KU Pulps Orange Boys: Graham Leads Win from Higher Dimension

  • What a flipping GREAT win!!!

    I am still luxuriating in it late this evening the same as I was 15 minutes afterwards.

    Boeheim enters the ranks of coaches that have spent a second half completely unable to figure out how Self is not just winning, but making the opponent look inept.

    Boeheim had his usual collection of arrogant longs that look like great basketball talents, but actually don’t know how to do anything but stand around in a zone and look like they are expending more energy whining about not getting calls and being made to look like basketball dorks, than guarding and running offensive sets.

    The chief difference between this collection of Boeheim’s long-handled garden hoes in tennies and his others that can be annoyingly hard to beat was the absence of a great point guard. Jim Boeheim without a great point guard exposes what a pitifully unimaginative excuse for a basketball coach he truly is. I kick him when he’s up, so I’m sure as hell going to kick him when he is down. I learned years ago that Boeheim needs a kick in the nuts whenever possible, because when ever he has a 5-star scorer outside, preferably at point, his arrogant smugness is intolerable.

    Here Coach Boeheim, let me put on my steel toed Danners with the scuff guard. There, they are on. And whack!!! One more swift kick to the nads for all the Fab Melos you’ve brought college basketball over the years.


    Now about the game.

    KU was lead by Devonte Graham’s 35 (?) poured down from some higher dimension I’ve never had the pleasure to have played on, and LaCobra Vick’s 20. Note that was Graham’s second 30 point outing and that Graham played the full Monty (40 minutes). There were stretches of the first half where he looked positively human, but he kept his team in the game, while the newbies discovered the irritating experience of patiently probing a 2-3 zone staffed with whining, cheap-shot artists. The newbie Jayhawks struggled with the simplicity of what had to be done to shred the de-legendary Syrxcuse zone. Let me nutshell it for you before returning to LaCobra.

    Possession 1: throw the ball to the high post man standing on the mid point of the free throw line. He turns and looks down the lane, but pitches it to an open wing that trifectates. That was easy.

    Possession 2: point drives right, passes through seam to low post right in a seam of the base line of the 2-3; low post right then pitches out to Svi in corner, Svi pots a triceratop. That was easy.

    Possession 3: point passes to wing, wing reverses to point, point to back side wing, drive seam toward lane and lob to the Cobra (Vick) ranging sideline to sideline on the baseline. That was easy.

    Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Till Boeheim whines. Then repeat some more.

    That was easy.

    That’s all there is to it. Nothing else. But as often happens to teams with newbies facing Boeheim’s zone the first time its just hard to break the habit of running the offense and doing a lot of die-doe moves Self has tried to install for the game to give Boeheim something slightly different to sleep through. Then about 8-10 minutes in with Self red enough to fry eggs on his neck, someone new, like Mitch Lightfoot gets the wrath of God treatment and Self looks down the bench for some familiar face that’s got some facial hair and knows the play book Some years its someone decent. In lean years, its just someone that Self would trust to take his daughter out on a date. They don’t have to be great. All they have to be able to do is walk and chew gum and find the mid point of the free throw stripe and stand their and call for the ball and catch it and not do something stupid with it. This year, that savior of Self was–drum roll please–Clay Young. Clay Young’s line score does not look like much, but he was a crucial to KU’s victory today as Cole Aldrich was in the semi final game against UNC in the magical year of our basketball lord 2008 AD. Clay Young allowed the team to discover just how little everyone had to do against the whining giants of the Empire State. Find the seams, make the shots. No French pastry. No complicated plays. Clay Young was glue personified today. Next time someone tells you glue doesn’t matter, or anyone can do glue, remember this game. There were a lot of guys with fast twitch muscle and serial stars after their recruiting rankings and there were bigger guys, and faster guys, and more skilled guys, and guys with better looking cars not even on the road trip to Miami, and NONE of these guys could give the Birds what they most needed at that moment: someone to just get to the spot, catch, pass. and do no harm. Someone that actually saw where the seams were to stand and to throw to. What Clay Young did was so simple it was contagious. Suddenly every Jayhawk seemed to go: aha! I get it now. And after Clay’s 9 minutes his job was done and he quietly retired to the bench and that was it for him for the night.

