Are We Into "Cancer" Territory With Newman?

  • It appears my proclamation that Malik Newman had the switch turn on was a bit premature.

    Unfortunately, the tea leaves indicate that we may be venturing into “cancer” territory. As in, is Newman a cancer to this team? A question worth considering.

    Newman arrived here a noted prima donna. Newman has been in the Kansas culture now since summer of 2016. But read Bill Self’s quote, from February 10, 2018:

    “No, not at all,” Self said asked if KU’s team chemistry was where it needs to be. “We know what we need to do to be pretty good and have a chance to really compete at a relatively high level. The players haven’t quite bought into that totally yet. It’s getting late in the season to see if they are going to buy into it."

    “I thought his attitude in practice was better,” Self said of Garrett. “Malik in my opinion didn’t deserve to start. I’m really kind of tired of starting guys that don’t really put themselves in a position from what we need to do (from an) intangible standpoint of being out there.

    “Because to me it’s not about winning and losing from that perspective. It’s about, ‘Hey this is what we need to do to be good. This is what we need to do in order to give us the best chance.’ If guys won’t do that … I’m tired of rewarding guys to start whenever I feel like those things are not taking place. It doesn’t have anything to do with making shots. You can miss all the shots you want to. At least from an intangible standpoint, give us stuff.”

    Is Malik Newman a cancer on this team?

    There clearly seems to be issues between Malik and Svi. Don’t know the details, but it seems obvious. Go to 2:24 of the first half yesterday. Newman was subbing in for Svi on our defensive end of the court, in front of our bench. As Svi goes off the court, he angled toward the scorer’s table where Newman was entering the game, presumably to slap hands. But Newman completely ignores him, with the kind of look past him thing. Svi stops before getting to him and goes at an angle back to the bench with a kind of “whatever” body language.

    This appears unmistakable and obvious.

    Now, ask yourself, have you ever seen Malik and Svi slap hands or acknowledge each other all season? One thing I can tell you is that I’ve been looking for it since @jaybate-1-0’s observation in the first quarter of the season. Just one time, to place in my memory bank. Don’t have one. The very obvious item back last year that @jaybate-1-0 pointed out, and that was clear in looking at the video after Svi has a nice assist to Newman. All this seems to demonstrate is that there is something wrong in the dynamic between Malik and Svi. We don’t know anything more.

    However, when we piece together all that we have seen, all that we have heard, Newman out of the starting lineup at various intervals, Self now blatantly calling him out in mid-February – what is going on with Malik Newman? We know what we see. We know that Newman is one of the most talented players on the team, between his ability to get to the rim and shoot from outside.

    Why would a guy like this ever be out of the starting lineup? The answer lies elsewhere.

    Is Malik Newman a cancer on this team?

    Bill Self before yesterday’s game, in the pregame radio interview, said quite clearly that he had hoped that Newman would be our second point guard, a guy that could initiate the offense. But that “hasn’t worked out.” He cited Vick, as well.

    Newman’s NBA aspirations rely upon him being a guy that can function with the ball in his hands. Yet, he cannot even handle the role of “initiating the offense” on this team, for say, 6 minutes a game? That is more of an indictment that anything else – Bill Self saying, “that hasn’t worked out.” Why? What is a reasonable conclusion? I’d say selfishness might be – a refusal to do what the coach wants him to do. Me first.

    Is Malik Newman a cancer on this team?

    I do wonder about one player’s impact on other players on the team. The cliques that develop. And I don’t know how those cliques involve players that don’t have the most stellar reputations, that are sitting out (Lawsons). Here’s what I do know. Bill Self has won 13 straight Big 12 titles with varying personalities and talents. I do know that we are on the verge of doing something that Bill Self’s teams have NOT done in the last 13 seasons. And Bill Self is acknowledging chemistry in mid-February.

    When you take transfers, you take a player that reached a point of dissatisfaction that he would leave a situation. In many cases, that player is someone else’s problem.

    What I find interesting, and again, just taking pieces of info we see trickle out – we know Evan Maxwell left midway through last season. We know Dwight Coleby and Jack Whitman left unexpectedly, with Coleby’s departure tied to playing time. We know Dedric Lawson was suspended and didn’t make the Italy trip. We know that Mitch had the suspicious broken nose. None of this has implicated Newman.

    But I just wonder what cliques have developed and how that is impacting the team. I wonder if certain players were purged or had simply had enough. Guys that don’t “buy in” can impact guys that do. And I wonder how attitudes that don’t “buy in” are impacting this team right now.

    Is Malike Newman a cancer on this team?

