4 OUT Small Ball

  • “For us, it would’ve been better had they played bigger because the game would’ve been a little slower,” said TSU coach Dana Ford. “We practiced the first four minutes of the game twice yesterday. But there was just not a lot that we could do. We paid for the Missouri game (on pay-per-view) and we even paid for the overseas exhibition they did (in Italy). We wasted a lot of money.”

    I saw lightening speed, crisp passing, drives to the basket, utilizing the 3 pointer to attack- simply a magnificent display of offense. We are simply a better team when we play 4 guards. Heck, we even had 5 guards on the floor for awhile ( hattrick to Jaybate for that prediction ). With our lack of front line depth, we have to conserve the bigs. The only downside was the 20 turnovers …I hope we can cut that in half, at least.

    Defensively, I thought we played very well. The tone was set early by Devonte with 2 consecutive steals early in the game that helped us bury them early. I would’ve liked to seen Doke get more rebounds than 6 - maybe Garrett can help him with that ( 10 boards).

    • Bummer about Preston not playing. He sure needs the minutes, and the actual game experience.

    • I’m not sure what to think about Newman not starting. If it was only about defense, how could you start Svi? It turned out ok, but if we’re going to get Garrett in the lineup, I would think a DG/Newman/Garrett/Vick/Doke lineup would be my preference. I love what Svi did in the game - he played worlds better than in the exhibition games. Still, the upside is with Newman. You get that guy going, and he can score 30 points. The quick hook on the bad pass to Doke was pretty hard core. His toughening box for Newman is pretty severe. I’m hoping Newman comes out with a chip on his shoulder, ready to play against 'Tucky. I would love for him to get on one of his streaks like he did in Italy.

    • What an amazing start to a season. We didn’t miss a shot until 8:23 left in the first half. I think we’re going to hand the Squid his arse on Tuesday. RCJHGKU.

  • @KUSTEVE Well I think if KU had another capable guard (say if Cunliffe were eligible even) Svi wouldn’t have started either. Self just had no choice. Svi OR Newman had to start. Seems like both of them got the message though so all is well on that front. Both were more engaged on D. Also Newman wasn’t out that long after the bad pass.

    With the turnovers it felt like a lot of them came when the team got a huge lead and started playing sloppy.

    Also, Graham out there fooling around with a triple double.

  • @BShark He probably went w Svi because of the experience factor. I think Garrett has played himself into full time rotation minutes right away. I think you and I were on his boat more than anyone. What I loved was 29 minutes with 1 turnover, with a double double. 10 boards. Geez Louise. People might disagree, but I think he’s the back up point guard. There isn’t much that he can’t do, and he plays with supreme poise.

  • @KUSTEVE All aboard the Garrett express.

  • I always take these victories with a grain of salt. Encouraging to see (actually I saw little) the team play well in many facets.

  • I said before and I will say it again, Garret can play PG and he will be the steal of this class. 😺

  • @JayHawkFanToo Here, here…you were on the Garrett train right along with Bshark and me.

  • I’m still not sure how much PG he plays (esp with Dotson coming on board) but he is a hell of a player and a good ball handler and passer.

  • Self was talking about playing faster and the guys delivered. This is obviously a very fast team, and we can run teams out of the gym. Garrett is a guy that is going to chop wood. Nice, consistent effort. Does things that are easily repeatable. He gets boards because he gives the effort and he is fundamental in his approach. And while I agree that @JayHawkFanToo said he’d be the steal of the class, someone is going to have clue me in on the meaning of that odd emoji. Is that a cat with a surprised expression? I need help.

    1. Doke the Debounder - @jaybate-1-0’s new term (my auto correct kept changing to debunker) will be coach-speak in a few years. 6? six? IV? IIIIII? No matter how you say it, that’s low, as @KUSTEVE mentioned above. A guy that big should just walk into 10 a night. He had 12 in the Duke game last season, but never more than 7. Interesting to watch. He had a great multi-pivot move midway through the first half, and seems natural with the ball in his hands, but to really run those points up, he needs some east O-boards and put-backs. Only had two O-boards last night.

