Just Say No To OADs At KU
When Andrew Wiggins signed, my perhaps short-sighted opinion was that I would have preferred that he signed elsewhere. My position was that unless KU won the national championship, the OAD drama would not be worth it. Since then, I have tried to keep my mind open, and assess after all of the information was available. It is a very difficult subject. I do understand that perhaps no one agrees with me.
My discussion is about presumed OADs – like Andrew Wiggins, Xavier Henry, and Josh Selby. Not guys that are recruited and then become OADs, like Ben McLemore and Joel Embiid. It’s a different discussion. My focus is on the presumed OADs only. The guys who become OADs their first season are a collateral issue.
There are two very difficult elements. First, if a player is a presumed OAD he might not actually be an OAD. He might play two seasons. Second, how do you ignore the top talent? Do you really just take a pass on the Andrew Wiggins, Derrick Roses, and Anthony Davises of the basketball world?
At Kansas, my conclusion is that the OAD drama is not worth it. Here’s why –
Mid-Major Success: One thing that has been obvious over the years is that mid-majors can have great success against high major teams. We’ve seen VCU, George Mason, and Butler make final four runs with literally no top 100 players. Of course, none has won the title. That is important. How long has it been since a non-top 15 program won a national title? But the general ingredients to mid-major success has been experience, coaching, and chemistry. All of that can be done without OADs. The point is, experienced low ranked players can exceed the success gained by high ranked, less experienced players. It has happened many, many times.
High Level Talent: This is perhaps the most important fact in my mind – Kansas is a position to harvest high level, non-OAD talent. So in contrast to the mid-majors, KU has the ability to snag multiple players in the top 50. In fact, if coach Self decided to ignore OADs, imagine the additional amount of time and resources he could focus on the next tier of players – guys generally 10ish or so through 50? If that high level talent knew that coach Self saw them as the priority, and that coach Self was not going to recruit over them with the ultra-talented OAD who would demand immediate playing time, it is my suspicion that he could dominate that range of player. If you’re Karviar Shepherd (I love using this guy as an example – but just think generically) and you know coach Self isn’t going after Okafer or Turner due to his philosophical approach, wouldn’t you be more apt to consider Kansas?
Chase For OADs Compromises System: Coach Self is a system coach. He is not John Calipari. The chase for OADs compromises coach Self’s system. OADs mean that coach Self is going to have to teach a green freshman his system, and that freshman is going to be counted upon to thrive in Self’s system. And it’s not just a starting freshman, it’s starting freshmen – more than one. The freshmen are going to have to learn, adapt, and thrive in a very short time. We saw that struggle this past season. This could apply to any freshman. But because of the high attention focus on OADs, the pressure is greater. The patience less. The window smaller. Everything is a hyper-focus. As a system coach, Coach Self needs guys that will thrive in his system. OADs have to learn and adapt immediately, and have to fit. If you have a system coach, the OAD player runs counter to the philosophy. A system is learned and absorbed. 2012 was an excellent example. We had players that fit Self’s system. Excellent defense; strong, top 50 post players; big, athletic guards; and years of knowledge in the system.
Merry Go Round: Not sure who here coined the OAD Merry Go Round phrase. For a minute, I thought it was me. But I have my doubts now. Regardless, the OAD Merry Go Round creates tremendous stress to produce in each recruiting class. This applies to presumed OADs, as well as those developing into OADs – coach Self has to be ready to replace those that develop into OADs as well. That will happen. So to bringing in presumed OADs simply increases the Merry Go Round’s speed. With the OAD Merry Go Round, if coach Self swings and misses, huge holes will exist. And a swing and miss might just be the #40 player that isn’t quite ready to start his freshman season. The player that needs to develop a bit before contributing in Self’s system. The OAD Merry Go Round demands that a “starter” ready player be recruited, and signed. Otherwise, you might start Jamari Traylor. Look at this past season. Embiid is gone. What happens if we sign the #40 power forward this season, instead of starter ready Cliff Alexander? We have a guy that will likely struggle. However, if we have a top 50 guy as a junior, and another top 50 guy developing as a freshman, we have a relatively seamless transition. OADs throw that out of whack.
Discourages Top Talent: Imagine that you are the #50 player, say an Andrew White clone. You have been fed the sales job. Then you see what has happened to Andrew White at KU. If you are the #50 player, presumably a major “get” for any program, including KU, why bother? Why take the risk that you will be recruited over? Of course, a player can always be recruited over. But at a KU, if we are on the OAD Merry Go Round, it is the goal. The goal is Andrew Wiggins. The goal is the best player. At other universities, the risk is substantially less. By a long shot. Look at our 2014 recruiting class. Neither player is one that we can reasonably assume will be here down the road in 2015-16. Where is the core of players to develop, particularly in the post?
Recruiting To Strengths: Coach Self is a system coach as noted above. Anyone who disagrees is either a chronic contrarian, or delusional. What does coach Self value? Among other things, stout man to man defense, valuing the ball, an offense premised on post entry, and aggressive perimeter players. Those are the four subjects he talks about most. So why not simply recruit talent to fit the system? Recruit to fit Self’s style of play. We may want to change his system, but the chances of that are remote. So why swim upstream? Very importantly, learning the Self system is a process. It takes time. We all know that. Like the quote in Remember The Titans (regarding the veer offense) – like novacaine, give it time, it always works. But time – and learning, and adapting, and changing to fit the system – that is a long-shot for the OAD. The chances that occurs in one freshman season is way, way low. Wiggins is literally the first freshman to play the lead role. He’s a freak. But even with that, we saw the potholes of placing the keys in the hands of a freshman. Self is simply at his best with guys who have been in the system. Recruit guys (including transfers) to develop in the system. The perfect examples – Mario Chalmers, Russell Robinson, Sherron Collins, Marcus/Markieff Morris, Jeff Withey, Thomas Robinson, Wayne Selden. Highly ranked, highly talented, fit the system to a “T”, and were nowhere near OAD status (never saw Selden that way, fyi). Give me the guy that earns his way into the lottery, not the guy that is already there when he steps onto campus.
Compromises Development: Ask yourself this – how far would Brannen Greene be in his development, right now, if he simply started from day one instead of Wiggins? Now, we have nothing to show for Andrew Wiggins. I would argue that Brannen Greene would be significantly farther along than he is now. Generally, the more guys play, the more experience they gain, the more they become comfortable, the more they develop, and more successful they can be. The most common argument to support Andrew Wiggins’ time at KU is that it has opened the door to more presumed OADs. Hop on the Merry Go Round. I get zero satisfaction in discussing that we have signed Cliff Alexander. He’s gone after one season. Don’t buy the silly chatter that he might stay for a second season. You can’t assume that. Self will have to replace him with another highly talented, starter ready guy – or we will be starting Traylor, Lucas, or Mickelson.
Brandon Rush: I’ve heard this a thousand times, so many times it deserves its own paragraph – “Well, Brandon Rush was a presumed OAD.” Right. But he wasn’t an OAD. Self won a national title when Brandon Rush was a junior. Not a freshman. This is a guy who developed in Self’s system. There were no OADs on our title team. Ok, then – “Well, see, you have to recruit OADs. Rush was a presumed OAD. Self can’t win a national title without presumed OAD talent.” If the argument is that Self can’t win a national title without presumed OAD talent, seriously, he is nowhere near the coach we think he is. We should fire Self now then. This is all a waste of time. Has there really been a time in the tournament when we have lost, where we could sit back and say, “We had less talent than our opponent”? One time. UK in 2012. But there is a valid argument there – “Couldn’t a presumed OAD change his mind and stay?” Sure, he could. Regardless, that creates the high percentage uncertainty a “no presumed OAD” approach would largely guard against. You don’t want to bank on Jabari Parker hanging around.
OAD Drama: Is it worth it? This is personal taste, and I have no appetite for it. I despise the idea that Andrew Wiggins came to KU as a pit stop. It was a stop over. The hype with Wiggins was sickening. It was everywhere – KC Star, kusports.com, twitter, ESPN, CBS Sports. Everywhere. And it never ended. There was some game this season where Ellis scored 32. The ESPN scroll didn’t even mention him. Referenced Wiggins scoring 17. Ridiculous. Wiggins, of course, was much different than the hype. This is not about Wiggins the person, but it is about the distraction, drama, and hype surrounding the presumed OADs. We saw different rules for Wiggins this season. We saw him loaf, we saw him refuse to dive on the floor (only twice the entire season), we saw him coast. But we rarely saw him find the bench for his failures. There were a few, but there were clearly “Wiggins rules” in the first half of the season. That is natural with an ultra-talented player.
OADs Have Not Equaled Titles: Name the OAD that has been a starter on a national title winner? Carmelo Anthony in 2002-03, 11 seasons ago. And UK’s crew in 2012. That is it. Ironically, we have lost to both in title games. But this is not the most reliable formula for success. To the contrary, teams that have more experience seem to have the better formula. They are better teams. They have better chemistry. They advance in March. The absolute best players don’t necessarily make the best team. The junior who was ranked #60 is a developed weapon. The #5 ranked player, the presumed OAD, is a developing weapon as a freshman. Standing alone, you still might take the freshman. But as part of a team, a cohesive unit, it might not be the best choice. History says it is not. And history says titles aren’t won with OADs at the helm.