    Bill Self very clearly agreed that “chemistry” is an issue. That is a huge warning sign – chemistry – not “buying in.” The way the team interacts and reacts. To me, most fingers point Newman’s way, knowing that those might not be the exclusive fingers that deserve pointing. Bill Self removed Newman from the starting lineup, pointed out is failings, and said generally, “The players haven’t quite bought into that totally yet.” He referenced the word “compete.” Clearly, Newman is at least one of those players, but possibly the main culprit.

    What I do know is that Self purposefully identified that what Malik was doing was not giving us the “best chance” (presumably to win) in mid-February. Maybe the guy with the most overall talent on this team. Certainly the highest rated player.

    Is Malik Newman a cancer on this team?

    The fact is, the question is now worth considering.

    But the truth is, I don’t have a “for sure” answer. But if I was told I had to bet $1000 of my own money either way, I would bet yes.

    When I see what I saw on the tape yesterday at 2:24, something I don’t recall ever seeing in the recent past of KU basketball, it is striking to me. I couple that with zero interactions between the Newman and Svi. I add that to Newman’s prima donna reputation. I see him not assimilating until the premature light switch call, and now that seems gone. And I hear the words from our coach, again, about a supposed star. It is striking to me when I hear Bill Self discussing a top 10 player who is now in his third year of CBB, second season under arguably the best coach in CBB, being taken out of the starting lineup (again) for still not getting it. All this with the coach acknowledging chemistry issues on a team rolling out uninspired, poor performances.

    On Hawk Talk last week, Self discussed how a team cannot succeed if a coach is required to coach “effort” at this point in the season. The guy was telling us what we needed to know.

    If Malik Newman is really a cancer on this team, then we really are doomed. Are there co-conspirators? Vick? If Newman is a cancer, then it’s a disjointed mess destined for a first weekend bow out. If he’s something short of that, if it is a situation that has room for movement, then all is not lost. But I am more concerned about this team now, than I ever have been this season.

  • @HighEliteMajor Certainly worth considering. Something clearly is going on with this team. One aspect, I believe, is that the lack of depth only allows Self to “punish” players who don’t put forth the effort so much. And as several have pointed out, a lineup with Garrett and Mitch leaves us with only 3 offensive threats on the floor.

  • Imo Self needs to just start De Sousa starting right now. If KU has a shot at making a deep run De Sousa has to get up to speed. It might also fix the cancer problem? Everyone on this site always states Big 12 titles don’t matter. Our guys are good BUT if cancer is the problem then remove it from the body. There is no treating cancer. Just remove it. Bench him until his attitude changes and play De Sousa.

  • Not sure Self can handle playing De Sousa much. He just really doesn’t know what he is doing and Self hates that.

  • Some millennials have a nose for inconsistency and are not afraid to call it out (e.g., who really cares if I start since you are going to play me 32 minutes anyway). Often, they do not respond to humiliation, being taunted, or having their manhood/womanhood challenged. A ‘Baby Boomer’ is let in only when the ‘Baby Boomer’ can prove his/her value to the millennial, not vice versa. Right now, neither side is seeing much value in the other and the dirty laundry is piling up. I suspect the team is divided because a faction would willingly give their ‘first born’ to Coach Self while others are staging a revolution.

    Have you spent time or interacted with Doke? I have twice and would say both times that he could make Mother Teresa appear a tyrant (and I mean no disrespect to Mother Teresa). I often wonder if his seemingly ridiculous fouls are simply his way of getting back to the bench so that he can get out of the line of fire and placate his restless team mates.

    In the absence of an effective formal leader (regardless of reason for the ineffectiveness) an informal leader will naturally emerge. I have wondered who the informal leader is this year because I definitely believe there is one. I think @HighEliteMajor makes convincing points to consider Malik that person. Prior to his post, I had pondered Vick – quiet assassin type who somehow flies below the radar yet gets others to engage in malfeasance (e.g., Jackson beating up Vick’s girlfriend’s car).

    This season would make one heck of a movie or better yet a book written from each stakeholder’s perspective. Sadly though, we are dealing with real life and nothing about this feels good or exciting.

  • @BShark I agree, but man, why couldn’t he have given him one more chance after that obvious push off?

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I really think we still don’t have all the necessary information to make a definite assessment. However, you have obviously looked at the issue in great detail and have put a lot of though into it trying to verify it with the sketchy information available and certainly make good points and formulate a valid hypothesis, again, based on the information at hand.

    If what you formulated turns out to be in fact what is happening then we can safely guess that Newman is not comming back, something I said it would happen a while back, albeit for wholly different reasons.

    The question is…what happens moving forward? Any chance of Vick returning to his pre-conference level? Has the team given up? I would think that no one in the team wants to be remembered as the team that broke the streak, but again, how the younger generation thinks and what it’s priorities are appears to be significantly different that that of my generation.

