Doke and Mitch and Life’s a B$&%#!

  • Remember when we thought Self had it tough with Lucas, Traylor and Ellis?

    Those seasons seem like gravy days. Trips to Bountiful days. Our cup runneth over days.

    Ellis, Lucas, and Traylor now seem like clover days now. Why Self used to cro-ice guys to the bench with more game than Mitch Lightfoot.

    So: we know how KU will play with Doke bowing the wood on the low block.

    But: how will he play Mitch on the night, when Dole sits after 5 minutes with 3 early fouls?

    What then does he do for 30 minutes of Mitch Lightfoot?

    I haven’t a clue!

    Does any one else know the plan?

    Tell me.

  • @jaybate-1.0 he plays Mitch and Mitch plays like a competent big, in sync with the flow of the game?

  • @approxinfinity mitch is having a great pm

  • @approxinfinity

    Are you confident he can log 25-30 every fifth or sixth game and 15-20 four or five games in between and KU can beat majors and elites with Mitch? I’m just not to that place yet. Against mid majors and minor majors, yes. But against Texas, or Iowa State, or Baylor? Or Duke, UNC, MSU, and UK? I don’t know. I didn’t see much sign of it against UK. Like a long in the tooth Fox Mulder, I want to believe. But I just don’t know, Sculley.

  • We shall see. Gotta start somewhere right? Kid looked great tonight. Hopefully he can keep building with all his PT.

  • @approxinfinity - - 11 points - - 8 rebounds - -3-3 from the field - -4-4 from the line - - 1-1 from 3point range - and 3 blocks

  • @jayballer54 Self: The best player we had today was Mitch.

  • 😂

  • Bill Self: The best player we had was Mitch.

    Ugh. Jamari Traylor redux. Like Michael Myers back to torment Jamie Lee Curtis. And we’re Jamie Lee. Why does he feel the need to spew fiction? Hopefully it’s to just make Lightfoot feel good. That would be the best justification I could think of. I’ll go with that.

    Mitch was good tonight vs. … Oakland. But he was nowhere near our best player. Any excitement should remind us of Jamari Traylor, and all of that sheer baloney. JaMitch Lightray. Both can be good in small stretches vs. good opponents, and even have a good game or two against the good opponents (like Traylor’s WVU game his jr. season), and can look dynamite sometimes against crappy teams. That doesn’t mean he (or either of them) are good players. They aren’t. I don’t think anyone holds onto the fiction that Traylor was a good player any longer. The urge to defend players passes with time.

    The grain of salt thing is out in full force. We know Self isn’t serious.

  • I feel like that’s what Self was doing there. He went out of his way to praise Mitch multiple times in the post game presser. With the way he was talking him up this offseason, that seems to be Self’s approach with Mitch.

  • As for Jamari there were so many issues. He was actually really promising as a roleplayer his SO year. Then he just…never developed any further but Self tried to give him more minutes his JR year anyway. Self had at least somewhat wised up though, when his SR minutes were below his SO year minutes.

    At least Mitch has a jump shot.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I don’t know. Tyler was maybe a better coach’s son than I gave him credit for. 🙂

  • @BShark Mitch does have some skill that can develop. I guess I just don’t see a guy that will be much help this year vs better talent. Maybe in very short bursts, but he’s the classic “wait till he gets exposed” guy right now, don’t you think?

    I use the Champions game as my guide on what Self thinks. Lightfoot played Justin Wesley-like minutes there (6). Just only as absolutely necessary. And he really looked out of place.

    @jaybate-1-0 I think I tried to answer your question above with my initial response. What do you see? Or are you truly unsure?

    I also want to be clear. Mitch is playing a role here based solely on circumstance. He should be a guy that after three years, including a redshirt year, he could be a capable backup his JR and SR seasons. That was at least my expectation.

  • @HighEliteMajor Oh yeah I don’t think Mitch is a guy that should ever get more than 15 minutes a game. It agree about what happened against UK, and we will see it again the next tough game most likely. There is a reason the staff pushed to get Silvio in at semester. Even if Silvio needs time to come along there are situations where he can help more than Lightfoot right now. He just has natural abilities that Mitch is not close to. This is Mitch’s year though, the way things shook out. It’s going to be very tough for him going forward even if Doke leaves after this year (not a given). Even with Doke gone Mitch is optimistically (for him) the 4th big but McCormack (the guy he could possibly be ahead of) just offers a completely different skill set.

