In the Eventuality of Fecal Matter Having Happened, Who Are We without Preston, or Go 4-1 You Hobbits, With or Without DeSouza

  • Self prepares for life without Preston, same as he did with the Big Red Dog aka Clifford “Mom Reputedly Got Some Hep” Alexander. This amounts to deep frying a donut in the big fryer with the donut hole in the backup fryer. You would like them both to be ready to eat about the same time, but they don’t have to finish at exactly the same time, and the donut can be tasty without the donut hole, or just that much better with it.

    But life is theme with variations.

    The variations here seems to be that Preston will actually sit from the start instead of playing limited minutes a la the Big Bowser. As the late Tom Petty sang, “The waiting is [and will be] the hardest part.” Bang the box in heaven, Tom.

    The commitment to sitting Preston makes one thing unmistakable. Whatever the issue is that looms with him and his Mattel Mobile, it appears much more cut and dried than it appeared with Alexander. With Alexander, Self and KU were apparently dealing with something involving mom, and that made the infraction involve “awareness” on the part of KU and Self and arguably even Alexander himself. Playing Alexander without “awareness” was NOT an infraction, at least if plausible deniability could be maintained. But the inference with Preston appears to be that what ever the potential transgression, it was apparently something flat inadmissible going in, and something Preston apparently would have had personal awareness of, and likely certain key officials in KU basketball would have had personal awareness of, or should have had. Plausible deniability can be a female canis familiaris.

    Preston apparently isn’t playing, because playing with knowledge of the transgression would lead straight to Forfeit City. I’m not breaking ground here. Others have made similar inferences recently. I’m just clarifying for prologue. To wit, that he sits, instead of plays, appears to suggest KU basketball officials see enough of a black box that fecal matter could have happened inside that they are not going to the mat for the young man and playing him anyway. At the very least, it appears NOT a vote of confidence.

    There endeth the prologue.

    This post is really a rumination about who we are.

    We knew who we were with Preston. We were a go-deep, match-up-any-way-they-want, flex 3-2/4-1 kind of a team with April expectations. We thought we had near Dump Truck-grade depth in perimeter athleticism and shooting. Plus inside, we thought we had Mr. Relaxed Fit in XXXL (Azuibuke) and Mr. Slim Fit in XXL (Billy Preston) both backed up with youth tall (Lightfoot) and Archteryx small (Svi and Garrett) pack-lite back ups. The suit case seemed all Briggs and Riley durable for a long adventure travel trip to the Final Four, especially, when Cunliffe and De Souza came Amazon-enabled at mid season to fill the remaining empty spaces in the Eagle Creek packing cubes. (Note: I’m practicing here for a future when each of us gets fees for product placement references in posts. If KU and Self can sell themselves, why shouldn’t we? Are you listening, @approxinfinity. Contracting with advertisers to receive a few cents or dollars every time a board rat mentions a product brand in a positive way is the zeitgeist way to get compensated for all your hard work here.).

    But fecal matter has already happened.

    Champagne wishes and caviar dreams were then.

    So: who are we now, if Preston proves an Anti-MacArthur and fails to return?

    We are improvised wishes and survival schemes.

    We are 4-1.

    Even with DeSouza.

    At most, IF DeSouza shows, he will buy us two, five-minute stretches for Azuibuke to take on oxygen. No non OAD guy is coming into the asymmetric whistle ritual that is the March Carney and turning into an impact player for six NCAA games as a starting 4 to enable Self to wear his Iba mask and win one for Hank in the 3-2. Not. Going. To. Hap.

    But, 'bate, that’s who we aren’t. We want to know who we are. We have to know. We gots to know. If we’ve learned nothing else from the Earl of Edmond, all these fabulous years, its a team’s got to know who they are.

    Read my key strokes:

    We are 4-1.

    Let me distill it to Dr. Zeuss.

    We are 4-1 if they are tall.

    We are 4-1 if they are small.

    We are 4-1 in a house.

    We are 4-1 with a mouse.

    We are 4-1 with a spoon.

    We are 4-1 on the moon.