Why can’t this work? Why can’t coach Self simply limit his recruiting to players that are not presumed OADs? He can. He can make that choice. The result would be a stronger program in long run. A program that could focus on highly talented, longer term players, and thus players that will function better with our system coach. If Self can stack the deck with top 50ish, non OAD talent, the result will be a team that has a better chance to succeed under coach Self’s leadership and style. It will also be a roster closer to the composition of NCAA champions in the last decade plus. It will be a roster best suited for coach Self. I want titles. And I am convinced that the OAD Merry Go Round is not the best model for success at KU.
@HighEliteMajor Man, HEM, you just hit a 10-point home run! Agree with everything. And I really respect your ability here to step back and go “macro” regarding what seems to be best for Self’s own system. Thinking about going more zone, or throwing defense change-ups early/often…and inbounding the ball urgently are all extremely tantalizing…but that is all a different discussion.
Always have thought we’d be best with the 10-50ranked guys. Talented athletes, but in those same kids’ heads there are no real pretentions about going OAD. They may develop into something, like TRob or Twins or BMac, but they certainly arent pretentious about “definitely” leaving. I think it could limit their learning/buy-in/or team mentality, but I should then immediately say Andrew Wiggins turned out to be the perfect, respectful, hightalent, OAD, we’ve certainly had, and better than most other schools have had.
Not to get on a tangent about Wiggins, I hope people see that Self was demanding Wiggins be more “alpha” aggressive, and NOT forcing Wiggins to play team ball, and Wiggins was a consumate team player. And a lock-down defender. Wish we could have had him for Yr2.
Oubre’s dad came out and said a few mos ago: “it is no means decided that Kelly is a OAD. If he needs to stay longer, he WILL.” I like the objectivity in that statement. I like what that means for KU’s system.
Finally, HEM, I bet Self is absolutely contemplating what happened to his “system”, and how to remedy it. I’m sure the competitor in him watched 2 A-rated, dynamic guards for UConn win the whole thing, even making lackluster Deandre Daniels look really good. Shabazz Napier was a 4yr player.
And I’ve often wondered about that Ky’12 win, with their Anthony Davis OAD. But they also had a couple of key returnees like Doron Lamb who hit 4 threes against us. I think about the KU squad that faced that KY team, with bench players Teahan, Wesley, Tharpe. And the starting five had a tendency to fall behind by double digits in many games that season, it happened in the Tourney, and it happened vs KY. Even so, we miss 3 dunks, and clank about 2 or 3 FTs too–exactly how WSU lost to KY, did not convert very high% looks or FTs.
Again, totally agree that the critical mass of experience needed to execute Bill Self’s system does NOT happen in the frosh year. We had a dumbed down offense to allow Wiggy to do his thing. We were more dribble-drive than set play. We had set plays, but nothing like the rehearsed, well-oiled arsenal the 2008 guys had.
Get a yearly pipeline of 10-50 guys, and still contend as a 1seed every year. I am happy with that probability. Most of the guys executing the system will be 2, 3, or 4yr players. Bill Self’s entire reputation was built on the results of 2, 3, 4yr players.
I feel your spirit… and no one can give the argument against OADs half as well as you can.
I used to be 100% on board with you on that.
I’ve changed my tune, largely after the last two years.
I think there is a balance of having a couple of presumed OADs. As long as the team can still be a team, and those OADs really have something to offer in their single year.
How many OADs have we had under Self?
Mmmmm… Selby, Henry, Embiid and Wiggins… right?
Joel wasn’t projected to be one and had no intent except to play basketball at Kansas.
I think we had good play from Henry and Wiggins… enough to sign them on. And Selby would have been more productive if he could have played right away and didn’t get injured.
Almost everyone let us down in that Stanford game. I just posted my estimate of who let us down the most, and it wasn’t from our freshmen. Wiggins did have a bad game, but we did nothing to help him out on offense. He still played the best defense in that game.
And we had the presumed OAD, Selden. He’s returning, and there is nothing saying he won’t return for another year or two after next. Should we have avoided Selden?
We wouldn’t have won in 2008 without Rush… and we wouldn’t have recruited him if we had the strict policy to avoid OADs.
In 1984, if the game had been different back then, we may not have had Manning to play 4 years and help us win a title.
In today’s game, Wilt, without question, would be an OAD.
I think we just have to role with the times. Doesn’t mean we have to run a puppy mill like Kentucky. We should carefully lay out a strategy on recruiting and make sure the players we do recruit want to play team ball. Wiggins and BMac may have been a bit too oriented to team and could have used a bit more selfishness.
Our best defender this year… I’d say Wiggins, followed by Embiid.
So many of your arguments… I agree with. Yes… Kansas was a pit stop for Wiggins. Any selection he made was going to be a pit stop. But that kid is good, with potential to become a great NBA player and he’ll always be a Jayhawk. Let’s face it… Paul Pierce is awesome, but he’s about done in the league, and the youth today have already forgotten him. HS kids aren’t mimicking Pierce’s game.
The final blow with me and this argument came last year. BMac was the closest player we had to being an OAD (and he wasn’t). A team full of seniors… probably the best shot blocker we’ve had since Wilt… and we didn’t even make the Final Four. How much more chemistry would it take? Our entire team had pretty much maxed out on their upside. And we still choked and made bad decisions in March.
And this year’s Kentucky team was dang lucky to have made it as far as they did. The best group of recruits in a long time… they came up short, too. So I don’t think going all in on OADs is a wise thing either. Plus, it drives your fan base crazy! Right now, the fans in Lexington are going absolutely nuts.
We need to be in between. This year doesn’t count. We had no OADs last year, but everyone was gone. Do you really think we would have won B12 #10 with a bunch of freshmen 4-yr players?
Just admit the truth… and the truth is we all fell madly in man-love with Andrew and JoJo… now the break up time has come way too quickly, and we all ache knowing these two players best games weren’t even close to what we saw in Lawrence this year!
It is a bitc# being on the beginning part of a star’s upside! And when you have more than one… it just doubles in pain!
But what about the heartache of watching last year’s team? All those 4 and 5 year players leaving early in March? We all endured blood, sweat and tears with those guys for half a decade and they left without advancing… All those tough games where we were waiting for them to mature… waiting… and waiting… and having patience… and then nothing! We all play psychologist on EJ for 4 years! We all played doctor on EJ and Travis… would they get their hop back?
Read back above… it just feels like we’ve been swimming in OADs. But we haven’t. And I’m glad we went after all of these players, even Selby. They all showed the same respect for Kansas as our 4-year players. To me, that has to be a priority when recruiting potential OADs.
If this is all about winning in March, then consider it less about OADs or not… and more about guard play from the PG and the 2. Those guys need to be monsters and it definitely helps if they have experience.
At the 3, you need a freak athlete who can jump out of the gym. Wiggins was perfect for that! He would have fit in well on that UCONN team.
At the 4, on a Self team, should be a beast who can score well with his back to the basket.
At the 5, we need a rim protector.
Positions 3, 4 and 5… we just need the best players we can get. Presumed OAD or not.
It is the PG where you need experience. And it helps if your 2 has experience with your 1, so they can tandem. That was UCONN’s weapon.
Thanks to Tharpe, next year will remain a question mark. We were counting on him to end well this year, and he didn’t. So… can we count on him his senior year?
What shoots holes in your argument is our PG play for many many years. TT in 2012 was the most recent exception. He should have visited John Lucas at least one summer earlier.
Who sparked out and cost us most in March recently? Uh… EJ and Tharpe. Neither were freshmen or presumed OADs. Go back before TT in 2012, and it was Sherron. He didn’t play his best as a senior either… and we didn’t advance.
I think we focus too much on this issue of OAD. We need to focus more on what it takes to play our best in March. And it starts with solid guard play from our PG and 2 (emphasis on PG). Experience does count there, unless it is some miracle kid who is the exception.
So I’m down as sort of disagreeing with your thread… but I’m giving you a FAVORITE check anyways, because you brought your A-game (and there is just so much right on info in there)!
Consider this: How many OADs did UConn have? How many OADs did Wisc have?
@drgnslayr. You mention the March flameouts and guard play needing to be monstrous. Agree totally. But I will mention that sometimes teams just have an off day, like the MorrisHawks did vs. VCU, or TyshawnHawks did vs. KY. Recall also that FL and AZ and Wisc and Syracuse and MichSt ALL got sent packing…we got sent earlier, rightfully so, simply because we were not playing good enough ball to make the Elite8. Multiple fails in multiple areas, does not a Final 4 team make…
Tandem guards are a HUGE concept at play here: See KY with the HarrisonTwins come to life on the big stage. See WSU all season with Baker+VanVleet+Cotton. See 2008 KU with Chalmers+RussRob+Sherron. See 2012 KU with Tyshawn+EJ…then see EJ alone in 2013 (point made)–Tyshawn jumped off his graduation plankn’, and left EJ alone (no tandem). BMac was NOT a tandem for EJ, because not a ball-handler. Same applies to Releford. See UConn with Napier + Boatright. Multiple ballhandling-competent guards are also part of Bill Self’s system, but the team this year did not have that tandem developed (yet). Lets see if Self can develop a competent tandem between Mason, Selden, Frankamp, and a re-motivated Tharpe?