  • Maybe Mitch could see minutes at 3 next year and Self could mix in 3-big lineups to really screw with people? What is Mitch’s ceiling on D?

  • approxinfinity said:

    Maybe Mitch could see minutes at 3 next year and Self could mix in 3-big lineups to really screw with people? What is Mitch’s ceiling on D?

    If KJ is viewed by the staff as a 4, no way Mitch gets run at the 3. The Lawsons as you would expect destroy Mitch in practice.

    Assuming no more recruits and Vick leaves we are looking at a mix of Garrett, Grimes and Cunliffe at the 3 spot. Garrett and Grimes are very versatile. Some PG skills but definitely the size and athleticism to play the 3 in college.

  • I don’t think Mitch has the speed or athleticism to stay with real 3s at this point.

  • @HighEliteMajor I think you accidentally misstated they were not " Good " players - -if they weren’t " Good " players Coach Self wouldn’t of recruited them in the first place. You can be a good player and still not have the talent/skill level of others on your team , to say they aren’t good players is a little over the left field fence.

    Now with a full scaled roster, would Mitch be seeing the minutes he is seeing now - -umm NO, doesn’t mean he isn’t good. - -He is a player that can come in relieve Doke - -De-souse if and when he gets here for some spot minutes. Mitch isn’t gonna do the flashy things your looking for. Does he get beat on defense , ya - -does Vick - -Does Devonte - -Does Doke - ya, there is not a single player that doesn’t get beat sometimes - - Mitch a little more, one thing Mitch doe is the dirty non flashy work always gives 100 %

    Umm ya and before anyone suggests that Mitch transfer out so he can play more - -save your breathe - Mitch isn’t going anywhere. - -To many of his friends have said as much, he loves KU - loves the experience he is having, Mitch is a good utility player, spot player. - Every school has one of these type of players , maybe not as gifted but plays with spirit and gives his all for the team - -good fill in player. - Saying Mitch is " NOT GOOD " - is just off. - - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @jayballer54 No, I said “not good.” Mitch isn’t good yet. Traylor never was good. Ever. His PERs over four years, 12.2, 17.2, 12.7, 12.7. The only role for Traylor was complimentary. Self relied on Traylor too much. And the most telling commentary on his value was in the most important game, his senior season vs. Nova, Traylor played 5 minutes. Against Maryland, in the prior game, he played 10 minutes with a very Jamari-like line – 10 minutes, 2 points, 0 rebounds, 4 fouls.

    Good, of course, is relative. With KU, our goal is to win a national championship. Neither Mitch, nor Traylor, are/were good enough to be regular players in such high stakes games. With Mitch, we’ll just see how he develops. Watching him now, it’s obvious he’s not that sort of good. The door remains open for some major leap. But right now, the absolute biggest weakness on our team, bar none, is the fact that we have Mitch as our 2nd big, when he should be, at best, our 4th big.

    But as I always said with Traylor, in the right role, he could be fine. 4th big was probably the best role for Traylor. Spots where his athleticism could be used in the right situations. A body, who could also, situationally, be helpful. We saw that many times with Traylor.

    But don’t confuse that with being a “good” player. Good players for KU aren’t situational bodies.

    I recall Justin Wesley played some needed minutes. Bill Self recruited him. Bill Self played him. He played hard, and gave all he had. Was Justin Wesley “good”?

  • @HighEliteMajor Not going to go back and forth, we could beat this horse for the rest of the year. - -Mitch is absolutely a " Good " player when he is needed in his minutes gets blocks, rebounds, dives for loose balls, now scoring a little - -which we don’t really need a lot of scoring from him - -we need the other things he is doing.

    Like I said I’m not gonna convince you - -your not going to convince me he is not. It’s ok. - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @jayballer54 We just may have different definition of “good.”