    We are 4-1 in a caboose.

    We are 4-1 with Calipari’s Mousse.

    We are 4-1 with a hat.

    We are 4-1 with Coach K the rat.

    We are 4-1 against a schizo.

    We are 4-1 against Ratso Izzo.

    We are 4-1 against Jews and Goys.

    We are 4-1 against Roy Williams’ boys.

    We like crimson eggs and ham.

    We like 4-1, Phog I am.


    This 4-1 dog can hunt once it gets Cunliffe. Cunliffe gives Self a deep rotation of runts at the 4. He will be able to rotate Svi, Garrett and Cunliffe; that’s enough fouls to give that runts can keep coming and we can keep playing small at the 4, even when the opponents go big. It will mean switching in and out of man and junk zone to keep the Blue Meanies from knowing exactly what spots to stand on on offense, and who to screen, and back down, but Self has become Mr. Flexible the last few seasons. This is a defensive challenge and he likes those.

    At the 5, it gets sticky being who we are, even if Azuibuke were miraculously to stay healthy and play 30mpg every time he laced’em up. Yes, Lightfoot can spell him for breathers. Yes, Lightfoot will get better when Self gives him the Marine Corp Captain to the Marine Corp Lieutentant line: “Son, I am counting on you. I’m not going to bullshit you, Lieutenant. We are counting on you to take that pocket no matter how you have to do it, and we know its going to be tough. This entire operation is depending on you doing your job. You don’t have to be a hero, Lightfoot, but you do have to have to sneeze lightening and shit thunder. We are not sure at present if there will be any replacements. You may have to do this with your bare hands and your KaBar but it has to be done. Failure is not an option. I don’t care what size they are. You kill and clean me some Dukies, or don’t come back alive.”

    These are the kinds of things that will have to be said (and done) in some D1 translation suitable for politically correct standards of today. If you people think Grayson Allen is bad guy, you’re going to have to get a grip, when Self has to resort to Mitch Lightfoot to close an NCAA game out. But it can be done.

    But here is where DeSouza comes in (as everyone has long since gathered, right?). Lightfoot is only enough to survive and advance with a right tail probability. Ten fouls just aren’t enough for Self to retain the flexibility of attacking, or shortening games, as the moment dictates. Add DeSouza, with pretty much the same exhortations given Lightfoot, and Self is in the magic 15 fouls-to-give territory at the 5 that can let Self do either. And De Souza at least would allow short stretches of faking a 3-2, when the other team plays two bigs, while Self and staff hatch yet another tactical scheme with the 4-1 to outflank opponent with size.

    The above has been the long of it.

    The short of it?

    Self, the Basketball Gandalf, can with a bit of misdirection, a pinch of magic dust, and an occasional charge on his own Shadowfax of Devonte Graham, conjure the pieces of his Basketball Middle Earth into a winning conquest of Sauron, but he needs to add Cunliffe and DeSouza bad to pull it off.

    Rock Chalk!

  • That was great @jaybate-1-0

    Having Cunliffe available is big because it gives you 6 guards to run the 4-1.

    Having De Sousa is important because if Doke is saddled with fouls and Mitch is saddled with fouls at least we are not going to Clay Young.

    How much we want to wager Monday is “no update Monday” on Preston? A few green eggs and ham?

  • @BeddieKU23 Sam I am

  • Couldn’t be happier Bill has been forced to use a 7 man rotation. The immediate double-team in the post has been a blessing. I’m not sure Bill even knew how quick we could rotate defensively, and that has led to a ton of steals. The short bench has also forced Doke into more PT and a larger offensive role than he would have had (if only by a few minutes and shots per game). Which has already helped being has how he went from a black-hole offensively to a very patient scorer almost overnight. Only player I’ve seen take a step that big offensively, that fast, was Embiid… This team goes with Doke. Doke is becoming an unstoppable force, and I have yet to see an immovable object.

    The progression of Doke is being accelerated due to a lack of players. Sometimes, bad things are blessings in disguise…

  • There will probably be more news about Billy tomorrow since KU has a game. If Billy is sitting out again, why he is sitting out again will probably have to be addressed a bit.