    2. Billy the Bonehead - Immaturity ebbs and flows. But being a bonehead lasts a lifetime. Hard for us to fathom a guy in Preston’s spot missing a class and missing curfew with this much in front of him. Is it immaturity, or is it boneheadedness? Only one condition can really improve.

    3. Graham the Leader - Graham is not Mason. One game told us that. You can look back at Mason from last season and you won’t see a line like that – Mason never had double digit assists. Mason was a scorer first. Great team player, too. The best. Can’t hold anyone to that lofty standard. But Graham demonstrated a big, big thing in my mind last night – he’s a point guard. He did not press and try to score, to prove he’s the man. He was confident in his own skin, dishing so other’s benefitted. I was worried a bit about that. That demonstrated great leadership and a temperament that will greatly benefit this team. Don’t know if everyone saw what he said to Garrett before the game, “stay calm and live in the moment.” Great advice.

    4. Vick the Alpha Dog - I don’t see much deferring here. And in his spot, that’s exactly what we need. He’s a high flier, looks like his shot is continuing to improve, and he seems to hustle and work hard. I recall us being hot and heavy after Tevin Mack, I think. We got Vick and I think some were thinking he was a consolation prize An “either/or” deal. Am I recalling that correctly? Anyway, I’m glad it worked out this way.

    5. Newman the Enigma - Not stated as a negative, just demonstrating my ignorance of his game. I just don’t know what he is, or what he will be. He doesn’t seem to bounce out to me on the court. He is fast with the ball. I guess I say 'enigma" because we’ll need some time to fully grasp his game. I like how he gets to the rim in the open court. Does not strike me as a deliverer of the ball. Although he was 2-4 from 3, seems like a 36%er from behind the arc. Will he be ok if he’s not starting?

  • @HighEliteMajor KU was involved. Vick committed first. Vick was ranked higher on 247 but deep down only the staff knows who they preferred. Mack had a solid SO season at Texas developing before he knuckleheaded himself off the team.

  • @HighEliteMajor Music to my ears about Graham. I think he is better for the team than Frank. i know practically no one agrees with me on that, but the way the ball moved last night spoke volumes. DG did a brilliant job of setting up his teammates, and the tone he set on defense with the 2 early steals charged up the whole team.

  • Very good choice of words with Newman thus far. He does seem to be an enigma. He was SO highly recruited. Every major program in the country offered him a scholarship. He ended up choosing a Miss. St. team that felt right in his heart but ended up not being the place where his game could blossom. Perhaps too much pressure as a top 10 recruit meant to guide a sub par program to the next level? Hard to know but he certainly did not play like a to 10 guy in his freshman campaign and I am yet to see the top 10 player based on the eye test while in a KU uniform. I know that he was great in Italy but the level of competition was of the lowest form. Those were not real games.

    It will be interesting to see what he becomes and who he is as a player. He does not have the same attack mode or set of physical tools that JJ or Wiggins had as highly recruited forwards/guards but he has proven to be able to score at a similar elite level. Hopefully Newman can settle into his own game at KU. We will be our best if he is at his best and in the starting lineup. He has a ton of potential.

    I will be at the game in Chicago on Tuesday. Can’t wait to see how Malik and the rest of our guys stack up against 3 of the other best teams in the country. RCJH.

  • I have a hard time choosing my favorite KU point guard in the last 30 years. I’ve narrowed it down and if I eliminate Mario as a 2 guard then it’s easier…I still like Jacque Vaughn best. Frank Mason is a close second. I see Devonte’ Graham as a mashup of the two. He could quite possibly be the best point guard KU’s had in decades. He can shoot and distribute, looks to keep his team more involved. Always smiling which helps calm his team. He seems to be a natural leader!

  • @KUSTEVE DG proved he can shoot, go downhill, play D, set up his mates, rebound, all w/a smile on his face! He set up Frank and josh a great deal of his time last year. His interview was pretty touching at half time. His mom/family have done a wonderful job of raising him.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 He might be my favorite player of all time.

  • We were scary good for a large part of that first half last night. It was fun to see.