@drgnslayr I’m kind of with you on this. I’m not so negative about OAD anymore… or at least, I would say this past year is not a big enough sample size upon which to draw a conclusion.
The past season had so many newcomers:
- Five freshmen
- two transfers (Tarik and Hunter)
- Two new coaches
This was really a completely different team. Next year will be interesting to see if the team continues to perform as it did last year or if the experience from the past season starts to provide an advantage to the whole unit.
Your philosophy is good if you can assume that Coach Self will always be able to get the top-50 players he wants or needs to plug into his system. But that certainly is not a guarantee. If he decides to not go after the best, and he doesn’t get that top-50 player, then he is faced with going after a still-lower (and maybe much lower) ranked player. That’s why Tharpe is here.
One of the problems Self has–and he has mentioned this a number of times–is the outrageously high expectations every year from KU supporters and fans. “We lost all five starters, but we are still expected to win the conference title and compete for the NC.”
You mentioned the mid-majors: VCU, George Mason, Butler, Wichita State. I’m sure there are others. They all did well for 2-3 years. If KU would miss the NCAA tourney once, fans around here would be calling for Self to be fired.
Fans aren’t patient enough to wait for players to develop. Case in point is David Padgett. Posters on these boards didn’t allow him any time to develop. Constantly criticized him. Merciless. He may have turned out to be quite valuable if he had been given time to develop.
I remind you again that OADs Wiggins and Embiid were not the ones responsible for the loss in the 3rd round of the tournament. As EKY said, KU didn’t have a decent point guard. That’s not a OAD drama issue.
I have always enjoyed reading your posts. Almost always insightful and thought-provoking. But I just don’t know how–considering the play throughout the season–you could have expected a better showing in the postseason.
@Wigs2 Good discussion. Self pretty much has gotten top50 type guys ever since starting with Russell Robinson, a 4star, 25ranked guy. The only aberrations were Tyshawn at 70, and Tharpe at 91. Mason was last seen between 70 and 50, so he may be a 'tweener. But you notice the Sherron-like qualities, in addition to his being a historic-proportions scorer in highschool. EJ 5star, top20. Frankamp top30.
Lets see these guys in Yr2, they will improve, guaranteed. The main need, though, is that we need MORE than 1 at all times to be competent ballhandlers. Thats what EJ’s senior 2013 season proved. He was fine alongside experienced Tyshawn in 2012, but struggled the next year when he was by himself…
One more thing…
If Coach Self starts going after lower-ranked recruits, all the higher-ranked recruits are going to get the idea that they aren’t wanted at Kansas. Then, if he misses on the next tier of recruits, he will have to go lower still. It won’t be long till we are recruiting very average players.
@HighEliteMajor I was the one who came up with “OAD merry-go-round”.
Let’s just say Frankamp’s last second 3 against Stanford goes in, Wiggins comes alive in overtime, and inspired by the return of Joel Embiid, Kansas wins the National Championship. It very well could have happened, but it didn’t. Winning a six game tournament at the end of the season does not mean that team was the best. It means they won a tournament where 1/4 of the teams, based on their regular season performance, don’t deserve to be in anyway. In its current format, the NCAA Tournament is designed to generate revenue and interest for the public.
Coach Self has done an amazing job at Kansas. Winning 10 straight Conference Titles is quite impressive. There is nothing wrong with recruiting the best players. Coach Self did not create One and Done, but he has to deal with it everyday.
Here are my thoughts on Kansas Basketball. Our starting point guard disappeared. Rarely gave the appearance that it was his show. I truly hope he watched Napier and Boatright. That is how to get it done. Would have loved to seen AW3, Frankamp, and Greene get more meaningful minutes in the regular season. We are loaded with 3 point assassins, we just did not use them. Landon Lucas can play D-1 ball, just needs more opportunities.
Finally, I like winning as much as anyone else. I love watching Kansas Jayhawk Basketball. One and Done or not, we are not going to win the National Championship every year. For the past 30 years, we have been in the conversation. The system is designed to eliminate dynasty’s and it’s working. I am looking forward to another year of watching my favorite team, the Kansas Jayhawks. I hope we win every year, but I let it go when we lose.
I think there’s room for everyone.
We can have the solid four year guys that want to get an education and play a high level of Division I college basketball.
Then we can have a whole separate league of OAD’s. They could all be on travelling teams sponsored by Barnum and Bailey.
This discussion is a bit like my job: once you start talking about possible solutions you forget what the problem was.
What is the problem? What different result do we want?
No one seems to be complaining about our overall win-loss record, our Conference Championship streak or our Conference Tournament titles. I think the disappointment stems only from the NCAAs:
- Early round exits (Bs, UNI, Stanford)
- Missed opportunities (VCU, Michigan)
How many of those losses were OAD-related? Stanford, yes, but because of the OAD who didn’t play, not because of the OAD who did.
Now how about a little more historical perspective: we had too many freshmen this year because we had too many upperclassmen last year! If you wanted fewer freshmen this year, then Releford should not have redshirted: this year we would have had one fewer freshman and one more sophomore.
To fix the root problem, we need to even out recruiting and avoid the boom/bust cycle. With all our freshmen, we’re back to a bare cupboard in 3 years. OADs are a way of evening out the cycle! They will free up scholarships so in 3 years we’ll have some sophomores and juniors on the roster.
To get back on an even keel in recruiting, we need to taper off OADs, not go on the wagon.
Now back to the problem: too much early NCAA failure, not enough late NCAA success. I’m with drgnslayr: what we are missing is PG excellence - whether it’s concentrated in one guy or, as ralster prefers, spread among 2 or more combo ball handlers.
That being said, I definitely agree with HEM about the difference between “presumed” or “preseason” OADs and potential OADs. In the abstract, I would much prefer recruits who haven’t made up their minds to leave before they even arrive.
Not time to read all this as I’m supposed to be working, but this year was kind of an exception. We lost our starting lineup to graduation and BMac leaving. We had lots of holes to fill. We had to bring in someone. I think I read that if we had brought in non-5 star players we probably wouldn’t have had the relative success we had this year.
I’m looking forward to next year. We will have 3 guys leave, but with our 9 or 10 man rotation this year we’ve got experience coming back, plus the new guys, and I think we will see the success we’re used to. If indeed Cliff and Oubre stick around our team 2 years from now should be a top 2 or 3 team in the country and a serious contender.
@KansasComet I think I saw enough of this years team that the NC wouldn’t have happened even if that 3 ball of Connors goes in!
A few things here in follow-up:
I dedicated a paragraph to Brandon Rush because it’s an interested contrast. On one hand, @drgnslayr said that we don’t win if we don’t recruit presumed OAD Rush. On the other hand, Rush was not a freshman OAD when we won the title. The assumption is that we don’t win the title without Rush. Can’t assume that. Maybe Micah Downs sticks around. But we do know, for sure, that Rush was a junior when we won and was not an OAD.
@ralster hit on some excellent points, and I’m glad he noticed what I was trying to say. This is not an analysis of possible changes to Self’s system, it an analysis assuming Self sticks with his system – what is best for KU, with Self, and Self’s system. I don’t think presumed OADs are the best formula.
@Wigs2 - Why do you think Self has missed on some top 50ish guys (I might stray into the 60s)? How much recruiting attention is given to the top guys, the OAD range guys, the elite of the elite? I don’t think for one second that the #20 guy is going to have a second thought about coming to KU if we’re not recruiting the OAD group. Actually, I think those guys would be more flattered that they are the focus and the priority. Just a thought, but do you think Jermaine Lawrence might have given us more consideration if we weren’t pounding the pavement for Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon, and if he knew we wouldn’t be recruiting over him trying to land Cliff Alexander and Myles Turner in the post? The logic there, at least to me, seems pretty sound.
@ParisHawk - Ok, it was you. Credit where credit is due. I was very close to sending in my trademark request … you better move quickly. On the subject, don’t look at what you think might have happened, or whether you blame Wiggins or the lack of Embiid for the Stanford loss (you know where I stand on why we lost that particular game, and it wasn’t OAD related). But take a broader look. What, philosophically, is best for this program? For coach Self’s system? Would you rather have Xavier Henry in year one, or Travis Releford in years three and four of eligibility? No slam against X, he did fine. But I’d rather have those two seasons of play from Releford, with what he brought to the table. OADs will happen. McLemore happened. But McLemore is the exact range of player to recruit.
The thing is, if we’ve seen anything in the last 14 or 15 season of NCAA tourney play, it is that the combination of experience, talent, and chemistry, and being a top 15 program, are the main ingredients to nearly ever title winner. And not by coincidence, only two times where OADs were the main focus ('Cuse '03/UK 2012).
I agree that this season’s team didn’t have much of a chance to make a run to the final four and beyond, even with Joel Embiid healthy, but that was primarily because of inconsistent guard play from our junior point guard. If Wiggins doesn’t come to KU this season, Kansas probably doesn’t win their 10th straight Big12 title, probably gets a lower seed in the tournament, and probably doesn’t make it passed the round of 16 anyway.