  • Great post. Even in the classroom one bad seed makes learning very hard for all the others. We need some prima Donna weed killer.

  • @HighEliteMajor Very interesting read. And we wonder if Vick is aligned with Malik somehow, as his play stinks worse than Newman’s.

    You always wonder about players who directly said (Doke) or who’s parent directly said (Malik’s dad) that they “will only play 1 year”. In my opinion that’s a bold prediction. So they gave us a great clue as to their working mindset—how can it not be me-first…unless they realize & learn where their own game is at, and show a little humility.

    Take a lesson from Trae Young, who is all about his team, and whose dad said he may well stay longer than a year, depending on what he’s got to learn, & how it goes (I got no issue with that open-minded statement, be it for public consumption or not). At least play the part (of a team). The sad fact is Self’s play style needs all its role players and pieces, with most starters being multidimensional. But if we dont perform our jobs, the team breaks down.

  • @CRH107 Interesting generational angle. We saw the old ball, baby boomer style fade out of relevance with Bobby Knight. But what of Gen X’rs? I happen to be in that group, as is Self, MJ, etc…I’d still put them in the earn it/work ethic category…but its much more individualized, than in other generations.

    In support of what you said, I’d agree that my 19yr old son is fairly unflappable, cant seem to challenge his competetiveness for nuthin’, yet he’s a college scholarship tennis player & is able to compete in his own way. Whereas I still quietly & privately take it “personal” if someone Im guarding in pickup basketball scores on me.

    How much of this plays into a kid’s fire & mojo, who knows. Each years team has its own mix of key personalities. God, I miss Frank and Josh! They were easy for my spirit to relate to, in how they played & carried themselves.

    Alphas that get the big picture just dont grow on trees.

  • Team chemistry is obviously a problem right now for the coaching staff. I have wondered for some time what the Cundiff problem might be, just figuring that he was reluctant to buy in to Bill Self Basketball. As HEM points out, when a program brings in players who have not adjusted well to other coaches and programs, there could be explosive issues at hand. Not only the 3 scholarship players who are sitting out, but also Newman and Cundiff came to KU as transfers who were dissatisfied with their former collegiate choices and situations. Toss into that group Vick, who has a history of misjudgments, and that amounts to a total of 6 scholarship units who might, in part, represent core distraction. Obviously, something is affecting the positive unity of this current team. Can the Jayhawks win 3 of the last 6 league contests? Even if that should transpire, no way the league title will be won with a total of 7 losses. And, right now, 3 more wins would appear to be very optimistic. It is amazing how the bottom tier of teams has gradually knocked off the early top tier. As some commentator recently declared, every team in the Big 12 could probably survive the first game of play in the NCAA Tournament. This far into the season, if Bill Self is capable of overcoming and turning around the attitudes and team efforts of his players he will go down as a hoops mastermind. This squad is on the verge of collapse. And all the while, Devonte Graham has to be on the court 40 minutes per game. Of course, this current mess did not occur overnight. Bill and staff made the decision long ago to enter this season without a full slate of available players; and they might not have done due diligence in the recruitment of Billy Preston and family. Devonte and Svi each could have moved on from Lawrence last spring, tho without optimal draft expectations. They committed to return…and are stuck in a quagmire of sorts.

  • @Hawk8086 It would be nice if we could get a nice 20+ point lead with around 5-6 minutes left. And Coach could go to SDS and say, “you are finishing out the game. Don’t think, just play.” It would be better if on the road so he would not have the pressure of the home fans on him. Don’t look like that will ever happen, but it is the only way to find out if he is going to get it. Can’t happen in practice and damn sure can’t happen playing one or two possessions.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Really thoughtful and rationally detached exploration of the topic.


    I think things are going to work out much better than most expect at this moment.

    Self is trying like hell to drive this team together.

    History indicates Self will use most anyone as a scapegoat to trigger the team to rally to that player’s defense and so forge a team.

    Self is getting frustrated for sure.

    But at the same time, it is very clear that Self thinks this team can accomplish much more than it is.

    Self is trying to provoke them into transcending themselves by becoming a true “team” instead of a bunch of shooters.

    Self is risking everything.

    But that’s how he has always been.

    He plays to reach full potential.

    As he says, its not just about winning.

    Its about becoming the best we can be; that is what gives us the best chance of winning the most games, even if it also creates the possibility of catastrophic failure.

    I don’t believe he would do what he is doing if he did not think there was a reasonable chance to get to the next level.

    Malik is not the first guy he has thrown onto the team altar to get where he is trying to go.

    Probably won’t be the last either.

