesn’t mean his game takes precedence over everyone else on the team… especially now that we have 2/3 of a season done and plenty of stats to show who is winning games for us.

    I don’t think we would even be hashing this out if the guys would just learn to push the tempo into an open court game. We would murder every team in America!

    Teams can try and stop our open court game… heck… they can have two perimeter guys always get back. Here is where we maximize the use of Wiggins. Give him the “green light +” in the open court to finish on two guys! In the least he’ll get fouled. We’ll dominate the game because we are virtually limiting two of our oppositions perimeter offensive players!

    We can even get several breaks on in-bounds after a score. Train our post players to hustle for the ball the second it goes through the net… half the time they should catch the ball right out of the net, and in the same motion be pivoting towards our goal while backing up out of bounds. Then we have someone like Selden pull over towards the half court sidelines to receive a quick inlet pass. Then he is looking for Wiggins or Tharpe. Or actually, any of these guys can be hit for the pass to go.

    Gosh… we see other teams do it every day… why can’t we? The best open court team in America? That is us! I mean… that SHOULD be us!

    Having a good open court team covers up a lot of weaknesses… we only have to think back to Roy’s teams to recall that.

    This is something we can do right now and change the tone of this season. We need to do something because it is hard to imagine our current team in their current form of play going on a six game run in March. Plus… this is something we should have been doing all along!

    It’s time we start taking advantage of our speed, athleticism and bench!

    Let’s ask for Jesse’s help. Hey Jesse… how well do teams (on average) shoot the 3 when they are playing open court teams that are pushing the ball? Imagine by the end of the game… how tired their guards must be after hustling back on every possession?

    The really great part of all of this is… it doesn’t require the heavy learning curve and discipline that playing solid defense requires. We have been improving our defense… but this team is not going to match previous teams… like '08! But within a few weeks this team could be the best open court team Self has ever had!

    Get’ur shoes on, boys! Lets go for a run!

  • @drgnslayr " but Selby was a top recruit that we gave him too much leash (and PT) down the stretch in March, and he cost us… most likely a National Championship!"

    Whoa! First I’ve ever heard that opinion. I would strongly disagree. What cost us a National Championship more than anything was B-Star & Tyrel Reed playing a combined 66 minutes against VCU and shooting a combined 2-16, 1-10 on three pointers. Yes it’s true Selby did not avail himself much better, but he only played 15 minutes, and certainly wasn’t any worse than those two!

    As far as PT down the stretch, again there was 15 minutes against VCU, 17 minutes against Richmond, 10 minutes against Illinois, & 15 minutes against Boston. Those are the NCAA tournament games. In the Big 12 tournament he got 7 minutes against Texas, 11 minutes against Colorado, & 11 minutes against Okie St. To close out the season, he played 7 minutes against Misery & 11 minutes against A&M. That was Selby’s March. Hardly seems like he was getting too much PT.

    Also not sure I would ever consider him “untethered” down the stretch. In none of those games did he take an inordinate amount of shots, and to the best of my recollection I don’t recall him playing outside the offense, so to speak. I think Self tried some things to get him back on track following his injury, but I wouldn’t characterize that as having too much leash.

  • @icthawkfan316

    I recall Selby being a dud in the tourney. He went 1for5 in those 15 minutes against VCU and just wasn’t in the flow on both sides of the court. I liked Selby… but what did he offer us in March? You are right… there were plenty of guys to blame in the VCU game… Reed, Morningstar were throwing up bricks, and Kieff seemed to throw the ball more to VCU than back to his teammates.

    I thought it was a mistake to give Selby any minutes in March. He was recovering and it wasn’t a time to reintegrate him for any substantial minutes and let him do what he wanted. His play was disruptive to our flow.

    He always had the green light when he walked on the court. He made mistakes constantly and didn’t face the typical freshman wrath dished out by Self. In Selfball I consider that “untethered.”

    Wiggins has been the same. He has received an earful now and then… but if he was a typical freshman he would have been yanked many more times… by now it probably would have done him some good.