So as far as I can understand, your objection to recruiting Wiggins and Embiid is that we are missing out on worse players who will stay for multiple years and may or may not be good enough to win a national championship as juniors and seniors. Okay, that may be true, but in the time it takes for those players to develop, Kansas goes through 1 or 2 years of mediocrity in which they don’t win Big12 titles and don’t get a 1 or 2 seed in the tournament.
Or maybe you think Kansas can implement and sustain a system where every year a few upperclassmen leave, a few sophomores/juniors step in the following season to fill the void, and KU recruits a few new players to start developing. And all of those players are 30-50ish ranked recruits. That would be an extremely hard system to sustain, consistently getting players who are not good enough to be one-and-done players, but are capable of developing into national championship contenders and pro prospects in 2-3 years. And 18-21 year old kids are extremely unpredictable. Some will probably transfer or leave prematurely for the NBA.
I don’t know, that route just doesn’t seem practical to me, I’d rather keep recruiting one-and-done players. I’d also like to point out that while few teams have won a national championship with one-and-done players, almost all national championship winners in recent memory have had 5-star, potential one-and-done players on their rosters.
2003- Carmelo Anthony
2004 - Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor
2005 - Sean May, Rashad McCants, Raymond Felton
2006 - Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer
2007 - Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer
2008 - Brandon Rush (Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur were also 5 star)
2009 - Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough, Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller
2010 - Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith
2011 - Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb
2012 - The entire roster
2013 - The only team with no five stars I believe, but they did have 3 top30 recruits in Siva, Behanan, and Blackshear.
2014 - DeAndre Daniels
So I don’t think we can just stop recruiting 5-star players. And pretty much any 5-star that KU recruits has the potential of leaving after 1 year, and the likelihood of leaving after 2.
@HighEliteMajor In your last post, you refer to Jermaine Lawrence, another big man. I remind you again that the bigs were not he problem. The bigs actually covered up the problem on the perimeter for almost all of the year. And it doesn’t really matter if KU gets a OAD or 4 and done big. If the guard play is not significantly better next year, the end result won’t be much better. Forget the bigs. Which outside player did you want Self to recruit that he didn’t go after?
@Wigs2 You’re missing the point. My point is not about the micro analysis of what failed our team in 2013-14, but rather a system-wide approach. I am not saying Lawrence would have helped us significantly in 2013-14. I’m saying I’d rather have him for 3 or 4 seasons, developing in our system as a high talent guy, than any OAD power forward.
@KirkIsMyHinrich - Remember, 5 stars doesn’t mean presumed OAD. It is an excellent list. I looked at all title rosters before I posted this. But Rivals, for example, has guys rated as five stars all the way to #30 sometimes.
You cite Florida, for example. Horford was the #36 player in his class, Noah #75, and Brewer #31. For UConn in 2011, Walker was #14 in his class, and Jeremy Lamb #76.
I was not able to look at info on Gordon and Okafer from 2004 as far as whether they were presumed one and done.
But the only player on your list that was a presumed one and done, and stayed, to my knowledge, was Sean May (other than Rush). When coach K recruited Kyle Singler, he got a two year minimum commitment as I recall. He had done that in the past before reverting to the OAD strategy. Nolan Smith who you cite was #39 in his class. Chalmers and Arthur were never presumed OADs. Zeller was #33. Davis #15. Never OAD discussion. Hansbrough stayed all four years.
Lawson was a discussed possible OAD, as was Ellington. But not presumed.
Not like Wiggins, Gordon, Randle, Parker, Noel, Muhammad, Beal, etc.
Look at your list. It is an argument against presumed OADs, right? Where are the title winners with OADs – freshmen – that play, win a title, and leave?
I’m curious where we would draw the line with players?
What if the player is in the 20-50 ranking but talks about being OAD?
What if the player is in the Top 10 ranking but talks how he wants to say longer than OAD?
How do we judge who is just a 5-star athlete and who is a presumed OAD?
Embiid was not a presumed OAD… I know that for sure!
I agree with @KirkIsMyHinrich that it would be basically impossible to maintain finding a team full of those recruits in the middle all the time on a 4-year revolving door where 1/4 leave every year and a new 1/4 come on.
Even if we could start out this way, eventually it would be tough recruiting a team full of these players because some of them would like to be on a team with one or two top tier players… thinking they would have a better shot at a NC and might improve their game more by practicing with top players all the time.
And if we bow out on the cream players, we give in to Calipari. We let him know he won on OADs, and what we don’t get, we just up the odds that he nails more of them. That isn’t always a big deal, but maybe Kentucky wins the NC this year if Wiggins had gone their way.
I just think these are the times we are stuck in and none of us likes the current format creating OADs… but we have to live with it and still fight to be the best team we can be.
Add up all the OADs we’ve had to date and they don’t add up to even one complete OAD cycle at Kentucky.
This is all so painful because we have to learn to let go of such crazy talented players we only get to experience for a few months. We are used to seeing them develop over years and now we only get a few months. Yes… it is a raw deal.
And on the broader scope, it doesn’t spell a perfect story for our kids when a team full of OADs walks away with the NC. Overwhelming the field of real student-athletes who endure so much more and develop real team chemistry with their pro-level talent. It just isn’t right.
KUSports needs our help! I just read two comments on a story about Alexander and Oubre. One commenter was writing about “Shelden” and another was writing about “Frankston”. It wasn’t HEM either, he still comments some over there but methinks he knows we don’t have a Shelden and a Frankston on the roster, but, if they can play point guard maybe we should take a chance on them!
@drgnslayr As a coach, Self has all the info on recruits. He knows what they want. What they expect. What they’re looking for. I would simply say that he should pass on guys that say, “I’m want to turn pro after one season”, or if he believes that is very likely.
We knew Wiggins, we knew Selby, we knew Xavier, right?
We knew many of the guys we didn’t get, right?
Of course, it’s not an exact science.
Try this – does anyone think that we cannot win titles unless we spend significant time recruiting presumed OADs?
@wissoxfan83 - "One commenter was writing about “Shelden” and another was writing about “Frankston”. It wasn’t HEM either … "
Uh, thanks, I think.
We should adopt part of your spirit in recruiting one position… PG.
And what is really excellent is we can go after the most freakish PG athletes with unbelievable talent, and if their height isn’t above about 6’2" they are almost assured to not be a first round pick as a freshman… maybe even when they are a senior, unless they are the next Derrick Rose.
We should always be on the look out for a PG who fits that description. Forget the Harrison brothers type of players… they are too big and in high demand in the league.
Imagine finding a super star HS PG recruit who is 6’1" and can come right in and start leading maybe even as a freshman? Definitely as a sophomore! OMG… I just described Shabazz Napier!
Let’s find a PG like Shabazz… and with our ability to recruit an awesome post around a player like Shabazz, we will up our chances of having a good March for 3 years! We just have to keep searching for a player like that.
It won’t matter if our Shabazz PG is surrounded by 4-star 4-year players or with a few 5-star potential OAD players. The leadership comes from the point.
Shabazz made Daniels look like a star, and Daniels is not star. I’d rather have a freshman Embiid or Wiggins than a junior Daniels any day of the week!
“As a coach, Self has all the info on recruits. He knows what they want. What they expect. What they’re looking for. I would simply say that he should pass on guys that say, “I’m want to turn pro after one season”, or if he believes that is very likely.”
How do we know that he isn’t already doing that? I’m pretty sure he does that now. Some guy that will mostly be a project his first year and then wanting to leave does nothing but trash KU’s reputation, and offered up nothing in return. A guy who isn’t even real OAD level talent but wanting to be one already shows he has an attitude issue.
I do think we can win WITHOUT landing any OAD recruits… but I’m not sure we can win without at least trying to recruit OAD level talent. Big difference. I think if we bring our sights into just the middle, it hurts our recruiting in it’s entirety.
Those middle players we want so desperately… if they know we don’t recruit top players why would they consider us? You can bet they consider themselves at the top, regardless what the media says. I don’t think it is realistic to let the world know we don’t recruit the top.
Maybe we can refine your idea to just saying we have to be extremely selective at recruiting top talent. That seems more realistic… and I’m on board for being selective of top recruits. One bad apple spoils the entire cart.
The question when you ponder OAD or no OAD is whether you want to maximize the potential of each team, or build to a potential championship every three or four years.
If you go the system route, you can have a potential title contender every 3-5 years. Look at what KU has done since 1988. 1991-1993. Then they didn’t have another potential run until 1996-1998. From there, 2002-2004. Then 2007 and 2008. 2010-2012. We have one title in that stretch, because when you wait for the system to manifest itself, you may only have one or two chances and there’s no guarantee you will make it.
In a lot of ways, winning a national title is like winning the World Series of Poker. You don’t play to win the title, you play to make it to the final table so you have a chance to win the title. In college basketball, you’re playing to get to the Elite 8. Occasionally an upstart team will go on a run (George Mason, VCU, etc.) but notice that those names change from year to year, just like the upstarts that run to the final table change from year to year.
