• AFH has been called the Monarch of the Midlands.

    Well, Malik Newman monstered all over the Monarch!!!

    He was all over Naismith Court doing great things amidst a low amp performance by his Teammates and coach seemingly saving themselves for a maximum effort versus Trae Young and the Seven Dwarves in Okie Land.

    His line score is gaudy but actually understates how omnipresent and and active he truly was.

    24 points, 7 glassvacs, 7-7 from the FT line, 3-4 from treville.

    Malik even dished TWO ASSISTS!!

    Other Jayhawks came through at different moments, but Malik went off like a TOP GUN fighter pilot, when the chips were down.

    The guy literally lit the afterburners for some plays down the stretch.

    It was the kind of day I have been awaiting for from this big talent increasingly findind and fulfilling a role that fits both him AND Bill Self.

    This guy is a finisher! Hell, copy this. His new handle is: THE FINISHER.

    It took awhile to find the role that both Malik and Bill could both “see.”

    But WOW!!! Does this new suit ever fit!

    Look out, Big 12 Conference.

    The Finisher is here.

    He monstered at the Monarch.

    He is coming to an arena near you very soon.

    He did the mash…he did the monster mash!!!

  • @jaybate-1.0 Was this the same guy posters wanted to throw to sharks? No need to mention comments. Silly people trust Bill, don’t Bash the Mash.

  • jaybate 1.0 said:

    amidst a low amp performance by his Teammates and coach seemingly saving themselves for a maximum effort versus Trae Young and the Seven Dwarves


    Now that is really funny!

  • We were toast if he had not done a fly by on the tower. He went all Maverick on us. He is better than DG at driving down hill.

  • @Fightsongwriter DG gets there on the drive but doesn’t protect the ball, or throws it up wildly. Three that didn’t, or barely, hit the rim yesterday. Malik seems to get the shot off on his drives. Both are great at the FT line, thankfully.

  • @mayjay I was thinking the same thing when posting. Early on malik was not elevating at the rim and leaving everything short. Now he is exploding and finishing or getting fouled. DG is leaving And 1s on the table.

  • Gunman said:

    @jaybate-1.0 Was this the same guy posters wanted to throw to sharks? No need to mention comments. Silly people trust Bill, don’t Bash the Mash.

    Each player has certain things they can do and other things that they need to get better at.

    Malik is a Top Gun fighter pilot excellent at 1 on 1 dog fighting, but still learning at precision formation flying and coordinated attacking.

    A Naval aviator needs to be able to do both to be optimally useful to his wing, or whatever they call themselves these days. Not every encounter is a 1 on 1 dog fight; maybe not any; maybe only just stretches of any encounter are. There are group targets and group tactics. Malik appears to struggle some with group targets and tactics. Its not from flawed character, or being a selfish guy. Of that I am now convinced. Its a problem lots of physically gifted offensive players have. Like a lot of players, he struggles balancing flowing with the team and making plays within in the offense. Its an awkwardness at shifting between both. Talented, creative types often struggle at this. He easily does one, or the other, but finds it difficult to enable flow AND make plays, when the offense finally does come to him. Its a level of stimulation thing. Malik gets juiced, when the rock is in his hands and he is looking for attack lanes. Every antennae is up and tracking in those situations. But when he settles into the flow, his focus widens and his stimulation lessens; then, when the offense comes to him, he is often not on the razor’s edge of ready, and when the offense is going elsewhere he sometimes loses intense focus and anticipation. Almost every player that ever stepped on the sacred wood can relate for almost everyone has struggled with this balancing act at one level, or another.

    Malik would master this issue sometime next season, or the following one, if he were to stay, but he probably won’t, so we likely will never get to see Malik become a complete player in the traditional sense. Without that mastery, jumping to the professional level will be risky. He has buckets of ability and charisma and the NBA will take a chance on him. But EVERYONE in the NBA is already a master of both flowing and impacting. They are so masterful at transitioning from one to the other and back again at the NBA level that fans (even young players) often can’t tell when its happening. Fans forget the NBA players are running any offense at all, because the offense runs a shorter stretch, before the player creates, but good NBA teams are Swiss automatic watch movements rapidly setting up creative impact moments.

    Perhaps another helpful analogy for the NBA would be a great jazz quintet.