  • Kcmatt7 said:

    Couldn’t be happier Bill has been forced to use a 7 man rotation.

    To be accurate, the UK game made clear Self has really gone to 6, or even a 5-man rotation. Lightfoot was not in long enough to be called a rotation player at all. Even Garrett’s minutes were so restricted one could call it a 5 man rotation and not be stretching it.

    I am not mentioning this to be negative. Calipari beat us for the ring in 2012 with a six man rotation. But they were 6 OADs/TADS. Self could conceivably carry something similar off, if injuries can be avoided, and if he runs into a runner up as shallow as KU was itself in 2012. After all, he arguably played a 6 man rotation in 2012 also.

    One more point to consider: Kentucky was not an exceptional team. They were green. They had key players injured. They played with less talent than they have had for many years. They still played 8-9 players, suggesting Calipari was approaching it as a game he was using for a tune up, rather than going with his best five, or six, players to win, as Self was clearly approaching it. That’s okay. There have been other seasons, when Self conceded more or less that he needed to use the Kentucky matchup to see who could and couldn’t play, rather than strictly as a game to try to win. Likely Self would have played Preston, had Preston not violated team rules, and Garrett and Lightfoot would likely have wound up with even fewer minutes. In that scenario, KU would have shown what amounted to a six man rotation., which is where I think this team is headed against all top ten opponents, unless Preston comes back, Cunliffe is darned good, and DeSouza shows up.

    Self signaled us in no uncertain terms against Kentucky that Garrett and Lightfoot are marginal backups not even ready for UK, when UK is green and experimenting. We will see lots of minutes, as many as possible, really, for Garrett and Lightfoot against non top ten competition in order to rest our 5 man rotation as much as possible in between the top ten opponents, and on the front ends of 2 games in three days situations. Otherwise, I think Garrett and Lightfoot will be very scarce in big games. If Preston and Cunliffe show up, and play as well as I suspect they are capable of, I reckon Lightfoot will disappear entirely, and Garrett will be in about as little as Lightfoot was against UK. If DeSouza shows, Garrett could disappear, too. Garrett’s minutes now stem almost entirely from the combo of Cunliffe’s absence and Preston’s limited, or non PT, IMHO.


  • @BeddieKU23

    I don’t think you could balance the betting on that without resorting to Deep State money laundering. 🙂

  • Every passing minute, hour, day without an All is Clear sign for Preston makes me think he is stuck like chuck too Mr Bate.
    I wanna know what happened. We all do.
    This is no Bueno!

  • Self is now ‘worried’. He’s obviously not playing anytime soon or at all.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Garrett will get there because he is KU’s vest perimeter defender. His shooting is still not good, but he does so much of everything else well that he’ll start getting more minutes. It also helps that he can sub for 1-4 which makes him valuable as a bench guy.

  • A 5 or 6 man rotation is not feasible for an entire season, at least not in Division I BBall; players would be worn out by the end of the season. Coach Self has indicated that he like an 8-9 player rotation and this likely what it will be.

  • When Sivio gets here he instantly becomes:

    • Our best rebounder…
    • Our best passer on the frontline …
    • Our most skilled big with the ball …
    • He has a variety of ways to score - he might not dunk it as much, but he will block as many shots as Doke, and he will hit his free throws.

    This is not some kid that picked up a basketball 3 years ago - he has been playing for 10 years, and his game has a refinement you don’t see in American players that often. I believe he will have several double digit rebound games because he is absolutely tenacious on the boards. Don’t sell this guy short, or think he’s going to be an end gamer bench warmer. This guy might be the best rebounder we’ve had in quite a while.

  • @BeddieKU23 Yes, the word of the day is “worried.” Ugh.

  • Without Preston and /or De Sousa we are going home in the first weekend of the NCAAs, that is exactly who we are. Lightfoot is not a D1 player plain and simple. Doke will pretty much be our only big and we struggle against size and if he gets in foul trouble.