    Have you noticed that Devonte doesn’t even think twice about playing 40 mpg anymore. 40 is the new 30 for DG. He doesn’t even look like he’s breathing hard at FTs with five to go. I know he doesn’t have the pop he used to early in the season, but Devonte is now outside the envelope of pain, as they say in the marathon. Pain is now his friend. Pain and he walk together as teammates for 40 minutes. 40 is the new 30.

    Let us say that Malik is about to meet pain and have his chance to make friends. 🙂

  • I just don’t see the logic in this. If players are feuding, why would they shut down their play and kill their NBA potential? Vick was appearing on the radar screens of every single NBA team before conference play started. Now… he has faded into mediocrity.

    I think the issue is likely pot, if there is an issue off the court. All our systems point to pot: lack of energy, lack of focus, lack of drive. In fact… I’m having a hard time imagining anything else (at this point). By the way… if some guys are using while others aren’t (but know about it) this can create a heck of a lot of dissension on a team.

    I’ve been wondering this for a while. The BG story adds yet another possibility… that he may have been on his way back to Lawrence after a pot run to Colorado.

    I’m not accusing anyone here. It’s just an idea that can compete with the dissension idea.

    Pot is absolutely everywhere these days. Hard to imagine any D1 team not having some users on their team.

  • @REHawk

    Your mention of Cunliffe in this messy stew is timely and spot on.

    He is an outlier most of us have been overlooking.

    My wild guess is Cunliffe is a fiery competitor and opined in practice in a way that fried him, same as Russell Robinson once auto fried his first season.

    There are certain things that cannot be said to a coach in front of a team, even in the heat of a moment!

    Never mess with a scientist in the middle of a delicate experiment. Most players cross Self once or twice and wind up in basketball Siberia for awhile. Cunliffe is probably there right now.

    February is not the time that Self likes to coach fundamentals and common sense insights and “playing hard” and how to handle your teammates. Show him you need to learn those things in February, and you are bound for cry-genic ice, or the blood sacrifice altar that Malik now seems to be on.

    My hunch with Vick is that he’s just got too much tendonitis in those skinny knees of his and has never had to try to perform with this much pain. Hypothesis: he finally caved from the pain and said he can’t play because of the pain. Self then probably gave him a couple of chances to “man up” about it, and that didn’t work, so Vick is getting the treatment all players get that indicate to Self that they can’t play-through. He has been moved waaaaaaay down the depth chart as an unreliable for this season. Its not the end of the line for a player, unless the player takes it the wrong way. Self ONLY schemes around guys he can count on down the stretch, when there is no time for yet another rebuild. Self has done this before, too.

    I frankly don’t see the “chemistry” as being horribly messed up, as much as a few rough edges that Self has decided to grind down permanently, and at all costs.

    Losing appears to have a peculiar effect on Self.

    Most coaches lose and they appear to focus entirely on how to win the next game. They fine tune and get the next W.

    Self on the other hand sometimes seems to focus in instead on whatever is keeping the team from being the best that it can be, after a loss, especially after two.

    Fans say, “Well, all you’ve got to do is go back to playing the kind of ball you played during the recent good stretch.”

    Self seems to say, “No, this is rooted in the fact that we are no where near the best we could be playing this way, and it doesn’t really matter if I give it a little tweak here to win another game. We might as well get on with grinding this molar down so the mouthful of teeth can finally chew correctly.”

    To feel good about what Self is doing, fans, even other coaches, would have to understand the game as well as Self understands it.

    I don’t.

    But I have just grown to trust Self that his way gets there most of the time.

    And when it doesn’t, like it didn’t with Wiggins team, when Joel finally took a powder on coming back and Wiggins apparently just wouldn’t put the team on his back, well, Self just sends them out and lets them get put out of their misery, as he apparently did against Stanford and that’s that.

    There is a possibility that Self is letting this team be put out of its misery now, but I doubt it.

    I really think he can put this team back in its comfort zone any time he wants to and it will win most of the games the rest of the way.

    But unless he really grinds the big, deformed molar all the way off, this mess of teeth will never bite and chew the way its supposed to do.

    And that will lead to choking on a bite early in the tournament.

    If I read Self right, he thinks the team can bite and choke early in the tournament no matter what, so why not risk everything right now to see if he can give it a good set of chops that can may be avoid choking and get hot in March.

    Think about it.

    This team isn’t going anywhere in march, even with a proper molar grind if it isn’t hot in March.

    But if it were to get on a six game roll of 45-55% three point shooting as it got on for awhile this season, well, then this team could win a ring in march, if its teeth bite down just evenly enough to get it through one off shooting game.

    This team is absolutely murderer’s row when its shooting lights out. I really don’t think any team in the country can beat it, when DG, Malik, Vick, and Svi are shooting lights out. Nobody. Self isn’t stupid. He knows this.