  • @jayballer54 look at it this way. You don’t have to be “good” to contribute to a good team. I’m with @HighEliteMajor here. While we don’t know how the whole story yet, I would bet in a high leverage game against elite competition, Mitch never logs more than 15 minutes. Honestly the 15 minutes feels high. It’s possible I could be talked down to 10 but then we really have to look at the qualifiers. For now, let’s just see what happens when we play Cuse and AZ St.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I asked, because I really can’t see how this will work—how Self can compensate with scheming. The only things I see Lightfoot having going for him are fundies, want to, and work ethic. Otherwise he looked indistinguishable to me from the bigs on Pin Oak U. Not talking about eye tests, or star counts, here. Talking about actual observable ability to defend and offend vs. typical Big 12 bigs. He had a solid 24 minutes vs. Pin Oak U, but…

    What we saw with Doke vs. Pin Oak U is going to be a tendency in many if not most games. Doke gets a foul in the first 3 minutes and Self sits him, as long as possible, to save him for the second half. Playing Doke 35 minutes as happened against UK’s saplings at start of season won’t work by January, much less March.

    Further, by then, If Doke gets a foul the first 3 minutes of the second half, then Doke will likely sit till ten to go. This season is like 2012, but with a foul prone Withey replacement, no TRob, no back up, but lots of perimeter scorers. With this year’s bigs, I don’t see how this hunts, unless Self:

    a.) hat rabbits another big;

    b.) schemes something like the small Wooden teams—a place he seems unwilling to go; or

    c.) devise something heretofore unseen among college ball elites—at least since the 1960s.

    I know many seem to think Mitch can become a 5th year senior his second season, because we need him, or because Self can nip and tuck the way he did with Jamari, but even Jamari was explosive and played in 3-5 man paint rotations.

    This seems like a really sticky wicket going forward that turns to super glue with injury to Doke, or Mitch.

    But Self does amazing things in these sorts of situations.

    If I were Self, right now I would be practicing a lot of 5-0 with a set some one hasn’t seen for a long, LONG time, unless he were sure of a hat rabbit in the paint in January. Self absolutely needs a Geico big.

    P.S.: I don’t want to beat on Mitch here either. You go with what you have and you make the best of it. But two bigs with Doke likely a 20-25 minute man most nights to protect him for the last 10 minutes and to hold down wear and tear, and Mitch with situational substitute abilities forced into 15-20 minutes most games seems a tough row to hoe. But Mitch may be an ordinary man forced into heroic circumstances and may enter the gallant hours. Until it’s clear there is no hat rabbit coming, that we will all have to BELIEVE and impart the psi of Jayhawk nation to Mitch, I choose to focus on the problem rather than default to faith. One senses this team’s very own private Battle of Midway looms in the mists shortly. Admiral Self’s four deadly attack carriers steaming on his perimeter have survived the fates. His battlewagons in the paint are thinned to 1 dreadnought and 1 light cruiser, both still being shaken down. The USS Preston sits half submerged back at Pearl with unknown prospects for rejoining the fleet. Can Self stay with battle wagon concept in what increasingly looks like a carrier group? Can he stay 4-1, when 5-0 seems who we will be reduced to against top opponents for at least a third to 3/4s of big games, especially against experienced elites?

    Go, Bill, go!!!

    This is why you get the big adidas bucks that seem to put us in this situation.

  • @BShark I was/am never trying to imply that he was more then that. Every School recruits to a need. - Do you know, or anyone know just exactly what the recruiting pitch to Mitch was when being recruited? You recruit for starters and you recruit for quality reserves backups. - Do you seriously believe Mitch thought he was coming in here to start from day one? - -Come on he is not stupid.

    I guess the real question here becomes - -in who eye’s does Mitch define as being " Good" - -your eyes/ my eyes - or anybody else’s eyes -OR " Good" in Coach Self’s eye’s?. - I think now I don’t know but just get a feel that I probably would have a tendency to lean a little more on the side of what Coach Self and staff think about Mitch and his level of play then your’s /mine or anyone else - think that’s part of the reason they get paid - in their ability to evaluate talent.

    Nobody that I know of is trying to Make Mitch the 2nd coming in talent or any thing close to that, BUT I know this you don’t get a offer from a power 5 school to come be a part of a team if the Coach & staff don’t believe your good enough to be here and contribute. - As we all know and coach has said over and over repeatedly He will not just offer somebody or bring someone one board just to fill a roster. Ya I think I’ll stick a little more on the side of what Coach thinks about Mitch then others. - Nobody saying he is as talented or that he deserves major minutes. I know mitch is just happy to be a part of this program and willing to do whatever and when ever he is called upon - -whether it’s 3 minutes - -10 minutes - -15 whatever. - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • So, to everybody involved in this ML discussion, perhaps, as HEM says, there are different meanings of “good” to different people.