    Now, let’s get back to starters.

    The Cobra “only” played 37 minutes, but on an “off shooting night” still roamed the baseline endlessly leaping out of his wicker basket and stabbing his fangs into the orange rim for 20 points, while grabbing 8 rebounds, only one shy of the footer Doke the Buke. Oh, and when he finally got the hang of high posting, he got 7 assists, too. I still don’t think he really “understood” the high post, but he did it finally and KU pulled away.

    Since The Cobra is my new nickname for Vick I should explain it. He is so named, because of his incredibly skinny legs that rise up to shoulders that flare out like a Cobra hood and gather in to an endlessly watching, sensing and menacing pair of eyes and because of this players tendency to kind of sway around not doing a lot for several seconds at a time before then striking with blinding quickness. The Cobra struck the Orange Boys repeatedly, injecting them with points and his unique venom each time.

    Next Malik. Well, Malik just discovered what it feels like to suck on national television amongst some teammates having great games.Talk about getting his ego put in perspective. It will probably single handedly turn his season around. Malik disappeared. Invisible 5-star. His face showed his frustration. By the end he was demoralized. But you know what? Self forced him to own it and kept him in. And Malik kept fighting to do doing his job the best he could on a night that starkly dramatized the bottom one third of human performance Self talks about players having to deal with. But he will probably come back and go off like a roman candle next game.

    Azuibuke did not have an impressive game, and got fouled up, BUT he still eeked out 6 points and 9 boards in prime time. If this is an off game for Doke, then he has come a long way. This was prime time and 6 points and 9 boards against a long bunch with its own footer, like Cuse, is not abject failure. Doke showed that he too can keep struggling and contribute, even when things aren’t breaking his way. This is something to carry forward. At the same time, Doke learned today just how tough it is to be a starter in D1 against a D1 Major. He has a lot of getting better to do.

    Svi? Svi had a so-so night statistically, and got fouled up, but I likes the way he TOO struggled through adversity and played a kind of ugly game that he needs to be able to do. This was the kind of floor game I always hoped to see him play, when the going got tough against a big team. Svi was getting in there and mixing it up with the Syracuse bigs, as if he himself were a big. This is how Larry Bird used to do it on his off nights. He went inside and stuck it in their ears. Svi appears not to be a trash talker, like Bird, but he has developed his own version of the hard case look and ice-cold stare. My favorite play of all that he made was when he went up and stuffed their footer. He didn’t get credit for a block, but it was sweet nonetheless. Svi can really get up! He is not super quick-footed, but the guy has Tyrel Reed like spring. He has come a long way from the wild point guard to the stretch 4 trying to model Larry Bird. He’s not completely their but he can make it this season, if he doesn’t get discouraged. Remember Ty keeping his 41-inch vertical a secret all those years, while he tried to build up his foot speed strengthen his upper body? Self may have to ask Svi to use his springs the same way Self had to ask Tyrel to start using his. Svi was good for 11 points, 4 boards and 4 assists. Looks modest, but he really seemed a presence on the floor.

    Which brings us to Mitch Lightfoot and Marcus Garrett. Um, these two proved not ready for prime time. Since the same thing happened against Kentucky, we have to call this a reliable indication of what their capabilities are right now. Both produced lines comparable to walk-on Clay Young. But where Clay Young, a 6-5 senior walk on, oozed constructive glue for 12 minutes, two scholarship players found themselves both unable to glue and unable to impact. Mitch and Marcus oozed goose eggs and fouls, same as Clay Young, but Clay Young made the team play better and they did not. Mitch Lightfoot could not even find a single rebound, which is something he ought to be able to do at his height. Garrett, to his credit, did grab a couple caroms. Mitch and Marcus flaming out was especially chastening for this team. Self might as well get Sosinski practicing. And if de Sousa can get admitted, we need him in a big way. Syracuse was long inside, but they weren’t good long, just long. Its a little concerning to think about bigs having to go up against a major with a big man rotation of truly good players.