    So Self is playing and scheming the team for a hot hand in March.

    He’s cutting Vick’s minutes to try to get his tendonitis under control.

    He’s putting Malik on the team sacrifice altar to try to grind down the rough edges that exist in team chemistry.

    And while he is doing this he is developing an old 3-2 high low scheme for this team to play, when it has a cold shooting night.

    This makes so much sense.

    When March comes, this team may, or may not have a 14th consecutive ring (I suspect it will tie for a 14th), but it likely will be coming out of its shooting slump by March and it will also have learned how to play and win a game with the 3-2 high low when the treys aren’t dropping from the 4-1.

    And wasn’t this what Self said he wanted all along–to be able to play it both ways?

    Rock Chalk!

  • @drgnslayr

    As I’ve said elsewhere, its always good to look at culture.

    And pot could be a driver, but I’m betting it is not.

    I think players like Vick and Malik that have come so far, just wouldn’t let pot come between them and a shot at the NBA. And if they were letting pot get the better of them, my hunch is that Self would simply dismiss, or cryo-ice them.

    See my other posts above and elsewhere, but to the point, I’m arguing Vick just doesn’t have the wheels to go anymore, maybe told Self so, and Self is maybe trying to taper him down to ease the tendonitis by March, but still needing to use him some because they are so shorthanded.

    In turn, Self’s retooling to build a team that can find a way to win without the treys dropping, so that he can play it either way come March. One game in six even a hot outside shooting team has an off game. This KU team has the guns to win it all if it gets hot. But it needs to be able to get through that one off game in six that even a hot shooting team has.

    I am out on a limb here.

    No one else seems to see it as I do.

    But its how I see it.

  • Ralster said:

    @HighEliteMajor Very interesting read. And we wonder if Vick is aligned with Malik somehow, as his play stinks worse than Newman’s.

    You always wonder about players who directly said (Doke) or who’s parent directly said (Malik’s dad) that they “will only play 1 year”. In my opinion that’s a bold prediction. So they gave us a great clue as to their working mindset—how can it not be me-first…unless they realize & learn where their own game is at, and show a little humility.

    Take a lesson from Trae Young, who is all about his team, and whose dad said he may well stay longer than a year, depending on what he’s got to learn, & how it goes (I got no issue with that open-minded statement, be it for public consumption or not). At least play the part (of a team). The sad fact is Self’s play style needs all its role players and pieces, with most starters being multidimensional. But if we dont perform our jobs, the team breaks down.

    PHOF even though its a little different than my take. Way to bring it.

  • @HighEliteMajor Just saw this thread now. Interesting inquiry into some of the intangibles that go into the concept of being a team.

    One answer to a question you asked: a couple of games after JB brought up the interaction, or lack thereof, between Svi and Newman, there was a major chest bump between the two right after one fed the other for a bucket during a loud run KU was making. I recall it because I planned on rewatching it and finding the time it happened, and I thought about posting it because of JB’s observation. But I didn’t do it right away, we started a kitchen renov, and other things happened.

    That is the only one I recall, though, and it may be meaningless in the big picture.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Actually… I am hopeful it is just a pot problem. That can be a much easier fix than most problems. It doesn’t have the same addiction characteristics like most drugs so we have a better chance of cleaning this up.

    How do we explain such a loss in drive? I’ve never seen a Kansas team with such little drive. Currently… pull out Devonte and Mitch and we wouldn’t see any drive.

    I can’t see how player fights would cause players to stop performing and going for their NBA goals. Pot will do that while keeping the players while in the illusion they still have drive.

  • @mayjay Malik led the team in assists. I don’t see it.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    This is not the question to ask. This is the most unproductive question for a team that is struggling to produce wins at this point.

    Your question is how should HOFCBS fix the problem. Sitting Newman is not an option. We are short and I think you let them play at this point and hope it clicks. It’s too late to start the chemistry crap or blame game.

    Let’s not create more questions. We have more questions than we do answers.

  • @truehawk93

    In fairness, Coach Self started the chemistry discussion but we all know it would end in a nanosecond if this team could just string together some much needed wins.

  • @truehawk93

    In his previous press conference Coach Self indicated that KU did not have enough players to replace all the starters he wanted to replace so Lightfoot was it…or words to that effect.

  • @JayHawkFanToo he didn’t say cancer

  • “We were obviously better three weeks ago than we’re playing right now." ~Coach Self

    Three weeks corresponds to the departure of Preston. Could be coincidental or the team could be missing his contribution at practices.

  • Crimsonorblue22 said:

    @JayHawkFanToo he didn’t say cancer

    Not that I recall; pretty sure I would remember if he did.