  • @kjayhawks That video on De Sousa tells alot. He doesn’t take one shot outside of the paint … not one. He operates exclusively in the paint. They won’t have to scream at him to go to the boards - he lives off the boards. The kid is a complete team player, from passing when he is out of position, to massive effort to grab rebounds. IMHO, he will do more for this team than a Billy Preston. No doubt Billy could beat him in a 3 point shooting contest, and Billy can do things De Sousa might not ever be able to do. But this team desperately needs someone that knows how to get a rebound, is willing to get in the paint and mix it up, and plays smart basketball. And that’s De Sousa’s game.

  • @kjayhawks Mitch Lightfoot was a low end 4 star recruit. He’s absolutely a D1 player, but his trajectory has never been someone expected to contribute early on. Landen Lucas was an unranked recruit who didn’t start contributing in any meaningful way until his 4th year at KU.

    Lightfoot will never be a star player and he probably needs to red shirt, which could happen if there are 4 other front court guys next year. He’s someone that can be a contributor by the end of his career in a similar way to Landen or Kevin Young. Not star guys, but we’re solid, rope players for Kansas.

  • Has there been any news on desousa? I haven’t seen any quotes from self about him.

  • Et al,

    To reiterate, 6 man rotations ARE FEASIBLE.

    John Calipari won a ring in 2012 with 6 guys.

    Bill Self FYI finished second the same season with what some called 6 guys, but I called 7.

    The keys to winning with 6 man rotations are:

    a.) use starters to shorten games vs all opponents; and

    b.) use your non rotation guys as much as possible against all weak opponents.

    Six man rotations basically are trying to reduce 40 minute games to 20 minute games

    —5 fast to start the first half and bolt to a lead

    —5 fast to start the second half and bolt to a lead

    —10 fast at the end of the second half to close out.

    The idea is to cut the season from 40 40-minute games to 40 20-minute games.

    And learn to love sand bagging and a lot of close games.


    Daring take on DeSouza vs Preston.

    You might be onto something, but Preston’s awfully talented.

  • @HawkChamp

    Xclt Q.

    I haven’t seen any.

  • @jaybate-1.0 uh, with Sam we have a seven man rotation and getting either Billy or desousa ups that to a solid eight, but I agree with you. In the past, we have had depth but rarely used it fully as Self mostly plays seven guys late in the year, sometimes eight. Nova was mostly seven and UConn was thin as well. You can’t play fast with a short bench - just aint going to happen. Both teams I just mentioned knew exactly how to execute in the half court and made timely shots. And, we have something neither did - a monster in the middle. I think we’ll be fine by the end of the season.

  • @HawkChamp

    Cunliffe will retire Garrett and Lightfoot in all the big games. I count that as six. Seven if DeSouza shows, right? I just don’t see Garrett as a viable 7th man against Top Ten grade competition this season. I think he would get eaten alive. He will get all his significant minutes against lesser teams. 13 is tops even for a green UK team in disarray. If KU played Duke with Cunliffe available, he would be lucky to get 5.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I can’t say for sure about Garrett. We will absolutely need his contributions this year.

  • @KUSTEVE I agree about De Sousa. @Texas-Hawk-10 just because your a 4 star don’t mean jack. At this point Mitch looks like a complete waste of a scholarship. He hopefully will grow as you suggest but I’d take Young on one foot over him right now.

  • @kjayhawks if only clay were a few inches taller…

  • @HawkChamp Yep Clay is light years ahead of Mitch in understanding the game. I hate to sound rude but I call it like I see it.