    Marcus might not have the same talent that JJ brought to the table last year but there is not another freshman who has come to KU more prepared to play then Garrett. He moves the ball constantly, he rebounds with effort and he knows exactly where to be on defense whether it’s hedging for help or squaring up on his man. It’s simply unheard of to see this type of contribution this early. Imagine if his outside shot starts going down. Beyond impressed

  • @BeddieKU23 we will see against Kentucky if Garrett’s game translates against athletic opponents. We won’t see 10 rebs again. Will be interesting.

  • approxinfinity said:

    @BeddieKU23 we will see against Kentucky if Garrett’s game translates against athletic opponents. We won’t see 10 rebs again. Will be interesting.

    I think translating to a game against higher level athletes is much more of a Svi problem than a Garrett problem.

    UK looks like poop, so hopefully we beat them…

  • KUSTEVE said:

    @JayHawkFanToo Here, here…you were on the Garrett train right along with Bshark and me.

    I was on that train way before it left the station as well.

  • Anyone else feel like Malik and Selby are similar. Self loves combo guards, guys that do everything good but not great. Sometimes that translates well(Chalmers) and sometimes it doesn’t.

    1. Doke - I’m looking for other signs from Doke… I’m looking at his conditioning (speed, energy). I’m looking at his foot movement. I’m looking at his ability to mesh with the team concerning timing, positioning, aggressiveness. I’m looking at his ability to finish with his back-to-the-basket. And last, I’m looking at his polish… soft touch at the FT line? Aggressive defense without fouling? Aggressive offense without fouling? Aggressive rebounding without fouling? I saw a big overall improvement in Doke’s play. He has a long ways to go, but at times, I could hardly tell that was him out there because he looks lighter and quicker. Let’s hope he keeps moving in this direction because he is improving QUICKLY!

    2. Billy - Wish he could have played, but Self did the right thing. Rules are rules. This isn’t high school any longer. I’m not worried about it. Billy will just do better when being push with discipline. He’s going to be an offensive beast for us and we really need his offense moving forward. I just hope he starts focusing more energy on defense and rebounding.

    3. Devonte - He did a great job in leading last night. He got his points, but didn’t make it about him. His high assist numbers are HUGE! We just need him to know that he can’t take off any nights like he did the past 3 years. And that also means… when the going gets tough, he has to stand and fight. Not back down. I’ve been saying for the last couple years that Devonte has the most upside and talent of any player on our team. Okay… he doesn’t have the size, reach, vertical etc… but he has brains, awareness and the ability to use deception on both offense and defense. No look passing, no look steals, etc etc etc. Devonte is like a magician and magician skills are always a great tool for a point guard, just ask Magic Johnson.

    4. Vick - Last night was the first time we really saw Vick start to cut loose. Self is doing a great job of bringing him along to use his athleticism and skills to execute winning plays. Vick just has to realize that being a star isn’t just about making the highlight plays. It’s about getting down in the trenches and doing the thankless work that rounds out the big stars’ stat sheets. I hope he takes on the responsibility to become a consistent high scorer. Vick needs to play a little more cautious when trying to finish at the rim. He charges in at high speed and with a high vertical. One mishap and his season is over with an injury. He isn’t built like Frank Mason… who could be a great football running back.

    5. Malik is very skilled. He just needs to continue to listen to his coaches to learn how to do ALL of the things he needs to do to help his team. His ability to drive and finish at the rim is crucial to our success. He is the closest thing we have to Frank Mason… and we are missing all of his finishes at the rim and free points from the FT line. Over time, Self will find more ways to draw Malik into more offense. Since we often run 4 guards and 1 big, there is all kinds of room to drive the paint. And with our threat from trey, defending guards will have to play us tight on the perimeter. Malik couldn’t ask for a better situation to be in. And if he warms up from trey, he forces defenders to play him tight, giving him opportunities to get his shoulders past them on drives. I’m not too worried about Malik. He’s going to look better and better as the season progresses.