The thing is, I don’t want KU to play for hoping to make one run every few years, because that isn’t going to bring titles. Every year there will be several teams with a chance to win it all - probably 4-6 teams. I remember back on the old site that will not be named, I used to do a thing called “Who can win it all.” There were almost always 3-4 teams that could be considered favorites and another 2-3 teams with an outside shot. If you play to be in that group once every three years, the percentages say you probably won’t win more than one title every 25 years or so because its unlikely that every time you get into that group, you will be able to put everything together for your run. There will be years like 1997, injuries like this year, needing a great shooter (Steph Curry) to miss and a great shooter (Mario Chalmers) to make like in 2008.
I’m sure Michigan felt like they could get back to the F4 this year. But Harrison knocked them out.
There’s a reason that Izzo only has one title. His teams are always good, but they haven’t been quite good enough to break through.
And then there’s the issue of development. Part of the reason that guys are ranked as high as they are is because of their presumed ceiling. For every Tyshawn Taylor that vaults from the 70s into an NBA draft pick, there are guys like Mark McLaughlin, who was ranked one spot ahead of Taylor at 76. He finished his career averaging 27 points per game this year - at Division 2 Central Washington University. Could KU have gone to the national title game with Mark McLaughlin? You never know how guys will develop, especially as you get lower in the rankings.
DeAndre Daniels is another good example. He’s been a disappointment at UConn throughout his career. But the fact that he was a top 10 recruit means that he has some serious basketball skills, as evidenced by the fact he dropped 27-10 in the Sweet 16, 12-8 in the Elite 8 and 20-10 in the national semifinal. That’s a top 10 recruit playing like a top 10 recruit. Or Alex Poythress on the other side during the title game. He has been a disappointment at Kentucky, but he’s an extremely valuable college player off the bench.
Even the presumed OADs that are disappointments usually turn into valuable players. A miss on a top 10 player means he stays four years and is at least a good rotation player. A miss on a guy below 50 means you may have a guy that can’t play at a high major school.
@HighEliteMajor I assume what you are saying is you think Self’s system is wrong. And KU would have done better by going after fewer top-tier players. If that is what you’re saying, then I assume you are satisfied with the development of Tharpe, who has been in the system for 3 years. And Ellis will be in his 3rd season next year. (I’m not ragging on those two. It just seems that they were the two most often criticized this year.) You feel everyone should be patient because it will all work out. Your posts don’t cause me to think that’s the way you really feel.
Another great topic! This is why I love this site - a month after our season ended and we’re still having intelligent basketball conversation. And without the trolls & incompetents. I had actually written this up last night, went to submit it and my modem crapped out on me and everything was lost, so doing my best to recover those late night thoughts.
Upon initially reading I found myself agreeing with most all of HEM’s points. There is no doubt that Self’s system functions better with guys who have multiple years in the system. And in theory, yeah I guess it would be preferable to not recruit presumed OADs. And I get the player development hinderance. Sure Greene would be further along next year had we not brought in Wiggins and Greene had gotten those minutes. However, as ParisHawk pointed out, the problem is NCAA tournament success. HEM you were on record very late in the year as saying the team could win a national championship. This was obviously assuming a healthy Embiid come tournament time. Given this statement (I think you even started a thread about keeping the faith), weren’t we better off signing Wiggins than giving those minutes to Greene? Isn’t that what we’re talking about - putting teams in a position to compete for a national championship? Obviously that didn’t happen and as you say we now have nothing to show for one year of Wiggins (other than those “Ten There, Done That” t-shirts), but if you truly believed we had a legitimate shot at the time is it fair to in retrospect say “well we didn’t win with OAD Wiggins so we should have given the minutes to Greene”? Wouldn’t in this scenario bringing in Wiggins be considered a prudent decision? And I don’t want to look at things so narrowly as just this past season, so consider the circumstances in which we were bringing in Selby: Collins was gone thus leaving a vacancy at the PG position, the Twins were about to enter their junior year, Tyshawn was wildly inconsistent his first two years - didn’t bringing in an OAD PG seem like the final piece to the puzzle? Or how about bringing in Henry: Sherron’s senior year, Cole’s junior year - a small forward with a NBA ready physique seemed like the right move. Basically my point here is that I don’t think our OADs have been brought in to the program recklessly. I also don’t think that, as of yet, they have been a serious detriment to the program or the system.
I really like slayr’s point about needing to get someone in the league NOW that can carry the torch for KU, as the sands have just about run through the hourglass of Paul Pierce’s career. I don’t think this is something that should be cast aside as unimportant. It has recruiting implications. I think it helps recruiting, and not just the OADs. We don’t want to become an program that is known for not being able to develop talent for the next level. If so, even the 10-50 range kids are going to shy away from us. And I realize that Wiggins succeeding in the NBA isn’t necessarily a reflection of him developing at KU. If he turns out to be a star at the next level, it is likely that was going to happen regardless of where he spent his one year in college (much like I don’t give Calipari credit for “developing” most of the talent he has sent to the NBA). But the perception would be there. I think this is perhaps a reason why we struggle so much to recruit elite level guards. We are perceived as “Big Man U”. We develop post players, but not so much guards.
I also really liked Wigs2’s comments about recruiting being a great uncertainty. I think maybe we assume that given Self’s success at landing elite level talent the past two years that it has all “clicked” for this staff in regards to recruiting, and that given this we should be a lock to get our pick of the litter in the 10-50 range. I don’t think that is an assumption worth making. We’re not that far removed from having some serious recruiting misses, and as Wigs2 says, that’s how you end up with guys like Tharpe. Or the Milton Doyle/Merv Lindsey types. Or reaching on guys like Kevin Young. Or gambling on a guy like Anrio Adams. Or having Connor Teahan playing major minutes. Or relying on Justin Wesley off the bench. I remember many of the recruiting misses that led to those situations. Kaleb Tarczewski was a big one, and his high ranking (espn #4) might lead some to believe that he was a presumed OAD (he’s getting ready to enter his junior year at AZ though), but there were plenty of misses within the next tier, the 10-50 tier, that led to those situations. Tony Parker, Josiah Turner, Otto Porter, Angelo Chol, Jakarr Sampson, and surely others that I can’t recall at the time. Were these misses a case of being scared off by OADs being recruited over them? Doubtful, given that we hadn’t really seen that happen at the time. Were these misses a case of not being recruited heavily enough because Self was focusing too much on OAD talent? Possibly, but I don’t think we can say that with any certainty. The point here being, I can certainly understand Self recruiting the elite level talent given the opportunity because you just don’t know how many tiers down you are going to fall without them.
I think the answer here is as slayr suggests, and that is to carefully lay out a recruiting strategy. I do indeed think the focus should be the non-presumed OAD range of 10-50. But I don’t think you ignore the top 10. The whole discussion may be moot anyway. Consider what is being recommended - that Self shy away from the best players out of high school. However, is this likely? I think it’s doubtful, and here’s why: We see and have discussed Self’s propensity to “win every game at all costs”. He is unwilling to sacrifice games in the spirit of player development. To view the season as a campaign to the NCAA tournament. Now we’d like him to take an even bigger step back and perhaps lessen the chances of success for a whole year in order to better set up future squad’s for success? And that’s really what we’re talking about here. Using this past season as an example, we’re talking about not bringing in Wiggins and giving those minutes to Greene and/or AW3. There’s no doubt in my mind that the trade-off there significantly reduces our success of last season, if for no other reason than the giant chasm between the defensive abilities of Wiggins and those (or lack thereof) of Greene. The benefit of that trade is that you have better prepared Greene and/or AW3 for the '14-'15 season. I just don’t see Self making that macro-level adjustment.
This post is all over the place. My apologies; it was more coherent last night. Anyway, love seeing the discussion. I don’t think anybody has made a weak argument. I do still really think the biggest reason we have scuffled in March has been poor guard play. Until that is solved, it may not matter who else we bring in and develop.
I can’t believe we continue to make great conversation on this topic…
But we do!
I continue to be impressed with the level of thought-provoking conversation offered up by all you great Jayhawk fans! Bravo!
One other point on this subject…
It refers to how can we move carefully around the recruit world and avoid presumed OADs. The talent of these HS players shift like a flooding river. The waters are choppy, at best. One player will seem to fit into that middle group, and he won’t be talking about a desire to become an OAD… then that same player has a phenomenal tournament game and becomes the buzz of the recruiting world and is projected upwards in stock. Now he talks about being an OAD. Meanwhile… we’ve been recruiting him for 2 years and he wants to be a Jayhawk. Do we suddenly pull our offer? I don’t think so.
It makes it too difficult to set this as a goal, avoiding OADs.
I have one more question (before I get back to work). You’ve mentioned that you would have preferred to sign Karviar Shepherd rather than Wiggins. According to ESPN, he was rated #77 in the 2013 class. As I recall, he turned us down. When that happens–which is almost a sure thing at some point–would you keep going down the list of lower-ranked players until you can get a commit? Or would you then try to go up the list to try to get a higher-ranked player? I just don’t have much confidence that you can go from lower to higher.
@Wigs2 Ah, another topic that I am presently working on. System, suggestions, the whole nine yards. I went back and read a number of other posters’ opinions. Trying to coalesce everything.
