Trae...Deuce...Un Young: KU 107, OU 74

  • Remember Trae, er, Deuce, er, Un Young?

    Un Young was the guy some KU dry-washers worried might come into the Monarch of the Midlands and end his slump and go off. I even thought it was a remote possibility.

    DID. NOT. HAP.

    Watching Un play was a little like watching a jet airliner with a standard black box be flown remotely by joy stick override by a contractor hired by those with the most to benefit from flying planes into high-rises and federal structures, when those high rises were also rigged with 45 degree thermite burn beads and maybe a suitcase nuke in the basement (the kind that registers on a nearby seismograph). Capice?

    The crash and burn of Un Young was fiery and horrific, but his crash and burn masked the vertical catastrophic collapse of the OU Sooners in their own foot prints. Un’s C&B also distracted from the coaching equivalent of a mid rise, Lon Kruger, collapsing in his own foot prints on the sidelines without being struck by Un, or the OU team collapse.

    For 40 minutes, Un got schooled–got his glutes beat–got his head handed to him by any Jayhawk that came near him, but especially by Devonte Graham and KU’s legendary Self Defense.

    On the other end of the floor–the end Un would have learned about at KU, the hapless Un got lit up–blow torched–blown by–shot over–and generally made to look like a a collapse in progress.

    Let me put this in words that Un’s pop, who reputedly said Bill Self was a good coach but that Bill would never let his son play the way his son was capable of, can process.

    You were righter than you knew pops.

    Bill Self did not let Un play the way he was capable of in the recent KU vs. Norman A&I game.

    Devonte Graham also did not.

    None of the other starters did either.

    Hell, Fred and Teahan and Sosinski didn’t.

    For all I know, Cin would have hamstrung him, if Bill had called her down out of the stands.

    Not even the fans let Un Young play the way he was capable.

    Or maybe, just maybe, Un never was really able to play the way he was capable.

    You decide.

    Either way, Un’s play helped KU get a step closer to its 14th consecutive conference title.

    And that was SWEET!

    Oh, and the score was:

    KU 104 OU 74


  • On Young’s recruitment, he was quoted as saying that Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger “said he’d turn over the keys to the program to me.” (Jason Jordan, USA Today)

    Never. Going. To. Happen. (under Self)

  • @CRH107

    I have been poking a lot of fun at this situation, but…

    There is a young man’s life involved here. His team has lost six games. He is playing not very well at all. He is probably feeling a lot of pressure. This cannot be much good for him.

    A humane culture is supposed to help people succeed, not drawn them into circumstances beyond their ability to cope.

    I really do feel badly for him on the level that I want all young men to make the best of themselves and have great fun playing the greatest game ever invented.

    I really do hate this system of hyping kids up and then throwing them to the dogs before they know what they are doing.

    I hope Trae Young gets it together. I hope the next time we play him he is playing well and we barely beat him. I really have fond memories of Durant at Texas. Competing against great players is a great privilege and very exciting. Beating a guy that has grown complete overwhelmed because he has been given the keys to a car with the wheels coming off is NOT a great memory, or a privilege. It is sad.

    But I am still glad we beat the snot out of them.

  • @CRH107 Like most guys, he has lost his keys.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Annyong!

  • @jaybate-1-0 The system (i.e., building up to tear down) is not likely to change in our culture. However, I hold the adults feeding (and feeding off) these young talents entirely culpable. I watched Lon Kruger as a player and then as a coach and held him above many others but not any longer. I will forever consider his ‘Poke-A-Doke’ a cheap tactic (albeit a legal one) to win one battle but if Young’s quote is truly accurate, my only response is “shame, shame on you, Coach Kruger”.

    I stand by my comment that, under Self, such a scenario is never going to happen. He may taunt, cajole, prod, etc. but his mission is clearly to make men out of boys…not destroy the psyche of a freshman phenom. I read once that Self’s opening remark to every player is … ‘you will never be the best player to have played at KU so just put that aside, now’. Might cost him some recruits but he is team first, win first before all else.