    We’ve discussed this in here quite a bit. Giving players the carrot or the whip. It’s time to whip down a bit on Wiggins. I would restrict him from shooting 3s. It is ridiculous that a player of his athletic talent has to settle for 3s, and then shoot a poor %. His defense is improving… but his offense is pretty rough… definitely too rough to just let him toss up a bunch of dud 3s. He can do better than that, and Self has to demand it now. For a guy with so many minutes of PT, and basically touching the ball on every possession… he’s only thrown 39 assists this year. That doesn’t say much for a guy in his position at KU. There is several ways for a player to create offense, including opening it up for other players and getting assists.

    I’m not sure I’d lay all the blame on Wiggins for his poor shooting. He doesn’t seem to be improving his toolbox much this year. Seems our coaches should have helped him with his toolbox. Compare his offense to someone like Jabari Parker. Parker has a way to score in every situation, and with half the athleticism. I expected Andrew to make up some of that gap this year, but he isn’t showing us a lot more tools. We can’t just let him go on like this and toss up 0-for-4 from 3 every game (or worse).

    But as I said above. Maybe just forget all this. We aren’t going to reconstruct Rome in the next 30 days!

    Send these guys into the open court and lets see what happens!

  • @drgnslayr Well I would certainly entertain the idea that he shouldn’t have been given any minutes. Again, I just think it was a gross misplacement of blame to say he cost us a National Championship.

    I would even entertain the idea that having Selby on the team, period, was a detriment. I’m someone who is very sympathetic to Josh Selby and his time here. Had it not been for the suspension I think he might have grabbed the starting PG job out of the gate. Instead Tyshawn inherited it. Selby comes back and Self has him playing off the ball, which was not his natural position. Then he gets hurt. He tries to come back but it was obvious he was not the same (sound like Joel maybe?). So I don’t blame him for the way his brief KU career turned out, nor do I blame him for the VCU loss. However, if you remove him from the situation entirely, I think things might have been different. Tyshawn certainly played worse once Selby became eligible; no doubt looking over his shoulder so to speak. And without Selby maybe Self develops EJ earlier and plays him more minutes (although I doubt it. Given the fact that he could get by with Tyshawn, BStar, Reed, & Mario Little, I can’t see EJ getting too many more minutes).

  • It’s all behind us now… my comment was too harsh on Selby. He just didn’t offer us that NC everyone thought he would. Even without his delayed start or injury… he wasn’t going to be our savior. I think that is the connection to where we are with Wiggins.

    But I’d be willing to rethink my position if we could get this team to play open court basketball! That’s the game Wiggins already knows and can use his natural athletic ability to shine. He should be able to score on about any two guards out there in the open court.

    He would definitely have the scoring space he needs in the paint to finish at the rim!

    What do you think, ICT? We keep crunching down on these freshmen to learn all this “Selfball” in the next 30 days? Or we have them do what they (no doubt) did all through high school? Run and gun! Open court basketball! It was the method they used to build huge stats that made them MackeyD’s All Americans!

    I bet they would get excited to play games again! I bet they would bring tons of energy to games! I bet they would bring big time smiles with them! I bet we would win some games and for the first time this year, really DOMINATE teams!

    Who have we really dominated so far?

  • @drgnslayr I would agree that Wiggins is largely “untethered”. Self does seem to treat his “star” freshman different than the less-heralded ones. Perhaps it’s Self’s thinking that he needs to be more lax with them for fear of striking out on the recruiting trail in the future. That if he’s hard on Wiggins, the Caliparis of the game will be in every blue chipper’s house saying “look at Self berating his best player! Benching him for lesser talent. That’s the risk you take sending your son to KU”. We’ve talked a lot here lately about who should come back and hating the OAD rule and whatnot, but make no mistake - Self is all in on trying to get the most talented kids in the country. Perhaps it was losing to a OAD-loaded Kentucky roster in the title game the same year he had a razor thin bench, but whatever the case this seems the direction the program is headed, at least in the immediate future.

    As far as wanting to get this team to play open court basketball, I don’t see that happening. I would like to see it happen, but I doubt it does. First, something HEM has brought up numerous times over the years is that instead of having a designated person throw the ball in after a made basket, just have the person closest to the ball grab it, get it in, and start pushing.

    However, that is just a small part of it. Running & gunning needs to mostly come off of defensive stops. Off the rebound or by creating turnovers. This team doesn’t create many turnovers. I don’t know exactly why; Selden & Wiggins are both plus defenders, but we don’t have that “disruptor”. Wiggins & Selden are the RussRob & BRush of this team - the premier on-ball defenders, but there is no Chalmers on this squad. No one eyeing the passing lanes or coming up behind a post player on the baseline waiting to poke the ball loose.