But I am not satisfied with the development of Tharpe. Everyone doesn’t develop. But look at point #6 above – recruiting to strengths. Tharpe was the wrong type of recruit. Not a nice fit in Self’s system, particularly defensively. I am satisfied with Ellis. We could handle Ellis’ defensive issues if he were the only sub-par defender on the floor.
Just as the Josh Selby deal should discourage us from OADs (notice I didn’t make that argument), Tharpe’s regression shouldn’t tell us we shouldn’t recruit and develop as a philosophy.
And on your second question, no, it wasn’t Shepherd vs. Wiggins. The Shepherd deal was an example comparing to Embiid (a non presumed OAD). Could be Jermaine Lawrence. Pick a generic top 50ish. The point being, would you rather have Shepherd or Lawrence, for ex., for 3 or 4 years, or Embiid for one? You would still recruit high end talent, just not guys that are presumed OADs. That’s it.
@drgnslayr Good point about the shifting waters of the recruiting world and players’ stock. I brought up Kaleb Tarczewski. He was the #4 player that year according to ESPN, #9 by rivals. Who wouldn’t have thought he’d be a OAD? Now he’s going to be a junior at AZ.
The flip side is the meteoric rise of Embiid. He finished as the #1 ranked center of the class. How do you justify putting in all that time recruiting him and pull the offer because he might be a OAD?
The inexact science of recruiting & player development!
@icthawkfan316 I don’t recall Tarc being a presumed OAD, do you?
@HighEliteMajor Thanks for recognizing my “merry-go-round”. On the subject, how about the points I raised? It was not philosophy but circumstances that led to two OADs: Self never decided to become a soft-core Calipari. I also say that even if Self adopts your philosophy he should do it over time and not go “cold turkey”.
I thought in the past you were OK with the occasional OAD, at least to fill a need (see Randle)?
Let’s take it case by case: apply your philosophy to past years where we had presumed OADs and tell us what might have turned out better. The extreme case is Wiggins, the DBO (Done Before One). We might well have had about the same level of success without him and three bench players would have gotten more minutes for next year: fine. So, do we not recruit Oubre? Is he a DBO in your eyes? Whom exactly should we not recruit?
@HighEliteMajor I don’t recall, I just know that in that range (1-10), it’s a distinct possibility. I mean, he was ranked #4 by ESPN that year. This year Alexander is ranked #3, but it’s a foregone conclusion he’s a OAD.
@HighEliteMajor Singler was 4th overall, Nolan Smith was 6th overall, Zeller was 7th overall, Davis was 11th overall, Felton was 4th overall, McCants was 11th overall, Hansbrough was 10th overall, Sean May was 9th overall, Chalmers was 12th overall, Rush was 13th overall, Ellington was 8th overall, Lawson was 9th overall.
You’re right about Florida, though. They had no 5 stars. My mistake.
I see my list. The majority of teams that have won national championships since 2003 have had quality 5 star players. My argument isn’t that these players are presumed OADs but that they are potential OADs. When you recruit these players, you do so with the knowledge that you could have them for only 1 year. So if you’re saying that KU should stop recruiting OAD players, then KU shouldn’t be recruiting any potential OADs.
How many 5 stars make it clear that they want to stay at least 2 years during the recruiting process? I would guess not very many. So I would say pretty much any 5 star that you recruit there is a risk of them leaving after 1 year.
Do you want to stop recruiting potential OADs or just presumed OADs? Does that mean you don’t want Turner, Alexander, or Oubre?
But we are tip-toeing around the idea or the pink elephant and HEM references in his post, and is pretty much suggesting Self bypass the OAD.
OAD Drama: Is it worth it? Yes/No…No based on HEM’s point of view. I’d like to ask Self if he’d do it again. Otherwise, yes, it wasn’t a total waste. I agree it didn’t do us much good, but how would we’ve been without Wigs? We’ll never know.
Now, if you take HEM’s position, and for good reason, you have to take a pass on the OAD. So, you’ve reduced your NC chances by having one less OAD. Some are calling for a mixture. I thought KU had a great chance last season with 4 seniors and 1 RS soph. Our pg help blow that game for a few reasons. But again, we had the most unanimous situation any team could want and failed. I thought the Florida team was fairly balanced with experience.
EJ- Senior Tharpe
Rel- 5th yr Senior
Young- Senior Ellis and Traylor
I’d kill right now for this team. It looks great on paper, but failed for some reason.
Okay, how long will it take Self to get another team close to this chemistry? 1, 2, 3, 4 yrs? Now we add 1-4 years on since winning in '08, so…will it take 6+ years? 7, 8, 9, 10 years? It can be done, but are we willing to wait for Self’s magical system to win or is it going to take another 10 to 20 years before KU sees another NC? This means KU’s next possible NC will be 2028? Some of you may not even be around then…I may not be around then. This is pretty sobering. I know Self’s goal is win a NC every year (unlikely), and he’s not recruiting to win a NC. He seems to be recruiting to his system more than a NC.
We’ve discussed part of the problem and it’s recruiting. But another small part of the problem is Self’s system. He needs to modify it a bit. It needs to be more conducive for players to come in and play to their strengths, not the system. I think Self’s system has become the norm, not the exception. He needs to recruit players that will lend validity to his system, not the other way around. Wiggins did not fit Self’s system. He was great and glad we got him, but his style of play belonged with uk. I don’t think there’s any coach that has a system quite like HCBS. It’s a bit too much to ask of the Tharpes, Masons, Greens, and I’m not saying they can’t get it, but it takes a special and talented player to play in Self’s system. BStar was Self’s poster boy, haha. I really think that’s why many of the players we need or could get go elsewhere. Most coaches design around the players, not the players around the design.
If I get another response of a poster saying how spoiled we are because we expect NC all the time, I’ll scream. Yes, we expect them. But I don’t think a NC every 4-5 years is impossible, difficult, yes, but not impossible. Again, it’s the system and the player. The key is getting them together.
So, I’ll agree for the most part about OADs. I love them for obvious reasons, and think they do increase your chances, no guarantees, but increase the chances for a NC. I’ll buy into the 2-3 year projects, but I think the gamble is larger on the 2-3 year player/system idea than the OAD idea. Calipari spanked Self in 2012 with some OADs and 1-2 yr players. But they bought into Calipari’s elementary dribble drive system.
@icthawkfan316 Alex will likely be OAD depending on his season, but he has “said” staying around a while isn’t out of the question. At least he didn’t say what Wiggins said, unequivocally, “I’m going to NBA after this year.” Oubre said he’ll stay a while too. I think these kids should just keep their mouths closed and wait untill the end of the season, but it could help with other recruits too. Self knew he had Wig’s schollie for Oubre.
What’s the value of a complex system, really? Does it benefit KU that Self’s high low is more sophisticated than Calipari’s Dribble Drive?
Maybe a better question is - what is the point of the system? Should the system produce aesthetically pleasing basketball? Should the system produce winning basketball? Should the system highlight the players? or the coaches? Should the system produce a particular style of play?
I think the point of the system is to win basketball games. I also think that college systems should be easy enough to pick up in six weeks (roughly the amount of time you have between the start of practice and games) and mastered in three months (the time from start of practice to conference season). If the system is more complex than that, you are basically wasting a season. Freshmen (even non OADs) no longer automatically redshirt, so there is no real benefit from having a system so sophisticated that a freshman cannot pick it up easily.
You have to remember, even if you don’t have OADs, you will experience 20%-30% turnover every single year in college basketball. Wasting a year of production is really not an option because you can never get that year back.
@icthawkfan316 - “Now we’d like him to take an even bigger step back and perhaps lessen the chances of success for a whole year in order to better set up future squad’s for success?”
When it comes to the NCAA tourney, there are Cinderella runs. Like this season. The common denominator is that top 15 programs win the title. We are in that group. So even if Self sacrificed a bit, there is still that chance of catching fire in March.
But you’re right, some seasons are not as good as others.
And you know my posts on KU winning it all back around Christmas and the optimism, glass half full stuff – those serve a different purposes than this post.
But this team very well could have won the title. Would that have changed my mind on presumed OADs with Self? Absolutely.
Presumed OADs work with Calipari. That seems to be proven.
@truehawk93 “If I get another response of a poster saying how spoiled we are because we expect NC all the time, I’ll scream. Yes, we expect them. But I don’t think a NC every 4-5 years is impossible, difficult, yes, but not impossible. Again, it’s the system and the player. The key is getting them together.”
Excellent quote. I think our expectations should reasonably be what UConn has achieved. Why expect less? I can guarantee you that Duke, UK, and UNC fan bases, by and large, expect the same thing.
Is it unrealistic to think Self could win 3 titles in the next 10 seasons? Nope.
I don’t think your feeling that presumed OADs work with Calipari but don’t work for Self is valid. Kansas has had 3 presumed OADs in the Self era–Henry, Selby, and Wiggins. Kansas has also had one definite OAD–Black. And it made no more sense to go after Black than it did to go after Wiggins. As far as results at KU, Selby should not be considered because of his ineligibility and subsequent injury. If he had been available for every practice and to play every game, he may have been phenomenal. Since his playing time was so limited–and perhaps a feeling that he didn’t have the support of 100% of the fans–Josh probably felt that he didn’t fit in at KU. So that leaves two OADs who were able to go the whole season. That’s not enough to use as a comparison. And, without better outside play, no matter what Wiggins had done, it wouldn’t have been good enough.