  • @jaybate-1-0 I think you are underestimating Garrett. He’s an intangibles guy. I think he’s a better player than Cunliffe. In Cunliffe’s 10 games at ASU, his PER was 10.0. Just horrible. Garrett, in the three games so far, is 17.8. The worst player we had last season PER wise was Lightfoot at 12.0, and the year before Traylor at 12.7. Cunliffe did hit threes at 40%, but his two point % was 30.8. Garrett’s is 62%. Two point percentage is always an interesting guide. In this admittedly small snapshot, Garrett is better per minute in rebounds, assists, steals, and turnovers. Plus, Garrett is an excellent defender and may be a possible elite defender in the making (which can’t be understated). Garrett had the one real good game in Europe, better than any game Cunliffe had. Cunliffe is likely the better scorer, though it would be interesting to see how Garrett would do if he was relied on to score (he’s in development stages there). Cunliffe needed a lot of shots to get his double digit games (5), shooting around 40% in those games. If we have scoring, I’m not sure how Cunliffe edges out Garrett. Against top teams, I’m not sure either will be stellar, but I think Garrett’s defense is the “x” factor there.

    Also, for the Clay Young lovers out there, his PER is in the single digits now (7.5). Lightfoot 11.6. I wouldn’t completely bail on Mitch just yet. He’s being exposed, to be sure, but there is upside.

    @KUSTEVE I don’t know, Doke looks pretty skilled with the ball to me. Actually looks terrific. I want him to have the ball more often.

  • @kjayhawks He’s a lower rated guy forced into a bigger role than he’s ready for because of the depth situation. Kevin Young didn’t come to KU as a true freshman, he came as a junior who had also spent a tear as an assistant coach at a small school.

    Clay Young is a senior so why wouldn’t he have a better understanding of Self’s system than Lightfoot at this point?

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 yes I’m well aware of Young. The point is he is currently of no use other than eat up 5 minutes and foul out.

  • @kjayhawks A guy who came to KU as a long term project player looks like a long term project player relatively early on in his career and you’re shocked by that?

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 no, I’m just saying he isn’t doing us any good! How can spell it out any better, maybe he’ll be decent in 2 years. I doubt it but who knows? He’s all we got for now and he sucks, period, end of story.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 Heck the guy has one man in a 7 guy rotation that he’s competing for time with currently and is averaging a whopping 6 minutes a game. That there speaks for itself on Mitch’s current talent.

  • @kjayhawks You’re complaining about Lightfoot like Self is playing him over someone more deserving. Lightfoot is trying his best, but he’s being forced into a situation he isn’t ready for because Preston did something stupid.

    To say he’s not a D1 player is absolutely crap on your end and ragging on the kid for something beyond his control is classless on your part. Based on your post, one would have thought Lightfoot was expected to average a double double this year instead of being projected as the last guy in the rotation, which shocked, he is.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    The 2012 UK team had 7 players that averaged double digit minutes.

    Let me ask you a question, have you actually seen Garret and Cunliffe play? Cunliffe played in 4 games in Italy plus at late night and Garret in a few more and you if you watched them play you would know there is no way Cunliffe retires Garret who is arguably the best defensive player and can play the 1-4 positions. Garret has been the biggest surprise of the class and his contribution and playing time will only continue to increase; I just don’t see Cunliffe getting any substantial playing time and might be the odd man out.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 no I’m complaining about Lightfoot because he could be all we have. I’m not saying he’s a terrible person or it his fault. He’s just not a decent player at this point in his career and it could be what cause this teams short fall. I’m not Willy Wonka, I don’t sugar coat stuff.

  • @kjayhawks He is a Div 1 player who should be 10th in rotation but has been forced to be either 6th or 7th depending on Doke.

    What most people don’t realize is that ML and CY both don’t ever get more than a couple of minutes, if that, to practice with the first 5. They are needed to play the opponent role in practice. With the short practices, they probably get even less.

    CY looks better because he isn’t expected to do anything except occupy space on defense, get an occasional rebound and kick it out, and score if a sure oppty comes along. His 2 more years of college bb give him more experience in anticipating plays, plus he is physically stronger. Whereas ML, coming in earlier while the starters are operating at light speed compared to him, is expected to move more, defend actively out to the 3 line, set screens in the high post, be a threat from midrange to the 3 line, rebound with no inside help, and defend the rim. He is still awkward now, but for a guy who usually only practices opponents’ plays, and considering Hudyization is not always rapid, he really still has a lot of potential.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Well, you have made a good QA case, so I have to dry wash with doubt and recrimination.