    So without many turnovers, you’re left to try and get out in the open off of opponents’ misses. And certainly there are ways to do that. We could try rebounding with only two post players and sending the wings up the court. But I suspect that would go against most everything Self holds dear. To send players up the court would mean abandoning their man, their man who is now wide open on any offensive rebounds. Self is all about the M2M defense, making it as tough for the opponent to score points as possible. I have a hard time seeing him embrace such a stategy, especially because I don’t think we are a great rebounding team. There’s probably many other ways to do create an up-tempo open floor game, but that’s the simplest way I can think of on defense.

    (scrolling back up I just realized Jaybate covered these three points much more succinctly than I did!)

    The other reason I don’t see it happening is because this team is so young, I don’t think that you are solely playing for this year. You are playing for next year, and the year after that with many of these guys. I don’t think Self wants anyone to think there is an “out” to playing the game his way. No excuses.

    I love Self, but we have the horses to be just a tad more Roy Williams this year.

  • @icthawkfan316

    It’s been nice having this one-on-one discussion… it has been a while!

    You make excellent points.

    The open court game could backfire, too. It could weaken our defense, and it could speed up our half court offense (which is doing fairly well now).

    I just hate to see players like Wiggins not being utilized for what he is good at.

    Self doesn’t really showcase most OADs. The exception could be Embiid. These guys need a lot more than just being untethered. They need some direction and a pathway to bring their unique skills into play.

    I really thought Andrew would have more tools than he had when coming to KU. I thought he would play more like Jabari Parker, but at a much higher athletic level. I don’t understand what he thinks he is going to do next year in the league?

    Back to the open court game… thinking on the positive side… It isn’t necessary that we completely go “all in” on open court basketball. But if we could at least get some quick breaks now and then, we would force teams to keep it in their minds, and hopefully disturb their offensive flow.

    I’m not even sure we really need to send our wings ahead of the rebounds. Sometimes, you catch a guy who gets a rebound, and just dribbles hard down the court on his own fast break.

    The key is to just get it down in scoring position before the defense is set. Even if there is one or two guys back, it is still a bigger space to attack from, even if it is just one guy or two.

    I’d like to see the tempo change if for no other reason to see if we can get our guys to speed up their motors. We seem to play way too laid back. I can’t imagine we could lose if all our guys were really working up a sweat. I always check out who is perspiring during timeouts and free throws… any time the game stops and the cameras zoom in on players. Who is breathing hard? Really hard?

    There is a difference between being tired at the end of the game, and having to catch your breath during the game because you’ve been running hard. I rarely see our guys really exhaust themselves. Actually… when I think of it, Wiggins is usually the guy I see sweating and breathing hard!

    It has been such a frustrating year. We’ve seen improvements, for sure… but it doesn’t seem we’ve ever really had that team break-out game. Where we can see a light bulb go off on the whole team. Where we really deliver a total beat down. We just seem to coast through games. You know as well as I do that we need more than that in March.

    I’m hoping we can outlast Wichita State this year, but I have to be honest… I just don’t see it happening yet! I see the potential as I always do in Jayhawk teams… but I’m not feeling optimistic so far.

  • Slayr and ict, PHOF xchange.

    Self is moving where we are all thinking he should already, but he is moving a few pieces at a time, chess style. It is taking him a few games to move the pieces, and injuries are getting in the way, but he has the depth to keep moving.

    Start with my post about more pressure defense with two-man rebounding and disruption. (Note: Wigs and Selden are being asked to guard hard now and it is taxing their energy budgets and killing their shooting percentages, BUT they will play into better shape soon. Wigs has been moved to more 2 position to wean the team off his rebounding to get him positioned for more transition shortly. Perry’s boards went sharply up vs KSU. But Embiid’s and Black’s injuries crimped two man rebounding. Lastly, Greene is being inserted now for his disruption, rather than his trey.)

    Add more Wig and Selden in transition. (Note: this was supposed to happen vs. KSU, but Embiid’s and Black’s injuries and Traylor’s suspension and Selden’s down game killed the two-man rebounding scheme and so Wigs had to play more 3, look to glass vac more, and release less.)