  • @Buster-1926 when Preston signed, coleby simply left because he wanted more time. The other guy? I don’t know, I’m guessing he was in way over his head and getting beat up in practice. In more ways than one🤭? Jk. Preston killed us and himself.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I agree with you 100%. With Preston playing to expectations KU is a legitimate top 5 team and strong Final Four candidate.

  • Great thread, enjoying everyone’s perspectives here. I was down on the team, & vented a couple of weeks ago…(like many royalty fans may be rt about now), but with this downward slide, its time to think macro, and analytically about what we may know, & speculatively about what we don’t know, that could be causing such poor performances.

    As chances for #14 get dimmer, we naturally wonder about why…and question the behind the scenes stuff.

    Regarding @drgnslayr’s theory about marijuana, I hope that’s not it. My 19 yr old son told me he thinks half his h.s. class was into pot, which I found astonishing. We wont discuss my fixed beliefs on pot x30yrs, as that’s not why we’re here…BUT Im very curious if BGreene was/is close with any current KU players…& if his plight is affecting those friends of his, which is natural.

    Team chemistry is an ominous revelation by Self. Last time we had that, it was Carl Henry’s manipulation of his son’s and attempted it on Self, who made the most incredibly polarizing no-holds-barred comment Ive ever heard of him making. That team was a 2nd round bounce by UNI, a nobody/who-dat?-team. We speculated alot back then about the various angles, and there were many.

    Why cant high-D1 athletes get it, when it comes to Self’s system? There’s enough years of examples to pave the way…didn’t Frank set the best example for most of these guys??

    It requires work, why fight it? No player is bigger than KU ball.

  • Regarding hurting NBA chances with pot use…I believe BG did that. And I speculate & wonder if that was part of Bragg’s problem?

    As far as Im concerned, any known factors affecting play & motivation simply need to be eliminated. For every kid fixated on recreational pot & trying to have work ethic to improve his high-D1 game (cancels out,eh?)…there’s 2 more athletes out there who dont use. But then when your Asst.Coach got busted for same few yrs back, & also one of your recent players (BG), maybe there’s more to this angle than I wish there was?

    And this is but ONE angle to speculate about…

  • Unfortunately the Baylor game was one of the only games this year I did not DVR so unfortunately I can’t go back and watch the interaction referred to in the OP. Is anyone tech savvy enough to find a way to post it here so we can all see it? Without actually seeing it, it would be tough for me to comment on it but will try. The pot thing scares me a ton and do think it could be a huge factor in some of the players’ actions. I saw it happen to teammates of mine in college. I’ve seen guys a semester away from graduating choose weed over going to class and getting the last few credits needed to graduate. Vick sticks out like a sore thumb to me and it definitely seems like there is something extra curricular going on. It may not be weed but it very well could be. Who is Vick’s roomate? Or Newmans? Does anyone know? I wonder if there is anything we can deduce from that.

    For what its worth, I recall hearing that DG and Newman were becoming pretty tight last year and some were thinking that it might be enough to lure DG back for his senior season. It would mean there was a change of events if the speculation in prior posts that DG is on “Team Self/Jayhawks” and Newman is on “Team Selfish” is correct.

    Lastly, nobody has mentioned it but another piece of info that may be applicable to the whole picture is the apparent change in recruiting that we’ve seen over the last few weeks. We now have Agbaji signed up for next year and still pushing hard for Langford. It seems like Self has no doubt there will be spots for both. To me, it sounds like no Vick and no Newman next year which ties into a lot of the posts made in this thread.

  • CRH107 said:

    “We were obviously better three weeks ago than we’re playing right now." ~Coach Self

    Three weeks corresponds to the departure of Preston. Could be coincidental or the team could be missing his contribution at practices.

    This is a really intriguing connection. Self kept selling the high probability Preston would be cleared and it didn’t happen. Maybe the team lost faith. Hmmm.

  • Basketball players know hoops. There is a possibility that once Preston left, guys on this team simply realized that they are outgunned and outmanned this season.

    As long as Preston was here, there was hope that the cavalry was coming. That’s not true anymore. Maybe they win the conference, but this team is flawed. We have been discussing the issues for weeks. Its not like the players are ignorant to that. They know this roster has holes. They know Silvio isn’t ready.

    And perhaps that has trickled into bad habits and poor attitude. We aren’t used to having a definite ceiling on a team, but this squad has a ceiling.

    There’s just not enough here to dream of a Final Four. And I think for some of the players, that’s affecting them.

  • I agree and I think part of that is Self’s fault for getting people’s hopes up, at least until the end. Once it kept dragging on for over a month, the writing was on the wall. Maybe it has affected them, maybe it hasnt. Wouldnt surprise me if it has.