  • It’s hard to say if Young made the right choice. Honestly, he’d likely be getting Cunliffe like minutes at KU because of his D. That is just what you get with Self. Would he be willing to waste possibly the best offensive player on his team buried on the bench because he didn’t buy in on D? Does anyone doubt the answer to that question? The more likely scenario if Young came to KU would be he’d be forced to improve his D, at least some, and then get 25-30 minutes a game, let DG get some rest, and get pulled EVERY TIME he chucked one of those deep threes early in the shot clock without passing the ball with a hand in his face. He wouldn’t be averaging 28 and 9, he wouldn’t be anywhere near a lottery pick conversation.

    But he might be feeling a little better about himself and his team than he is right now.

  • My despise for Young increases more daily. But something I saw I thought was very enjoyable:

    “MITCH SLAPPED”. verb

    -when an opponent is going in for an easy bucket and Mitch F’ing Lightfoot flies out of nowhere & swats that shot into oblivion

    In a sentence: -KU literally MITCH Slapped Trae Young and the Sooners last night.

  • benshawks08 said:

    Honestly, he’d likely be getting Cunliffe like minutes at KU because of his D.


  • Trae would play plenty, Self isn’t that crazy.

  • @BShark He would play a ton, just wouldn’t be allowed to take half court shots with no passes while on the run and left-handed like Kruger let’s him do.

  • @BShark You’re telling me, Self would have left or even put a freshman point guard in the game after missing a layup on one end and casually jogging back on D giving up an easy dunk?

    I also said, “The more likely scenario if Young came to KU would be he’d be forced to improve his D, at least some, and then get 25-30 minutes a game.”

    So yeah, Self isn’t crazy. But he does have standards that the current version of Trae just doesn’t meet. I also have very little ill will toward Young. Other than the fact that he picked another school over KU and said he wanted to be the one to knock KU off the top (neither of which are that bad), I have no reason to dislike him. I have major problems with the coverage he gets and I think we can all see that has turned out bad for everyone involved (except the people that pulled in all the money by mentioning his name over and over and over again in order to attract viewers).

  • @BShark Self isn’t crazy…but if Devonte or Svi launch 35 footers…they’re sitting on the bench. Trae won’t shoot from the line, he will only shoot from 10 feet beyond the line because that’s what gets him attention and also because he can’t free himself for an open jump shot.

    If the refs called his swim move every time he drove…he would only be allowed to play 5 minutes a game. When he passes the ball…he turns into a statue and won’t move anymore. He can’t find his own shot.

    On defense he won’t go through a screen or on top…always below because that’s the easy way out.

    I could care less about that dude anymore because I don’t think KU will ever play him again…but his cons greatly outnumber his pros.

  • Kcmatt7 said:

    @BShark He would play a ton, just wouldn’t be allowed to take half court shots with no passes while on the run and left-handed like Kruger let’s him do.


  • @bmensch1 He pushes off every time…only way he can get open. He should have had 2-3 offensive fouls mon night.

  • @Fightsongwriter One of those got a foul called on DG even! Another consequence of the hype. He’s a star so he gets calls. It’s an unfortunate result of human nature.

  • @benshawks08 Yes it was egregious.

  • Agree with most of the Duece bashing, but I gotta admit, some of those passes were things of beauty.

  • StLJhawk said:

    Agree with most of the Duece bashing, but I gotta admit, some of those passes were things of beauty.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. The 3/4 court bounce pass to the cherry picker was great, and there were several bullets he put in the perfect place. But as I maintain, 5, 6, 7…or even 12 good passes doesn’t make up for all the negatives.

    I do concede that I’m a homer. If he said KU instead of OU, I’d be fist fighting people who pointed out his flaws; but, he didn’t so I cheer for him to continue jacking them up at a 35-ish% clip, cry to the media that it’s unfair that people scout him, and to continue dribbling with his left hand because it’s an 80% chance for a turnover.

    I’m sure it keeps him up at night knowing I don’t like him!

  • @StLJhawk I especially liked the one where he got by a guy at the top of the key, drew help, and threw and underhanded pass across his body to the deep corner that landed in perfect position for the shooter to catch and shoot quickly in rhythm. On that one I thought, wow, not just a good find, but so perfectly placed. It was crazy!