    I suggest we develop a scale that might make it more clear where we think players fall in the spectrum. And I think we all have to acknowledge that in any given game, a player can perform far beyond, or below, a place on the scale that evaluates his overall level.

    So, this is proposed just for fun, as to overall performance, NOT individual game performance. (We can factor in recent games by indicating trending up, or down.) This is to measure performance, NOT potential. Anyone who wants, can add a potential rating for a particular player’s ultimate ceiling, but to aid the discussion it would be helpful to indicate how long.

    From the absolute worst to the absolute best, the gradations that occur to me, from 1 to 10 with some possible examples, are:

    1. Abysmal, waste of scholarship. Problem child. Tempted to put usher in instead.
    2. Poor. Mistakes regularly hurt team.
    3. Marginal. Cannot expect much of anything but some minutes. Hopefully without fouling. (Young this year)
    4. Occasional contributor but not enough to supplant other players, adequate but inconsistent bench player. (Jamari senior year, Mitch)
    5. Nearly average but has some special ability that comes through once in a while. No predicting when. (Greene)
    6. Average to good player. Flashes of brilliance. Not dominant in any facet. (EJ overall, Releford)
    7. Very good. Sometimes inconsistent, but you always want them in there. Some limitation. (TT, Vick, Doke)
    8. Excellent player. Makes the team go. (Mario, Devonte)
    9. Almost perfect college player. Extraordinary. (Frank)
    10. Elite, best of the best. Polished and amazing. Mind-bending. (Jabaar, Magic Johnson at Mich State, Larry Bird at Ind St)

    Certainly not exhaustive, and highly subjective, but that is the point.

  • Of your comps I would push Releford up to a 7 and TT down to a 6. Vick is probably right at a 7 but he just got there.

    Maybe multiple scales per player would make it easier to identify a composite value?

  • @approxinfinity The problem with any scale is that it relects subjective priorities. I downgraded Travis because he didn’t seem to take advantage of his potential on offense. But maybe that is just me due to focusing on people turning down open shots ever since Syracuse?

  • I’d argue Mitch is 3-3.5. Good scale though @mayjay best to put something out there that is less ambiguous.

    I’m gonna rate this year’s team…with half ratings included.

    Devonte - 8

    Newman - 6.5

    Svi - 6.5 (if he can show as well vs athletic P5 teams I’m willing to bump to a 7)

    Vick - 7 (verging on a higher rating but I need to see more of this new and improved Vick)

    Doke - 7 (potential to be an 8 by the end of the year he has already improved so much offensively)

    Garrett - 6 (though I’d argue his dominant facet is defense)

    Mitch - 3.5

    Cunliffe - 4

    Billy P - 6

    Silvio De Sousa - ???

  • @mayjay

    Good work.

    Maybe add a hub player classification; I.e., the player a team is schemed around.

    Wayne Simien his last season.

    Brandon Rush was the hub of all his teams, even 2008, when Self schemes the team around preserving his role even while he was injured. No other player than Rush was so good that he defined the team even when he was out half the season.

    Everything revolves around the hub player.

    Sherron his last two seasons.

    Marcus Morris.

    TRob was that in 2012.

    Embiid before injury, when the great OAD whose name I momentarily forget refused to put the team on his back apparently in order to minimize injury risk.

    Perry Ellis his last season.

    Frank his last season.

    The hub player is a guy that is so dominant in all phases of the game, either naturally (Embiid), or by development (Frank) and holds MUA so often, that Self largely schemes around him and picks the other starting and rotation players to complement him.

    There are great non hub talents like Xavier and Kieff Morris that Self plugs in to complement a hub player. And they might even have become hub talents had they stayed longer and developed.

    But actual Hub players are a rare breed and are the most universally developed players with exceptional physical and mental abilities. Hub players are so complete that Self even wants them as hubs knowing they too will have 1/3 bad performances and he would rather have them on their bad nights as the hub than anyone else on a good night.