    But one of the things that made this such a sweet victory was that KU was playing small at all 5 positions for significant lengths of time against a very long Syracuse and our guys adapted and made it look like something they could live with. It was a superior effort by our shorties and it was a fine job of coaching by Self.

    At the end of the day, Boeheim was clueless how a bunch of runts had taken his longs to the cleaners.

    But KU did take them to the cleaners. KU made Syracuse look like a not very good team today. KU made them look bad in fact.

    And that felt good.

    Real good.

  • 💯 👍 Mitch did take a couple charges when the game was still in the balance. I felt he impacted the game a bit more than Garrett. Garrett drew a ridiculous foul by moving laterally into a guy I think. That was about it for positive (?) impact.

  • @jaybate-1-0 Can you imagine if Boeheim had half a brain and did some iso posts with young guarding a 6-10 guy? With Clay on the floor we outscored the orange by 9! We struggled to get a couple boards but that was it. Their players were uber long and uber athletic but have zero BBall IQ…lets chuck another contested three and not take it inside against their midgets! I was surprised at how bad they were.

    Svi: the time with Hudy has paid off. He got several 50/50s and boards because he was just stronger and could not Be shoved off his spot.

    Garrett/Dok: MG did have several lock Down moments on D and a number of good block outs I noticed…things Dok cannot do very consistently. Garret plays smart on D and was more valuable than Malik in that respect.

    Malik: with him offering nothing on O he did at least have one nice stick back. He is not showing me much. I was surprised we could win handily w/o him scoring double digits. Needs to drive it.

    Vick: love the nickname, it is perfect. He may have more killer instinct than Keith Langford and he is more athletic. He is doing it all. The oop was nasty!!!

    Davonte: keep this up and we may have b2b NPOY on our hands. On a night were it could have tuned into one of those 2-23 nights from 3 after our slow start, he just refused to see us lose a game we should never lose even tho we have no bigs. I really thought he was gonna get 40.

  • Great team win. Each game is different. There will be games where players like Marcus Garrett and Mitch Lightfoot will shine. They are outstanding basketball players. Devonte Graham has patiently waited, and now it is his time to shine. Malik Newman will win games for us this year. He is an amazing talent and will get opportunities to show what he can do. Vick and Svi are seasoned veterans and it shows. At this point, it does not appear that opponents can “speed up” our team into making countless mistakes. We are able to move the ball and show patience running the offense. It is a joy to watch everything come together. Udoka is still figuring things out, but is off to a great start. Looking forward to Preston, hopefully getting cleared. I am sure he is ready to show what he brings to the program. 7-0, and a long way to go. Enjoying the ride as usual. Go Jayhawks!

  • A very good win…no question. I was surprised Self praised our defense as much as he did. I thought, particularly in the 1st half, our best defense was Cuse missing open shots. But they are not a great scoring team.

  • "Which brings us to Mitch Lightfoot and Marcus Garrett. Um, these two proved not ready for prime time."

    I think it was a one-off. The most complex zone in college basketball. The same thing could be said about Newman, who looked awful. Exotic defenses do that to players. Look at the first 10 minutes of the game- even DG looked tentative. This is the tallest team in America. Like Devonte said in post game- it is one thing to practice against a zone, and quite another to face it in real time. By a weird scheduling quirk, our next game is against Boeheim’s long term assistant, who runs the same 2/3 zone. I expect we’ll see better performances from Garret, Lightfoot, and Newman because it won’t be as big of surprise this time.

  • @KUSTEVE That is a good observation. I thought Marcus looked tentative and confused. When you think about it…makes sense against one of the best zone defenses you will see. Only played 8 minutes. He did make some good defensive plays though…as usual.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Copy and Paste! Nice writeup! I love colorful language in writing and that was a masterpiece!

  • This is great, classic @jaybate-1-0


    Very nice analysis. The zone is something that can be difficult to face, particularly the one by the master of the system, and you are absolutely correct that Young’s experience and basketball IQ gave him an advantage over Lightfoot and Garret and this is why he played more minutes.