  • I have not changed my opinion that the kid is a spectacular talent. I’m more than somewhat saddened that the pressure, as well as competence of opposing league coaches, has gradually ground his dobber into the hardwood. He is too young to have been endowed with such a heavy burden as keys to the operations. And now, in front of a mic, he is playing into the media grinders. The lad would not have been a good fit for Bill Self Basketball. We might have escaped a bullet, his decision to stay home in Oklahoma. I predict that eventually he will rise to prominence as a professional point guard. En route I hope he learns quickly to measure both his playing passion and his words in front of a mic.

  • @REHawk Agreed. It’s truly sad that it doesn’t look like he’s having much fun playing the game of basketball right now. And most of that has to do with the position adults have put him in without any regard for how it might affect him.

  • I still ponder; Was it better for Trae to go to OU over KU?

    I also ponder; Was it better for Kansas for Trae to go to OU over KU?

    I’m curious what everyone in here thinks about that…

  • “I was like, ‘Bill, you know you’re not going to let him play like that,’” Rayford (Trae’s father) said, according to Jason King. “Eventually [Self] was like, ‘I guess you’re right, but promise me one thing: If he doesn’t come to Kansas, make sure he goes to OU. It will be good for the state. It will be good for the league.’”

    @drgnslayr Excellent questions. My take is mutually exclusive propositions : Trae (and his father) wanted unconditional freedom to operate in a ‘no holds barred’ offense; Self coaches the exact opposite (offense should come in the flow of the game). I have no judgment regarding which is the correct approach with a talent like Young but since both sides had ‘eyes wide open’ and neither was likely to bend, then Trae to OU was the better decision for all.

  • @drgnslayr Yes, and yes. Plus, it was better for the current and future development of every player at KU.

  • @drgnslayr I’d go with no and yes. Trae would be a better all around player after playing at KU. It would also have likely delayed his exposure to the lime light and given him more of a chance to mature before having the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’d also have a much stronger supporting cast, get more open looks (which he seems to make regularly) and be on the fist place team in the conference instead of 3 games under 500.

    For KU, we are able to avoid answering the age old question of if Bill Self knows how to handle super star freshmen. He’s done well for himself in that regard recently with Jackson, Wiggins, and Embiid, but a top recruit riding pine would get some negative headlines and provide a major distraction for a team that has already had some possible chemistry issues. Adding in another 2 egos (Trae and his father) would not be good for this team this year.

  • @CRH107 @mayjay @benshawks08

    This is just my opinion… and I think we will only know what was right after a year or two from now, depending on how Trae’s future goes.

    At this moment, I’m leaning NO and MAYBE.

    Right now… I see a Trae that is well-equipped for college basketball, but very unprepared for the NBA. I look at a talent like Trae and can really only think about what would do him best at the next level. It is clear to me that Trae probably took the right path for just getting to the league the fastest. His draft stock may be higher because his stat line and global attention have been huge because of going to OU, where he could just do whatever he wants with their offense, including pumping up as many shots as he can. I doubt he would have put up anywhere near those numbers in a Jayhawk uniform. We have too many scoring options to just dump it on one guy, especially a freshman. I just don’t see Trae as ready for the league. He needs at least another year in college. He still has the body of a boy. OU is not famous for strength and conditioning in basketball. Kansas is. And Trae would have put up lessor numbers as a freshman at Kansas. He would have to learn how to operate within a system and be a lot more “team oriented.” So… perhaps… Trae’s draft stock may have been less and he may have received quality advice to stay in school at least one more year. Imagine Trae’s body after 2 years of Hudy! The kid needs physical development. If he thinks he is banged up now, just wait until he plays 100+ games a year where the battles are about players’ livings. “No Boys Allowed!”

    I have MAYBE on the second question. It could have gone so well to have Trae working with Devonte… back to a 2 PG offense. And Trae wouldn’t have had all that pressure to run everything himself in year 1. And just look at Trae’s supporting cast! Wow! Let’s face it… college basketball hasn’t seen a passer like Trae in a long, long time! But then there is the risk that he conflicts too much with Self and his philosophy. He was just a freshman coming in… and our other players would most-likely stick behind Self and his ways. MAYBE!