    Great jazz players are great at the group and individual levels of play; this bothness enables the great improvisational beauty of jazz–its seemingly vast spontaneity that somehow occurs within a distinct scheme. Great jazz and great NBA basketball have the fascinating, shared quality of chaotic (nonlinear) systems. They manifest near infinite variation within distinct limits and the trained eye can see the recurrent, “strange tendencies” that an untrained eye misses. There are a lot of great solo trumpet players that cannot fit seamlessly into a jazz combo and there are a lot of so-so trumpet players that can fit in seamlessly. But what makes great jazz are great soloists that can also blend in seamlessly, and move gracefully between modes in ways that contribute to elevating the group sound. Capice?

    Malik is a young man that can really blow a horn, and who can fit in, but who still appears to labor at times with changing modes gracefully and staying fully engaged in the flow.

    But when his jazz quintet needs a solo that reaches for the stars, or when his fighter wing needs to break down into 1 on 1 dog fighting, oh my, can this guy blow his horn, or manage his stick!

    Self tried to coach Malik up for awhile to help him get better at gracefully switching between flowing and soloing, but it got him thinking too much, as all new learning does to persons. Malik flailed awhile. Self may even have put him in toughening box lite for a while beyond our view. Regardless, as I have noted recently, Self apparently finally had to choose between helping him get better this season and re-tailoring his role to one that better fitted the stage of development he was at. Self has given him a bespoke suit, so to speak. And Malik, for his part, is increasingly wearing it like a second skin.

    Of course, there are no free lunches in the team and individual tailoring game (how’s that for compound mixing of metaphors?). Malik’s new suit affects Devonte and Vick a lot and Svi to lesser degree. But it appears the biggest tug in pre-existing group tapestry is on Vick. Vick has to step away from the plate (ooh, I’ve always wanted to mix metaphors willy nilly once to throw off those old teachers a bit, oh, say like Malik gaining off down the stretch of game and sailing beyond the horizon of Bill Self’s tidy game of Okie Ball!) a little more than would be optimal for him. A lot of folks are noticing that Vick is not quite the dynamic figure he was earlier on. No doubt some of Vick’s problems flow from wear and tear of his first full season in the saddle, maybe even an unreported injury masked by lingerie, plus some strung hams from opposing coaches studying his moves closely and finding tells, etc. But it also appears pretty likely that Self has gone to his Gunny Vick (holy cow, now its back to the Marines) and said something vaguely like, “Look, LaGerald, you have been playing fabulous and we wouldn’t be in the running, if you had not taken over and carried us much of the season, and I know you can keep doing it, and you are going to be the first option next season, but we need to get Malik untracked somehow. I’ve tried everything I can with Malik, but, well, he’s just kind of a year or two behind you on some things. But we’ve gotta have him clicking for a fourth threat to make us really special this season, you know, to nail down this 14th title, and give us a shot in March. So: LaGerald, you know the role of the glue two. You are frankly as good as anyone I have given that role to since Chalmers. (Self pauses and glances up at Chalmers jersey hanging above them.) What I need is for you to make room for Malik to be Malik for the next month or so, while he kind of figures things out. He is going to get the pixels for awhile. I’ve already talked to Devonte about it and he’s willing to lead us through this, but nothing can happen with out my gunny buying into this. So: whattya say, LaGerald, can I count on you to make Malik look good for awhile till he figures out who we are?” LaGerald gets it. He is smart and he is nobody’s fool, but he also knows that Self is right. They need a fourth for bridge in March (yeeeeaaaaaaaah not a bridge reference, too, I hear a Greek chorus of old professors screaming). LaGerald is as sore as he’s ever been. He’s already shown he can throw down 25, whenever Self says go sick’em. He can feed the fish for a month and keep the tank clean (koi? fish tank? to metaphor mixing hell with ya! Tom O’Donnell would have said.). Besides, Devonte is the one that is going to face the real headache. Devonte is who will have to throttle back just the right amount the last three minutes of games to hit the sweet spot between letting Malik run wild and Devonte stepping in to weave himself, or others back in to retain credible alternative threats. Man, Vick thinks to himself, there is more to this game than I thought. (LaGerald looks back at the rafters–not at Chalmers jersey–but at the 4 NCAA Championship bed sheets hanging limp. I want one of those, he thinks, I know I’m good. But I want to be a champion. I want to know what that’s like. I want to look Chalmers in the eye one day and know he got nothing on me. LaGerald looks back at Self. “Yeah, coach, I can do both.” Self beams. He loves both. Titles and rings are now more than just champagne wishes and caviar dreams.