    Add more secondary break. (Note Tarick’s and Perry’s two secondary break baskets vs KSU.)

    Add more treys from Tharpe. (Note: Tharpe has been triggering more and Frankamp suddenly sees more PG backup PT for still more trey shooting from PG.)

    The trick of course is doing all of the above chess moves, while holding down the TO’s.

    Basketball, unlike war, is always a cyclic oscillation between defense and offense, i.e., the rules don’t permit staying on offense even if you can. In basketball, all offensive action necessarily starts with defense. You can choose to play good or bad defense, but you must be on defense.

    Self, like Iba with team defense, then Allen and Harp with Pressure defense, then Wooden with 3/4 court pressure defense, says play great defense to get lower opponent FG% and steal more scoring opportunities.

    Once you do that hurry up the floor and score the quickest, highest percentage shot possible, so that you can get back on defense and steal another possession; this is the Phog Allen, Dean Smith, Larry Brown, Roy Williams part of the game.

    Put these two parts of the game together and add play it any way and any tempo you want and you have Haskins, Knight, Sutton, Hartman, Coach K, and Self.

    Self is trying to fit the pieces together with sapling Freshman and green sophomores.

    It is taking time.

    But the tumblers unlocking a teamare apt to click in 2-3 weeks, when the NCAA TOURNEY ARRIVES!

    Remember all analysis has two steps. First, you break things down to see which parts of the car needs repair and/or tuning up to make it fast. This part we did in the above exchanges. But the second step is just as vital. Reassemble ALL the pieces. Rock Chalk!

  • Not that stats tell all of the story but worth noting is Wiggins leads the team in plus minus. Followed by Embiid and Ellis. All 3 in 10 to 15 range. Selden is 22 and surprisingly Tharpe is last on team at 30. Numbers reference big 12 ranking.

  • Regarding Selby: The ONLY thing I will ever be critical of Josh Selby was his decision to go pro as an unproven commodity. Should have returned for 1 more year & used KU’s free publicity to enhance his draft stock! Prove the doubters wrong! If he played at KU a whole 2nd season like he did in the NBA summer league 3 mos after leaving KU, he would have been taken 1st round. He needed to prove the doubters wrong, but gave up the chance. His KU “season” has a huge, huge asterisk by it due to NCAA suspension, and 2 injuries. Did you know both he and Reed battled the same foot microfracture throughout Feb+March+April, and Self actually flew both of them together, along with Hinson to some super subspecialist in N.Carolina in Feb of that year? Tyrel Reed speaks very highly of Selby, and how Selby is truly “misunderstood” & thrown under the bus by many KU fans.

    Regarding the VCU loss: one more time --> Tyshawn + Marcus came to play (check their stats), while Markieff (6 t.o.'s) and Reed (1-7 treys), had games they would like to forget. Water under the bridge. Team loss, still, as we magically forgot how to play Self-level defense, also. I recall Selby stuck in late game, one of the only shooters KU had with any cojones left to attempt a couple of 3s…

    Summary on Josh Selby: Never got to show KU fans and the NBA scouts that he truly was a 6’2 version of Sherron Collins. Now he toils in China.

    Regarding WIGGINS: Drawing fouls is a KEY element of aggressive offense, as it shows up by keeping opposing key players on the bench, etc…one of the many little things that add up and can matter in a game’s final 10minutes. Look at the heavy pressure put on opposing teams by Tyshawn ordered by Self to “drive it!”. He LIVED at the FT line, and Self pointed that out the following year to the not-inclined-to-attack Elijah. (When EJ did attack, he was marvelous…but he didnt share the same mentally aggressive personality as Sherron, Mario, Tyshawn, Josh…).

  • We can also analytically add that Tharpe’s “defensive” is absolutely killing us. I personally believe we lost the KSU game due to his lack of D.

    The reason I like Bill Self’s approach is, yes, I like razzle-dazzle offense and transition highlights…but I also love the half-court stuff we run. But defense is HUGE: basketball is played on 2 ends of the court, so you “gotta make the opponent ugly, and take low% shots, or rushed shots…”. We are better than Royball now. Those days are gone.
    This team needs to get with their coach’s program on 1] defense, and 2] intensity level x 40min.

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