    6. Marcus - What a great surprise! I think most of us knew he brought a lot of talent with him to Lawrence. What has been so surprising is his early poise. He doesn’t seem to play like a freshmen… but let’s see how he does against Kentucky… Big 12 play on the road… March Madness. His defense is solid and can still improve considerably. Over time, I hope he picks up some of Devonte’s deceptions… and he learns a bit more about defensive hedging… something not taught at Kansas. I’m excited we should have Marcus for probably 4 years!

  • Crisp tune up.

    Going short this morning, like the Team went short last night with short bench. No redactions.

    Name-pun distillate preceded by trending icon.

    🔺🔺 Dishonte Graham

    🔺🔺🔺LaDagger Vick

    🔺Malik Enigman

    🔴Debounder Azuibuke

    🔺🔺Marcus Gluerret

    🔺Svi Treykailic

    🔴Mitchell Blendfoot

    🔻🔻Billy Nextyear

    “Haiku for Game”

    Garrett playing now

    Dual receptacle plan

    Enter Cunliffe soon

    “Game Epigram”

    Billy be careful.

    Bill is a hard man.

    Harder than you can


    Rock Chalk!

  • @BShark yeah, but Svi has had 3 years to learn how to deal with athletic opponents. And he did well against Kentucky last year. I agree we beat them. And I’ll be super geeked if Garrett tears them up.

  • @BigBad I think we are going to feel lucky to have Newman when the lid is on the basket for everyone else and Malik rips off a stretch of 6 or 8 points to keep us in it.

  • I am almost positive Malik was with Billy and should have done a better job making sure Billy made it back on time. Didn’t happen and he didn’t get the start because of it. Wing man fail!

  • @Statmachine should Malik take him to class too? I’m being sarcastic🤣

  • @Crimsonorblue22 LOL.

    This might be part of the reason Malik didn’t start last night. Stiffer punishment for Billy that’s for sure.

  • I wonder how many of our opponents were kind enough to donate lol. It will be interesting to see who starts from here on out. Does Self continue to play small ball? Or does Preston get a good deal of starts? With the way Garrett is playing Sam may not see the floor a whole lot, we know Self loves his 8 man rotation.

  • I’d bet on small ball starting line-ups all year.

  • @BShark Tennessee state coach said last pm they would have done better against a 2 post team. I think a lot of teams will have the same problems.

  • I think we will play predominately small sprinkled with traditional.

    Agree, our guards are a nightmare for most teams. One of Kentucky’s problems is trouble staying in front of their man, which is why cal switched to a zone, or else they might have lost last night. It would be interesting to see their length in a zone vs our zone busters. You’d have to think our guys will fare a little better against it than Utah valley.

  • @BShark I’m a bit torn on whether he stays 4/1. Obviously if Preston gets going, that might change things. But having that change-up off the bench is great, too – either way. I recall @jaybate-1-0 mentioning that with a thin front court, maybe 4/1 is best so as not to put our two main bigs at risk foul wise, together. Here’s the nice thing - we have a coach who has created a fast, attack oriented 4/1 offense AND who is the master of the 3/2 hi/lo. We’re clearly spending more time on the 4/1 stuff. But I tend to think that we’re adaptable. If we catch a team that we need to exploit inside, I think our 4/1 can do that quite easily. How much trouble did teams have stopping ISU inside when they were all spread out? And we’ve shown we can do it. If needed, we can go 3/2 (which I still think Self would prefer).

    Also wanted to point out that Newman apparently gave Garrett some encouragement last night, telling him “not to overthink it, just go relax and play.” Nice to hear.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    You are very right that this team in 4-1 can wage lightening war. Our perimeter cats are fairly long limbed. They combine quickness and straight line speed.

    A crucial question seems to be can Vick spell Devonte and sustain lightening war, or does Vick have to slow it down to stay in control of the team.

    Last season, Devonte could sustain whatever Frank was doing, if it were working, or down shift to something slower that would work.

    What I’m asking is: is Vick and ready and able to take over the point as Devonte was last season, when Frank needed a blow?

    I haven’t made up my mind on that yet.

    But if Vick isn’t quite up for running point at lightening war speed, well, then Self could go 3-2 with Preston and Buke inside and slow things down for those spells.