  • @jaybate-1.0 On Svi, he had another play I thought was pretty legit against their equally as tall freshmen near the basket. Svi stuffed the guy and it went off his hands out of bounds. Replay showed it but the refs called it off Svi. See Svi pointing the right way and trying to argue non verbally with the ref, then just stares him down and shakes his head no after not getting the call. I loved it. Ice cold.

  • @approxinfinity Ahhh yah I thought Mitch sacrificing his body for the charge a few times was pretty dammed awesome. Big boy stuff

  • Thx 2 all 4 the strokes.

    Now let’s see if our Birds can sweep the 2 in 4 vs. Washington and Zona State coming next!

    Yeeeee hawwww!

    Basketball season in full swing is the next best thing to being young again!!!

  • @jaybate-1.0 said:

    Basketball season in full swing is the next best thing to being young again!!!

    Amen! Living in the afterglow of last night’s drubbing.

  • @jaybate-1.0 A real pleasure to read… classic jaybate.

    Winning feels good. I think I’m going to feel good a lot this year.

  • jaybate 1.0 said:

    Thx 2 all 4 the strokes.

    Now let’s see if our Birds can sweep the 2 in 4 vs. Washington and Zona State coming next!

    Yeeeee hawwww!

    Basketball season in full swing is the next best thing to being young again!!!

    Washington should be cruise control. They are actually ranked lower than some of the rummies we have been playing.

    I like the Cobra nickname for Vick. We need more for other players. 😂

  • @BShark

    I’LL work on more nicknames, but I’m only usually good for one a season. Probably others will come up with better ones.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @jaybate-1-0 , @BShark we have Svi for three, and Moonlight Graham tho no one uses it. Udunka works lol.

  • @kjayhawks

    Ah, yes, UDUNKA; that’s the best one.

  • Slam, Bam, Thank You Graham!

  • Full Monte Devonte!

  • 3tae

  • Galloping Garrett! Lol

  • Svi MykSkyliuk

  • @kjayhawks

    • Svi - The Ukrainian rifle (remember Eric Piatowski?), the Sniper, the Sviatinator
    • Vick- Vick-torious, of course
    • Devonte - The baby-faced assassin, although Curry goes by that one. Devonte Graham “I will ring your Bell.”
    • Newman - Hello Newman!!!
    • Doke -Sir dunk-a-lot. Don’t forget other teams will play “Poke-a-Doke” to take advantage of his poor FT shooting.
    • Lightfoot - I’ll Mitch slap you.
    • Garret - The Mongoose.
    • Young - “Cassious, I punch above my height class” Clay

  • @JayHawkFanToo I like the Ukrainian Rifle

  • jaybate 1.0 said:


    Ah, yes, UDUNKA; that’s the best one.

    I’ll take credit for that one! You can look it up!

  • Damn it lol I thought I had that one 😀

  • @Fightsongwriter

    Many coaches, Self included, cannot bring themselves to isolate on mismatches. I have never understood it. They don’t hesitate to isolate on a guy with 3-4 fouls, but they refuse to feed a guy a foot taller than another guy. Go figure!

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Way to break out with the humor!!!

  • @kjayhawks I’ll let you have credit! I do remember on the day he signed writing that nickname for him, but maybe you said it first!

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Put this in my closing statement for the defense of the 4-guard offense…

    Not only did we hold our own against the Cusey’s bigs… we also made their high-pressure zone and press look “no pressure” and almost worthless.

    There were a few times I thought they might catch us on their press… but then Devonte (or another one of our guards) just cut through it like a piece of soft cheese. Man… I can think back through the years when we could have used these 4 guards on the court!


    If we can control the pace every game moving forward, good chance we go undefeated! Yep. You heard me right! But I know we will probably let down in some games and give in to the opposition’s pace.

    Did you notice how we sped up the Orangies? They had a lot more TOs than usual, and often they took contested treys.

    What a joy! That is what I enjoyed most from this game. We played OUR GAME! It seems like at least half the time we have to beat our opponent playing their game.

    Consider how many of our key players had subpar games… and we still won with relative ease.