    Damn, I hope ur right about Garrett AND wrong about Cunliffe.

    Only question: did Cunliffe generate his numbers largely against cupcakes, as Garrett has so far, or was it against diversified quality of opponents? Put another way, are both guys’ numbers based on comparable mixes of competition?

  • Regarding Cunliffe, its been a year since he played, and can we really count the games in Italy as being definitive for in season stats? I’ll wait to see how he looks once he is eligible to form an opinion. Just not enough substantial material to go off.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    First, to emulate your rhetorical technique and so try to maximize communication, do you have any recollection of the actual 2012 UK team? Do you even recall how they rotated against top 10 competition most of the time, especially in close games? Or did you only look up their cummulative season numbers without EVEN disaggregating them for patterns of average rotation against top 10 competition?

    Second, and continuing in the vein of the first, have you EVER seen Garrett and Cunliffe play? And if you say you have, have you really perceived what you say you saw? And if you say you perceived what you say you saw, did you ever really process what you say you perceived you saw?

    Howling! .

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Ah yes, the patented Jaybate…if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with the bull.

    Yes, I remember that in the title game, UK played primarily 6 players but we were not talking about 1 game but a season long rotation. The 7th player was #17 ranked 5-star Kyle Wiltjer who averaged close to 12 mpg, doubled it on his sophomore year and went to become consensus 2nd team All-American and pre-season POY at Gonzaga.

    As far as Cunliffe and Garret, yes, I watched replays and highlight and read reports and articles about the games in Italy as well as the Late Night and the topic was discussed extensively and contemporaneously in this and other forums and the consensus was that Cunliffe would not see much playing time and that Garret exceeded expectations. A quick review of late Summer threads on the subject would have given you enough information to not post uninformed comments like…Cunliffe will retire Garret…to use your favorite expression…howling. Cunliffe transferred because he did not see a lot of playing time in his future at Arizona State, what makes you think he will fare better at KU?

    You can howl as much as you want but based on what we have seen to date from both players, your opinion runs contrary to the consensus.

    Now you can howl some more.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Howling! .

  • HighEliteMajor said:

    @BeddieKU23 Yes, the word of the day is “worried.” Ugh.

    Today it will be ‘concerned’

    Wednesday - ‘uncertain return’

    Thursday- ‘not looking good’

    Friday- ‘can’t comment right now, ask the NCAA’

    Next week or 2018- press release stating the obvious

  • HawkChamp said:

    Has there been any news on desousa? I haven’t seen any quotes from self about him.

    waiting for the test score

  • From various sources…

    Kansas coach Bill Self spoke to the media Monday, telling reporters he was “worried” about the status of five-star freshman Billy Preston.

    “Sure I’m worried,” Self told reporters. “Yeah, I”m concerned. I do think it can work itself out based on what I’ve been told, but I also think it obviously hasn’t happened yet.”

    Sounds like Coach Self is frustrated and the situation is not looking good. How difficult is to get an straight answer from Billy and family about the origin of the car? It really should not be that hard.

    Sounds to me like Billy and family are hedging on giving a straight answer and trying to come up with a plausible explanation with no luck so far. If something went on and the NCAA imposes sanctions on Billy, the most optimistic outcome would be joining the team around the time Cunliffe and DeSousa do.

  • **Nothing from nothing leaves nothing…

    You gotta drive nothing if you wanna be with me,

    Nothing from nothing leaves nothing

    You gotta drive nothing if you want to be with me…**

    **I’m not trying to be your hero,

    But driving that Charger was a zero…too cold for me…

    I’m not trying to be your highness,

    But a bus pass woulda been finest,

    Cause a DNP is a minus too low to see…yeah**

    **Nothing from nothing leaves nothing,

    And I’m not eatin’ stuffing- believe you me,

    Don’t you remember I told ya,

    I’m a soldier on the war on Charger poverty …**

  • @KUSTEVE Rap battle winner lol, that’s the sad thing the way I understand it is that he isn’t poor and his mom is fairly well off. If anyone needed a car it probably wasn’t him.

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