    To be a hub player for Self is the highest compliment in college basketball IMHO.

  • @BShark Sorry, based on performance in games, so Billy P so far is a 1.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I have heard Dedric will be a hub, not in that exact jb terminology but it will be interesting to see if it plays out that way.

  • @mayjay Well, that’s true. Well more of a 0 or unrated maybe.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Nice idea, but that is a different scale as you describe it (based on Self’s use, etc). The goal here is to be able to talk about the various levels of good vs bad as college bb players.

    Other scales could be developed for “glue” players so that we could argue incessantly with Brady haters!

  • @BShark But, hopefully Billy becomes the fastest rising player in the lengthy history of the distinguished Mayjay Scale!

  • mayjay said:

    @BShark But, hopefully Billy becomes the fastest rising player in the lengthy history of the distinguished Mayjay Scale!

    The general vibe around the situation appears to be more positive now. Could be nothing though…

  • @mayjay

    Maybe I did not make myself clear. The hub player is based solely and entirely on ability, development and performance. It is because he is far the best most complete and MUA dominant player at that time on the team that Self makes him the hub.

    Therefore he would necessarily rank at either the ultimate, or penultimate, classification of player.

    An OAD recruit may be a great talent, but is he capable of being the hub? Most aren’t. Rush and Embiid were by about one third of the season. Wiggins clearly was, but elected not to. Chalmers was offered the role, as a freshman, but was not up to it.

    And so on.

    The hub role is probably the most reliable indicator of the peak talent level of a player available. It is a gold standard and so a benchmark against which to rank in descending order all your other categories.

    Each of your categories should reflect degrees of falling short of the hub players completeness in all the categories you usefully address.

    Ranking is a relational game requiring a standard.

    The player capable of being the hub is at the apex of your rank order.

    All of the categories you define are essentially degrees of falling short of the hub standard.

    But it’s your ranking, so I am only a consultant on this. 🤓

  • @BShark

    Self has many gifts and abilities as a coach, but one is his uncanny ability to reliably identify, develop, and scheme around hub players, especially knowing when to risk they are ready.

    If you hear scuttlebutt that Self is viewing Dedric that way, then I would NEVER bet against Dedric in that role!

    Lawson has had the rep of having lots of stretch potential; ie, inside and outside on both ends.

    And Self has developed as many stretch talents as any D1 coach the last 10 years when you recall Rush, Marcus, TROB, Wigs, Perry, Josh, etc. Frankly I don’t recall any other coach the last decade developing stretch 3s AND stretch 4s, but I’m sure there must have been some.

    Self is human though. He is not as reliable in picking projects that can become the kinds of rotation players he will require. Jamari never quite became what he was apparently anticipating. Injury starting his third year or so probably had something to do with that shortfall. Jam only had a brief stretch of playing with both the uninjured potential Self sought to develop, and the developed skills one needs in D1. And even it was such a brief burst of lane driving and exploding for plays that it did not appreciably improve the stats HEM rightfully sights. Even so Self still got to 30 win seasons relying on Jamari quite a lot, so even in these sorts of players he is head and shoulders above most coaches. It’s doubtful Calipari would even take a flyer on players like Jamari at UK, though he appeared to some at Memphis.

  • Banned

    I don’t know? I kind of like Mitch. In this day in age of a player with a little talent leaving early. It’s kind of refreshing to see a player that will stick around for awhile. Will he be a super star? No. But I can see a Landon Lucas type senior year out of the kid.

    Ask yourself this question? After 4 years of Mitch? Who you going to really remember? Some OAD or old subpar Mitch that is only good enough to go over seas and play?

    I was lucky enough to hear a Kentucky basketball radio show a couple weeks ago in my travels. Talk about hard reality. One caller after another was calling in complaining they didn’t know any of the players, and no desire to. Seeing how they’d be leaving after the season was over anyways. It wasn’t something I hadn’t considered. Always thought UK fans were just giddy to have the top talent rolling in year after year. It was an eye opener for me.

    Everybody loves winning. Yet being a KU fan one of my greatest pleasures is seeing kids like Mitch gut it out for 4 years. You get to know them. You create a bond with them. You can actually see the improvement in their game. Take Svi for example? The kid is putting on a show this year. Showing aspects of his game I wasn’t sure was even there.