  • approxinfinity said:

    @BeddieKU23 we will see against Kentucky if Garrett’s game translates against athletic opponents. We won’t see 10 rebs again. Will be interesting.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Garrett led the team in rebounding again. One thing that he has done already is effort. You watch plays where he’s busting his butt to get in position for a rebound or sprinting back on defense. I’ve seen a lot of things to like so far. He’s a deceptive athlete and is long so I see that matching up well against Kentucky’s bunch of raw players. We are lucky to have this young man

  • @jaybate-1.0 and that’s what makes this team a tough out in March - they can beat you so many different ways.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Doesn’t it appear that Newman is the guy at the point when DG goes out? I’m asking because I’m not sure.

  • @Hawk8086

    Vick is not really a PG so Newman would be the logical replacement. Having said a that, Garret was the Texas Gatorade POY as PG and I will guess that as the season progresses, he will become the backup PG.

  • @JayHawkFanToo it seems like a lot of folks on ku sites don’t think he is a point guard, yet he played point guard in high school lol.

  • A few random thoughts…

    @HighEliteMajor emojis can at times be quite subjective and depend on the mood of the writer at the time. The cat can be seen as Garret being the cat’s meow or the cat that ate the canary and is very pleased with himself.

    What is the deal with these new hairdos? I just don’t get it, but then many people did not get the long hair in the 60s and 70s either.

    Talking about looks…Devonté does not look like a baby anymore and Vick looks so much older, he has an NBA-ready face now.

    Newman is indeed an enigma. Not enough handles to be a PG and perhaps not enough height or shooting touch to be a SG, can we call him a tweener guard? No doubt he is talented but right now he seems to be talent looking for a role?

    In case some of you did not know, Preston was late for curfew and had to park his car in an illegal zone and the be next day he had to go and move it and in the process missed a class. He now knows that two wrongs don’t make a righ; in reality, the second call attention and makes the first look even worse.

    If KU and UK play their game the way both teams played the first half Friday, KU wins going away and the squid cries like a little girl…just an expression @Crimsonorblue22, no offense to women or little girls intended. 😊

  • @JayHawkFanToo I do hate that, or throw like a girl etc.

  • @HawkChamp

    Vick looks more likely to back up the point than Malik.

  • @HawkChamp

    Until Preston reveals a light on upstairs, KU must dread a team with two good bigs.

  • @jaybate-1-0 And who would the second be? 😉

    Mitch should be a 3. Billy (please be a hero!) Preston must “Get Back” to where he once belonged. His apparent flakiness is All the more need for Desousa to get cleared. Bill is Santa if he orchestrates this Christmas present for the KU faithful.

  • @Fightsongwriter Nice Preston/Beatles reference. Here, here…

  • @JayHawkFanToo around here I’ve seen a lot more little boys crying in public than little girls. This expression does seem invalid.

  • @drgnslayr

    4 years for mr Garrett is music to my ears… he fits the mold of many of my fav players ( K Young, T Releford, JamTray), he seems to want to play D and rebound and set picks and just be a disrupter. As a pure fan, These four years types really help balance out the oft disappointing hardly-knew-ye OADs. I got my ticket, and boarded the Garrett Bus early 😻 (Cat emoji for keeping with the thread theme )

  • Crimsonorblue22 said:

    @JayHawkFanToo I do hate that, or throw like a girl etc.

    If you’re talking about my wife that means deadly acurate and hard. If you’re talking about my sister that means everyone 180 degrees in front of her is on notice. 🙂

    So what does it mean? 🤷

  • @Bosthawk Gotta love Garrett. Dudes gonna be a multiple year stud. The kind of player you think of when you fondly remember KU hoops 10-20-30 years down the road. Unfortunately the Xavier Henry’s of the world fade away…

  • @approxinfinity @Crimsonorblue22

    It is just an old expression that uses hyperbole to convey a meaning and as such, should not be taken literally. I did include a caveat in my post.

  • ““He didn’t score the second half and he dominated the game,” Self said of Graham.”

    I hope to hear that more often this year. Sure… I like seeing Devonte hang some points in the book, but what we really need is a floor general from the point. Self’s comment holds true; Devonte dominated without scoring the second half.

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