    Buster, that is exactly what I said on another thread. No sense of urgency, hustle or smart play. Basically zero. No excuses for getting outhustled and out rebounded. Just pathetic to have that happen game after game. Like I said before, I’m ready for a new batch of players, ones that will hopefully see how important rebounding and playing defense are, because the current bunch doesn’t give a crap about fundamentals it seems.

  • @Buster-1926 I guess I missed all the smiling crap. What I do see is lack of a 5 man that can stay on the floor to score and rebound.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 he regularly hurts the team with his silly fouls. His second foul in the first half was just a head scratcher. Hopefully it will be better at that next season.

  • @HawkChamp I don’t think he likes it here. Gut feeling

  • REEFER MADNESS - Originally financed by a church group under the title Tell Your Children, the film Reefer Madness was a 1936 American propaganda film revolving around the melodramatic events that ensue when high school students are lured by pushers to try marijuana—from a hit and run accident, to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, hallucinations, and descent into madness due to marijuana addiction.

    As of October 2017, 64% of all Americans say pot use should be made legal.

    If any of the guys are smoking, you can bet they did not just pick it up recently. So any good games and HS highlights you watched of them were also while they were smoking. And if Self really thought it was an issue, $10 buys you an accurate drug test kit and he could put a quick end to it.

    And just for fun…On June 12, 1970, Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter despite being high as a kite on lysergic acid diethylamide, otherwise known as acid. Facing the Padres at the old San Diego Stadium, Ellis took the mound having dropped acid earlier that day and blanked the Friars. It was the first and only no-hitter of Ellis’ career.

    Am I advocating pot, acid, alcohol or tobacco use by KU athletes? Of course not, those all impair your performance. But blaming our current issues on pot… well that seems like something out of 1936 propaganda film to me.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Very compelling post. I see nothing to disagree with after Saturday. If Effort has to be taught this late in the season there isn’t much hope for what comes next.

    Tuesday will be a gigantic “gut check” game. We’ve been spoiled at KU for so many years about being able to look past a single game, however the fragile position we are in currently makes this the biggest game of the season. A loss certainly would seem crippling to the short term goals (Big-12 title) and long term goals (NCAA Tourney).

    Do you think that if Newman is an issue, why does he play? Doesn’t this fall back on our leader in charge? If we have guys that are not doing their job why play them? The easy answer is we have no depth, we have to field a team. It doesn’t seem as if the minor punishments (losing starting spot) have had any effect on Malik or Vick… So is Self ready to take the next step with the issues? I guess we’ll see.

  • @mayjay You must be the KU version of “Mythbusters”. You just blew up a narrative. Boom!

  • @RockkChalkk They said they were looking for 3 to 4 guards for next year before the season started. Nothing has changed.

  • @RockkChalkk @KUSTEVE The staff is looking at Tevian Jones too. I would say the staff knows there are going to be 2 spots (well 1 with Ochai on board now) available. Jones is a high upside athletic wing.

    @Crimsonorblue22 Doke? I’ve not heard that.

  • Hey, its just weird to see our guys get left standing still by some quick crossover—on a recurring basis. Are other guards really that much quicker? The crux of the problem is unable to get defensive stops. And a lot of that comes from within…mindset, pride, & honed technique.

    Are UVa’s athletes better than ours? (no). Is their coach better than ours? (no)

  • @Ralster Eh, maybe UVA is more athletic, I haven’t watched them enough to tell you. What I can tell you is Graham and Svi are not that athletic for the P5 level. It’s a big part of why Graham was ranked where he was and isn’t already in the NBA considering his jump shot. I like Graham and Svi a lot, but as we are finding out, they are more cogs than players you want being top players on your team.

    Vick is athletic but who knows where his mind is at right now?

    We don’t have much in the post after Doke.

    The biggest part of all of this is no depth. We saw it for years with teams like Iowa State. It’s tough when you only play 7 guys but it is even further exacerbated by having only two post players and God bless him but one of them is Mitch.

    It’s also pretty hard to defend well playing this style of ball without the right (special) pieces. Josh covered up a lot of things last year.

    How different would this team be with another legit big? Not even saying Preston was the answer, but he would have helped. Imagine this team with Ayton. That’s the huge miss.

  • If you don’t think many of the KU players smoke pot throughout the years you are misled. Pierce, Chalmers, Arthur are the biggest stars of recent memory, but many a roll player has also partaken. I had a roommate who was a pothead and one of Roy’s boys (Nick) used to sell him pot whenever one of Terry Allen’s guys wouldn’t. I’d be more surprised if the team was 100% clean.