I think both Henry and Wiggins were positive catches for us. Both stayed just one year, but were productive, didn’t cause drama issues, and were always respectful (and will be towards KU in the future). The only negative (and it is one) is we only got them for a season, and couldn’t benefit for a longer period of time and experience further improvements.
I illustrated that in both a “glass half empty” and glass half full" paragraph. It really is how we all choose to look at it.
I’m very much “glass half full” kind of guy on this year’s two OADs. And had Embiid been healthy, I’m positive we would have won that Stanford game and then the tournament results were better, and to who knows what level.
I’m really happy we secured B12 conference #10. That is a streak giving us unbelievable stature today! Unlikely we win that without Wiggins or Embiid.
This thread has been entirely worthwhile!
Can we come in the middle and find a happy spot that works for everyone and in the same time design the best recruiting plan of Kansas now and in the future?
Let’s say we target recruiting all the way to the top, but we make it conditional on fulfilling our requirements. What are those requirements?
Nothing wrong with a player desiring to be an OAD, as long as that player has an open-minded conversation with Coach Self before deciding. (I believe, in most cases we do this now)
Team basketball comes before individual basketball. Players should not be selfish, but should also be more selfish if our coaches ask them to be (like try to be more alpha dog).
All players… presumed OADs and not… will be treated the same. No one gets automatic PT just for signing with Kansas. PT is earned by everyone, and everyone is disciplined in an appropriate, and equalizing manner.
On the other end… seniority does not buy PT. PT must be earned by every player, regardless of age.
I think we could build on some of this. I think we already do some of it…
@drgnslayr I think we were originally making the reference to pgs and OADs. I guarantee you a OAD pg will NOT, absolutely, not work in Self’s system. Unless Self reconsiders his offensive sets, an OAD pg will struggle. Selby was a good example. He never had a chance in Self’s system. He wasn’t here to learn and grow as a player. He was here to move on to the NBA. We can now see the results of that attitude. Therein may be why Self cannot get the illustrious, 5 start pg that we so dream about. Self needs to settle on 3-4 star pgs or settle on Tharpe caliber players. I don’t think a juco pg will be able to grasp Self’s system either.
But if we are waiting for the pieces to be in place, we are in for a long drive to the next NC. Florida’s back to back with Horford, Noah, and Brewer are good examples of the magic that is needed to win NC. But that team is rare and almost once in a lifetime experience too. Funny, because we beat that team in the preseason, haha.
Didn’t they have Humphrey too?
I don’t know which way I lean on this. Sure it’s nice to have guys here 3 to 4 years, we get to know them, we know about their lives and we take a rooting interest in them once they leave. Having a OAD gives us hope that we can capture the moment in a year, it gives us headlines, they give us excitement.
We have seen both philosophies work in other places, but we have seen both fail at those same places. Kentucky won it all one year not two years later. Michigan St has won it all with older kids, but then this senior class failed to reach the Final 4 for the first time in Izzo’s tenure.
I can’t say we shouldn’t recruit them, if we are settling for lower ranked guys, then are we settling on just being average? If a OAD wants to come to Kansas, then why not???
The recruitment of solid players that were 2 and 3 stars worked for the football team, it won them an Orange Bowl playing the Rodney Dangerfield card of no respect, but can that work in a BCS conference top tier basketball program?
I like both sides of it in different ways, having Wiggins this year was nice. Having Withey, Releford, Young and EJ was nice too.
I don’t think you can discount that having an Andrew Wiggins come through the program and speak high praises of his time here, that it won’t reflect on other top tier players, maybe they will be OAD’s maybe they will be more like Selden and stick around for two maybe three years?
I have seen arguments for and against both, can’t agree with them all nor disagree with the other half. Call me a middle of the road guy on this one, I can see both sides of it.
@drgnslayr I think it really doesn’t matter what kind of recruiting plan I design for Kansas. Nor do I think it is important if I want all OADs or whether I want players who are not even in the top 100.
@ParisHawk That was a great post! Thanks, I really enjoyed reading it.
“All politics are local.”–the late Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill
“All strategy and tactics hinge on logistics.” –anonymous
“Rule: All recruiting decisions are situational. Corollary 1: Recruit everyone that might fit the situation. Corollary 2: Sign the player that offers the best trade-offs for the situation. Caveat: Make sure you understand the situation and guess right on the trade-offs.” –jaybate 1.0
First, every fiber of my being wants to jump on board with HEM and say, “Yeah, what he said!”
And I am close to his elegantly propositioned post in POV.
But I have to diverge just a bit. I have to leave a little crack in the door. I have to twist the blinds open just a hair.
The simplest rule should be: never sign an OAD unless the alternative is likely to be worse.
This past season Self seemed to have an inside, lower level single on the Carnival Line SS .500, or worse, if he did not pounce on the chance to join the OAD Premier Club in hopes of getting assigned a swank state room.
It did not appear, and after the season still does not appear, that either returning players, or other incomings, could have filled the PT slots as well as the OADs, who IMHO, left a lot to be desired as D1 starters for much of the season. I don’t really think the returners, or the incomings, could have done better than Wigs and Selden and Embiid, though it may have been close at certain times of the season.
Where I sing in HEM"s choir is as follows. Other teams seem to get it done sometimes without them. Other teams, UK aside, are not ringing up the rings with OADs. OADs wreck continuity and take a long time to jell, if they ever do. Finally, OADs create instant need as well as instant fulfillment. Need is the hangover that comes with the cocktail called OAD.
In team building–recruiting especially–need that can be fulfilled is good. Need that cannot be fulfilled is bad. Its worse than bad. Its real bad. Epic bad. Evil bad. Godzilla bad.
To steal HEM’s pill device, OAD Need Fulfilled is a grey pill that guaranties you win some, and have more need very soon. OAD Need Unfulfilled is a brown pill that guaranties you dirty your drawers. Multiple OAD Need Unfulfilled is a Black Pill filled with cyanide that guaranties your next season craters like a neighborhood caving in from fracking.
So: I have taken the liberty of reducing OAD recruiting to Boolean Logic.
100: If OAD has high ceiling, say “who gives a flip?” then go to Line 110.
110: If OAD has high foundation, then sign and start recruiting, else go to Line 120.
120: If OAD has low foundation and you have a hole a returning, or incoming player, cannot fill, then sign, else go to Line 130.
130: If OAD has low foundation, and you have a returning, or incoming, player that can do about as well, then do not sign and STOP.
Consensus OADs leave holes that have to be filled instantly.
Consensus OADs have little incentive to play balls to the wall, except situationally, when it serves their marketing needs.
Consensus OADs don’t seem any more prepared for D1 speed and violence than any other type of player, though when they adapt to it by mid season, they are apt to be better than a lesser incoming player.
Consensus OADs have little incentive to challenge defenders at the rim, where injury risk is high.
We saw what Wigs and Selden could do at crunch time against Stanford with their level of experience.
We also got a taste of how long it took for low-foundationed types like Wigs and Selden to even get comfortable with D1 speed and D1 violence–fully 1/2 of a season.
There are very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very few OADs that can enter and carry a team on their backs.
The only ones that I can think of off hand were Anthony Davis and briefly Joel Embiid They were rim protecting athletic freaks in the post.
Inference: Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever sign a guard, or perimeter player thinking that the team can be put on his back.
Ain’t gonna happen. Not now. Not in the future. Not in the past. Even the Shabazz Napier’s and the Derek Roses didn’t carry the teams on their backs. They had seasoned teams that they were plugged into and just had to do their things at the point.
I guess the way I would articulate HEM’s otherwise solid case is: Coach Self, for god’s sakes, try your damnedest to avoid OADs, and sign only those with high foundations, and never expect them to carry a team on their backs, unless, unless, unless…the alternative would be worse.
And yet the bottom line on recruiting is that you have to recruit everyone to have chance at optimizing who you do sign for any given situation that comes up.
Recruiting is a numbers game if ever there were one. You have to recruit the best to have a chance to decline to sign them when it comes time to assessing the situation.
So: in the end, I reckon Self is doing it about the right way.
Perhaps Self’s greatest strength is his ability to make the best of difficult situations.
Recruiting, signing and fitting material to optimize a team, given losses to other coaches in recruiting, flame outs in guys recruited, and so on, mean a coach has to throw a really wide net just to get to the point of having enough players interested in coming that he can then afford to select the ones that fit the need of the situation best.
I’m totally on board with that… It would take some kind of superman to be a freshman PG who could master Self ball and win us a NC!
I think the same for the next level… It is tough for a young college PG to jump right into the pros. There is so much skill required to be great (not just good) along with basketball IQ that most never seem to learn.
@Wigs2 - of course it matters who you plan to recruit… we are counting on you to resolve this matter!
@jaybate - Self better watch those Carnival Line SS cruises… the norovirus plague on board is a real bear!