  • @drgnslayr @CRH107 @benshawks08

    My answer may have appeared flippant, but it was based on the fact that in his recruitment Trae was clearly looking for a coach who would let him be the determinant of everything from playing time to style of play. Since I believe thatdesire is indeed a reflection of his personality, I think KU and Self would have just been frustrating for him. He has not adjusted well to the increased pressure he has experienced at OU when he stopped astounding everyone–I think KU for him would have resulted in a meltdown and him leaving rather than submitting to Stubborn Bill.

    I think the notion he would have benefitted is based on wishful thinking about what he was looking for. In a theoretical sense, yes if he had come to KU he could have benefitted greatly. In the practical world, no, because that assessment is based on the program’s advantages, which Trae clearly did not seek.

  • @mayjay

    I’m just guessing… because, as I said, in the end, after he’s gone to the league, we will have a better idea of second-guessing.

    Not sure what that says about Trae’s flexibility if he has to have his way. He’ll be just a squirt in the NBA and will be taking orders from everyone, including his agent. Over time he will be able to earn more leverage but it all starts by being a newbie and proving himself in the league.

  • One of my co-workers thinks maybe OU has tanked since they realized thery weren’t going to win the conference a week or so ago. Sounds risky but ik plenty of folks that think UK tanked towards the end of 2014 to get an 9/10 so if they made it out of the first weekend, they’d have a better road. It worked for them that year if they actually did it. Just an interesting scenario.

  • kjayhawks said:

    One of my co-workers thinks maybe OU has tanked since they realized thery weren’t going to win the conference a week or so ago. Sounds risky but ik plenty of folks that think UK tanked towards the end of 2014 to get an 9/10 so if they made it out of the first weekend, they’d have a better road. It worked for them that year if they actually did it. Just an interesting scenario.

    Tanking? For the ncaa tournament??? That doesn’t make any sense. The only “easy” game in the ncaa is the first game. I can never…ever be convinced of tanking for an ncaa tourney seed.

    And playing in the nit is poo poo. The cbi is merely an avenue to let programs showcase what head coaching jobs are soon to be available. So I don’t see where tanking would ever exist in college basketball. Unless if the players hate the coach and they want a new one. That’s the only instance I can fathom.

  • @bmensch1 Yeah, let’s examine both of these. Tank to become a 9 gives you a first round against the 8. Then the 1 in the second round, so you can possibly get an easier third round matchup? That one makes no sense. A team at a 6 or 7 should not want to move down because they are both in the lower half of the bracket already.

    Now, if you are the 8/9 going in, possibly moving to the 10 helps you, not in the third round, but in the second. You can get the 2 in the second round as the 10 rather than the 1 you would face as an 8/9. After that, the 3, if brackets hold, then the 1 in the reg final. So you avoid the 1 until 4 rounds in.

    The problems with tanking to plan your seeding include (1) the committee is not that predictable far enough in advance for you to manipulate where you are placed; (2) it is impossible to anticipate how 33 conference tournaments will come out, and power conference mid-tier teams routinely get placed in those middle bracket positions, but upsets can jumble the mix; and (3) there is no way to know if that top half of the field team you just begged to face in the first round is actually pretty strong – it might be underseeded, too, and you could now be the underdog (maybe playing far from home) because you gave up a chance to be a favorite.

    Most importantly, the tourney is single elimination so if you guessed wrong you are immediately screwed. In a double elim tournament, strong contestants who get “upset” in their first round have been accused of throwing that game so they can play in the loser bracket against theoretically weaker opponents. (I recall this in tennis and some other sport–a women’s sport?–where it was a big scandal.)

    Finally, it is just hard to turn winning or losing on and off. A team projected at 8/9 trying to protect its chances of getting to the second weekend would do better to try like hell to win enough to become a 6 or 7 rather than trying to get down far enough to be the opponent of those seeds.

    A better question in my mind is whether there is more predictable seeding at the top lines offered by the committees projected 1 thru 4 seeds. If you are likely a 2 or 3 it would behoove you to play hard to avoid falling to a 4. But is there a chance that the last 4 might want to fall to a 6? I still think that is all too hard for any team to predict, and too hard to turn around when you need to.

    All in all, losing on purpose is literally a loser strategy.

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