  • @drgnslayr

    I agree. Self seems to be moving toward dictating tempo, rather than playing it any way they want. Something is changing. It was absolutely weird how easily we took them, given how much longer they were. Usually when small teams play long ones the longs get lots of blocks and alters. Not this time. This was the opposite extreme of bad ball. Ku refused to drive on them, even when it seemed the right thing to do. Compare how little Devonte and Vick drive it this season compared with how often Frank and Devonte drove it last season, and how much more KU drove 2 seasons ago. This is a radical shift in strategy, not just this game, but the whole season. It is striking, too, because Devonte and Vick could drive it very effectively. This suggests Self is massively buying into the spacing thing and that he has decided that these guys are all such good trigger men and so quick that he NEVER wants them taking contested shots. He seems to be saying try to get open close, but if you can’t, then get open farther out, and whatever you do get open soon. It’s a sea change for Self. It’s also expedient, since he has so little depth to work with and wants to minimize injuries to his starters.

  • Great posts all!

    First half was a struggle. No way around that.

    Man can Devonte shoot lights OUT when he wants to. I think he sensed his team needed a Senior moment and we got one.

    Vick was awesome. Once he got a little more comfortable figuring out what to do with the ball in the high post that changed the game for us.

    Doke was brought down to earth. He seemed off. His lack of urgency to rebound is troubling for someone his size. Self has to light that beast up. This was a great game for him to learn some things.

    Clay definitely earned his keep Saturday.

    Great Team win. Great individual performances

  • @drgnslayr @jaybate-1-0 Svi and Devonte eradicated their length by shooting and canning NBA 3s. Most D1 guards can’t do it, and of course the Orange knuckleheads could not adjust. They inched out a bit at top of key but then DG got it to Vick. Our range and accuracy did them in, Newman not withstanding. They were totally unprepared to address guards with our range and passing ability.

    Move ball to open spot (near or far); shoot with no one within 3 feet; can shot; make cool celebratory gesture. Repeat. Simple as putting the old volleyball in the peach basket.

  • BUT!! According to Bohemian the zone was near perfection and if it wasn’t for that pesky Devonte they would have done fine! Evidently they controlled everyone else!

    If you can stomach the “other” site http://www2.kusports.com/weblogs/tale-tait/2017/dec/4/boeheim-says-grahams-monster-effort-not-/

  • Boeheim’s comments are just an excuse to how badly he was out coached by Coach Self and how his vaunted zone defense was rendered worthless by KU.

  • Jim BONEheim never met an opponent he couldn’t diminish.

    It’s why he appears to be genuinely, deeply disrespected by colleagues and knowledgeable fans.

    He’s not just a poor loser. It apparently goes to the deepest part of what he uses as a substitute for character.

  • @BeddieKU23 I’m wondering if the lack of depth is what is keeping Doke from chasing after rebounds more aggressively. We can’t get a silly foul over the back from him right now.

  • Kcmatt7 said:

    @BeddieKU23 I’m wondering if the lack of depth is what is keeping Doke from chasing after rebounds more aggressively. We can’t get a silly foul over the back from him right now.

    It could be, however I find it hard to believe that his coach will be happy with his effort in that area on Saturday. This is more then a 1 game sample as well I don’t think generally he’s rebounded well this season to date. That’s a major weakness for his prospects of the next level if he can’t at that size be a + rebounder.

  • @Kcmatt7

    Rebounding is all about position and opportunity. Some of the better rebounder in the game are/were not necessarily tall but know where to be; obviously it requires basketball IQ. Mason, often the shortest player on the court got a lot more rebounds than most people think he would because he knew where to be; of the regular rotation players only Lucas and Jackson averaged more rebounds than him. Doke could rebound in HS by virtue of his height alone but in college it is quite different and he is not a natural rebounder. This not to say he could not become a good or even great rebounder but at this time it is what it is.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I was amazed Cuse did not pound it inside when Clay was in. He did a great job on both ends but they really didn’t test him too much. Cuse did hurt us when they came back a little by driving it. If I were Self I would concentrate our defense on that when the big guy is out particularly.

  • @Barney

    Good insight. Bet he will, too.

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