    Besides Mitch has a nice stroke from three land. LOL

  • I like Mitch, I really do. He tries hard and loves KU. He is fine to have on the roster. I don’t think anyone would argue that.

    Keep in mind with Landen though… if Doke stays healthy, even Landen doesn’t have a Landen sr year.

  • Banned

    BShark said:

    I like Mitch, I really do. He tries hard and loves KU. He is fine to have on the roster. I don’t think anyone would argue that.

    Keep in mind with Landen though… if Doke stays healthy, even Landen doesn’t have a Landen sr year.

    HUH? I’m a little confused. Help me understand what you’re saying. I’m a little slow too.

  • @DoubleDD LLs minutes with a healthy Doke go from 25 mpg to about 10 a year ago. The same is said for Mitch with a eligible Billy, prob only gets 8 or 10 a night.

  • Banned


    Oh I see. Yea good point. Yet take away the numbers and Mitch can step of the bench and be a player that doesn’t hurt but helps? Wouldn’t that be worth it?

  • Banned


    @kjayhawks helped me understand your point. Yea You would be right.

    Yet what be cooler than seeing Old Mitch starting on senior night with a star studded KU team?

    Ah man that would be great. Right?

  • DoubleDD said:

    Yet what be cooler than seeing Old Mitch starting on senior night with a star studded KU team?

    Ah man that would be great. Right?

    Yep, sounds awesome.

  • Some this and that , Stats to throw out for you interest : - - KU avg 94.2 ppg , - - -53.1 fg% - - - 43 % - 3pt - - 69.6 ft % - -42,4 rpg - -for a plus 8 on the boards - -20.8 assists per game - - 10 steals per game & 6.6 bpg - - -those 10 steals per and ^.6Blocks are pretty sweet.

    Now -for all you fence riders lmao - -just kidding now don’t go and get your drawers all in a bunch - -BUT if you wnna hop on Mitch’s train - -time to climb aboard - - - WOO - WOO - -all aboard. LOl.

    Mitch right now: 62.5 fg % - - 66.7 - -3pt % - - 83.3 ft % - - -3.8 rpg - - 13 blocks ( which leads the team ) - -15.4 mpg. - - Now his 3pt shot has increased dramatically from last year - he kept saying he could hit the 3 - - AND - - -he was 2-12 last year from the free throw line, HUGE improvement there also - -all in repetition. - -SO don’t delay - jump on the train enjoy the ride - -no room for nay sayers lmao. - NOW you all have to know or should know - I’m just a joshin, pulling your cords - don’t blow a gasket - -just messin around with Mitch for some yukes - well at least to a certain degree anyways But seriously I’m proud of his effort for sure. - - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @mayjay Your suggested 1-10 scale is terrific. We’re going to have to make good use of that going forward. Making the subjective to be objective shows how the subjective is most of the time objective – i.e., the eye test. The most reliable of all.

  • @DoubleDD He means that Lucas sits and Doke plays. Lucas would have been the backup.

  • @HighEliteMajor Thanks. What it showed to me is that to try put some distinctions into the ratings of current team members is almost problematic because they have played so well. We are pretty lucky to have such an athletic and talented team with no 1 to 3s among the schollies so far. Conf play might result in some moves.

    The key in the bottom half seems to be finding positives that may bump somebody up. Top half, find negatives that bump them down.

    It is the Wayne Seldens and Kelly Oubres that are hard for me because their brilliant play, if consistent, seems like it would have made them 8s at least, able to take over almost any game. But they did not do that nearly enough so to me they were 7s.

    Collison senior year was an 8.5 or 9. An interesting discussion could be had on Chenowith, whose reputation was not as good as it should have been. Rep probably would be 5.5 but career stats probably should earn him a 6 to 6.5. We might wish we had another one of those this year.

  • @jaybate-1.0 but again, I think your designation goes to usage. I like keeping it cleaner as proposed - a kinda neutral scale that transcends team.

  • @DoubleDD amen. UK fan at work has taken on the approach you described for the last several years. No buy in to the team. Will rejoice if they win, but even their last push to NC wasn’t thrilling to him.

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