    We can’t blame this solely on pot. The guys have to own it. It’s a few individuals lack of effort that is killing the team D. I never doubted Chalmers will to win. Pierce gave it his all. No Arthur, no Championship. This crop of guys just need to buy into the team and stop worrying about their personal stats/pro potiental as that stuff will take care of itself.

  • I have zero issue, absolutely none with players smoking marijuana.

  • @dylans I had a whole bunch of friends that got stoned with 3 or 4 players many times at Jayhawk Towers back in the day. I find it hilarious that we have a really bad game on the road, and all of a sudden, we randomly call out a player as a 'cancer" because he didn’t properly greet another player’s gesture ( although they did bump torsos two minutes later), and now we’re openly wondering if the whole team is on drugs. Friends like us- who needs enemies?

  • I don’t get that vibe from Doke at all. Weird.

  • Also, if we’re talking about recurring themes, lets look at this phenomenon that seems to stick itself to these McDAAs/OAD-wannabes, this whole saga upon saga of will he leave early, just how early/when?..Which segues directly into needing to put up/show stats.

    Half of these stupid, assinine sagas involving the McDs is if they’re even frickin eligible to play (Selby, Cliff, Diallo, Preston). Josh Jackson was the best OAD (in a KU uniform), because he played with a fire that equalled Frank’s, and it translated to almost every game he played in. He made his team better & he could even run the team with his court vision. But Josh Jackson is the exception to my point.

    Ive about had it with Self diving down the rabbit hole, regarding that somewhat blind philosophy of “you get the highest rated recruits you can”, investing in the OAD media circus, and the kids’ psyche that comes with it. Why? Because Im just mentally comparing what WE ACTUALLY GET from those guys—compared to what we get from guys like DG and FM3, who absolutely play their ass off, chip on shoulder, something to prove, and 200% appreciative of the chance given to them. I’d include any McD that stayed for multiple years to work on their game, showing some humility to accept new challenges. (Rush, Arthur, Chalmers, Sherron, Ellis, Selden). I’ll include Malik in that group if he shows/plays/improves like our multiyear McDs did.

    Its not like DG and FM3 were bench projects without talent…both were immediately playable as impact freshmen. BMac very similar after he got shafted by NCAA.

    What did we say about KUs nonMcD 2012 NC runner up team? They played with heart, & they never quit, & were just as athletic as any other KU roster.

    So, the questions for my fave college coach of all time (Self) are: How many McDs does Tony Bennett have on UVa’s 30win rosters? You still like defensive execution? Are you in a McD-ego contest vs Calipari, because KY is struggling mightily with me-first play (with Cal complaining publicly) from their golden collection of McDs—where are they ranked? Are ya ready to go back to coaching your exemplary system to a group of kids who’ll actually listen? Who actually give a damn? What is wrong, Bill, with pipelining a ton of 4star bigs, wings, guards, especially for YOUR system?

    I guarantee these questions don’t sting as bad as the recent KU performances have stung us. This isnt 1-loss or 2-loss bitchin’—no, it’s actually seeing 15yrs of SelfBall, with all levels of recruits trying to learn & execute it, & with rare exceptions in both directions, recognizing what type of player thrives in it. The type of player who comes without extraneous, distracting pretensions or eligibility nonsense.

    And this isnt to condemn the current team, but throw in a couple of chemistry issues, an attitude issue, and an eligibility issue…and we see what we get.

    Analytically, to my SelfSystem lens, this team is several “shining moments” now on film, showing exactly what happens when the paramount rules of Self’s system are broken 1 by 1: high%looks in the paint, rebound margin, steals, and opponents FG% (make the other guy ugly possessions), & get to line (foul out opponents).

    Understand this & you’ll understand where all those blowout KU wins went, and how those got created in yrs past by all the little battles of attrition by the time you get to middle of 4th period.

    You can take a highlighter to the statsheet, in a very Brad Stevens sort of way, and precisely show, by subtraction of performance in just a few areas, how we simply dont measure up to past KU squads. Of course, Self figured this stuff out 18 yrs ago when he was still at Tulsa!

  • KUSTEVE said:

    @dylans I had a whole bunch of friends that got stoned with 3 or 4 players many times at Jayhawk Towers back in the day. I find it hilarious that we have a really bad game on the road, and all of a sudden, we randomly call out a player as a 'cancer" because he didn’t properly greet another player’s gesture ( although they did bump torsos two minutes later), and now we’re openly wondering if the whole team is on drugs. Friends like us- who needs enemies?

    It’s not random when the head coach starts calling him out in the post-game. He didn’t use the word ‘cancer’ however he certainly used Malik and opened the can of worms. This is more then an exchange (which I’ve yet to see for myself to judge).

    I’m not buying the drug thing until there’s some evidence to suggest otherwise.