I doubt UCONN would have been invited to the big dance this year if they didn’t have Shabazz. Compare the team that surrounds him, then look back at what we had at the 2-5 last year (senior stocked 2013 team)! There is no comparison… but we didn’t have a PG who could execute in March. You can say a PG won’t carry a team… but good luck winning the NC without a solid PG. You can have holes somewhere else… but not at point!
The one thing I am sure… Self is going to recruit the best players he can find that will fill his spots and roles. He’s already said that is his goal.
I can think of two monumental events that have happened to Self in the past few years that has had a huge impact on him.
Losing the recruiting battle for Tarc. That crushed Self, and he has picked up his recruiting ever since that happened and we were left dry for a big name footer. We seemed to later do okay with Sir Withey!
Losing the NC in 2012 to a bunch of freshmen players. They weren’t all freshmen, but that is what it felt like, and the unibrow helped deliver UK to the promised land. That changed Self’s views on OADs. And it is possible to win it all with a bunch of them. This year came down to the wire with maybe the youngest team ever.
First, I agree than an exceptionally good PG is imperative to winning rings and you have to sign one, whether it is for one year, or for several.
Shabazz Napier was the poster child for the kind of guard you need to win a ring. High foundation. Exactly the kind of game you have described as crucial for a team. I agree.
Further, Shabazz Napier was the perfect fit for that UConn team, just as X Henry was a very good fit for the KU team he played for. But UConn had 4-5 other experienced nonOADs that could and did effectively guard what many have argued was a UK team stacked with the most talent since the Wooden years. And they out guarded UK both in the early transition game and later, when Cal borrowed a page from Self and told his OADs to play grind-it-out. That tells me that 5-8 OADs, even some coming back for a TAD, are no match for a seasoned team with some depth and an OAD PG ready to run the team out of the box (i.e., with a high foundation, not just a high ceiling).
I have’t studied UConn closely, but it seems likely UConn would have gotten to the tournament with an average guard and without Napier, just as KU got to the tournament in '13 and '14 without a good point guard like Napier. But like KU in those years, this year’s UConn would have fizzled early without a good PG, like Napier.
At the same time, I really think that to get a ring with Napier he had to be with an experienced, hard nosed bunch of very athletic guys to win a ring, or else he had to be paired with stud OADs like Anthony Davis and Kidd-Kilchrist. This UK team lacked those kinds of guys. Randle turned out to be a lot like Thomas Robinson. He was an exceptional player that desperately needed a rim protector to make him be at his best. He just was not quite good enough to rim protect, rebound AND score in the way a great center can carry a team doing those things. Randle was a wonderful stretch 4. But not a guy that could carry a team against an exceptionally hard nosed and experienced bunch of defenders like UConn.
Further, swap those Twins out and swap Napier into UK’s other cast, and I think Napier would have had a tough time guiding UK to a ring this season, the same as those Twins at guard for UK did. UK had all the OADs but it didn’t have all the pieces without Caulley Stein. Napier would have needed Caulley-Stein to get them over the top too. Would he have done a better job than the Twins? Yes, because he is the real deal as a point guard and those Twins were not. You and I agree some on this. I am kind of a hybrid of you and ralster on this point. I want it both ways, like KU had it in '08. I want the exceptional point guard that Sherron was, plus I want the two combos that Chalmers and RR were. I want both. Or at the least, I want Marcus Teague and Doron Lamb.
But regardless of what I want, it is a very tough life for a freshman point guard, no matter how good he is, playing with inexperienced players that don’t have time to learn a diverse system and don’t really have time to become battle hardened and learn how to play under conditions of total war with everything on the line.
In this debate, I am always drawn back to the KU team with TT, TRob, as its stars, and Withey, EJ and Travis as its no names. They got back in the game the second half, and they did this with almost no depth, and with Travis AND EJ on bum wheels. Think about that, slayr. A no-depth team without any Micky Ds, much less any OADs, stayed in a game even though two starters played on a knee that needed an operation and an ankle in a boot. Logic tells me that KU might have beaten UK’s 6 OADs with two more good wheels and one or two depth guys. I mean it was just sick the way Withey shut Davis down to 1-10. And, again, imagine the way we would have locked the entire UK team down had EJ’s knee been sound and Travis ankle been sound.
The more time passes, the more I think OADs are mostly (though not always) high ceiling guys with low foundations that fold when the going gets tough against seasoned teams at full strength. Some seasoned players fold too. Its part of the game. But I think increasingly we are seeing that regardless of how they call the game, a hard nosed, seasoned team with 2-3 40% trey shooters plus a very good point guard is the recipe for success.
Frankly, the only reason Wisconsin did not win it all was their PG was just not quite good enough. Good lord, if Napier had been on Wisconsin this season, Wisconsin would probably have gone undefeated and won the ring.
All the above being said, there is one politically incorrect reason to sign a bunch of OADs. This year’s tournament made it appear that OADs get tremendous advantage in the foul calls the first two rounds of the tournament at least. And Wisconsin had to beat Arizona twice to win the game. That appeared one of the most stark attempts to give a Hi-Viz Talent laden team a victory. But there were many others IMHO.
(Note: it was perhaps a testament to Stumpy Miller’s apparent limitations as a coach that even with the apparent gift of a five minute rest period from referees reviewing a call that apparently should never have been reviewed in the first place, that Stumpy could not find a winning play. Seriously, if Nike were not appearing to stack Stumpy’s team for him, how would he even be getting in the tournament? But I digress.)
Heck, I thought Andrew Wiggins got a sweet whistle most of the season. And once Joel Embiid became considered a lottery pick he went from being a human punching bag that got away with nothing to a guy still getting roughed up that could apparently get some sweet whistles himself. Xavier even appeared to a sweet whistle IMHO.
You apparently have to have real stars on your team–the kind that can sustain the ratings–to make the refs appear to want to keep such stars in the games. So there is something to be said for carrying an OAD just for the sweet whistle effect.
But carry very many of them and it turns your team into a revolving door and frequent turnover means long stretches of seasons where not enough guys appear to play hard nosed enough to be a serious team in the madness.
I just reread the above and want to make clear that I don’t think all OADs coast. I believe they appear not to grasp just how hard seasoned D1 players play after a few years playing at D1 intensity. It appears a very big jump in intensity and contact to D1 no matter how much talent an OAD has, just as it appears a jump to the NBA. It would seem unusual to find 5-6 OADS all capable of playing at a D1 championship level of intensity and contact. And in fact Cal has only won one ring with the formula. Cal’s formula can win a lot of games, but so can Self’s. It can get you to a lot of Final Fours, but so could Ben Howland’s formula. I am just saying the verdict is not yet in on the efficacy of going heavy on the OADs to win RINGS.
What the verdict does seem to be in on is that if one loads up on OADs one tends to avoid falling to .500, and coaches seem more averse to falling to .500 than to failing to win rings, particularly after they already have a ring on their finger.
Your logic is sound. Ideally, we would like to recruit the very best guys that will stay 2-4 years. There is logic in not taking the guys that will be, without much doubt, OAD. The problem is, Self, or any other coach will take the very best players they can. The mid majors would have OADs play for them in a heartbeat. Izzo went all in to get Parker. It takes a very brave coach to look at Andrew Wiggins and say…“I think I’ll pass”. I understand your statement that the only way it would have been worth it is if we win a NC. The fact is, what kept us from winning was Tharpe not developing as we thought and, of course, Joel getting hurt. We could have, in fact, won with AW. That’s why Self would recruit a guy like him the next time and the time after that. They recognize the issues with OADs…but talent wins and Self and everyone else will continue to elbow each other out of the way recruiting these guys unless / until the rule changes. I’ve accepted that fact and I enjoyed AW’s only year here. What I don’t want to become is Kentucky…or even Kentucky lite.
This thread has to be in the top 10 all time buckets threads!
The only reason it’s not top 5 is we didn’t have a reference to “fracking” until the 44th post when @jaybate finally came through!
Am I a flip flopper if I agreed w every poster?
I actually think we have delved much deeper into recruiting philosophically than is actually practiced even at the high elite major level. I think HCBS throws out a wide net and tries the get the very best talent that fits his type of player.
Lastly, it’s clear this board is full of OAD talent and everyone is coming back!
Hmm…I think we’ve hit a nail and brought all our observations to some small conclusion. My final thought is that HCBS can recruit, knows who to recruit, but we all agree just can’t quite get that master piece/s to his diabolical plan in April. Here is where we all tend to agree with various noticeable points.
My issue is how does HCBS reel in that diamond, either rough, or semi-polished, insert said diamond into his ring set, and then how will that diamond shine or compliment the other diamonds in their luster. So that when people look at said ring in April, it all makes fairly good sense. I’d love KU to win a NC every 3-4 years, again not out of the question, but Self has got look at his field of dreams and then ask, “if I build it, will they come?” We’ve seen programs do it maybe with an off year, but for the most part their year is built, they do come, and usually have the year to prove the build.
So, after reading the posts today, Bill Self can and will in his own HCBS way build it, and we can only hope “they” will come. Now, the real test is not so much conference championships, but NCs. I don’t want to sound greedy, but as a winner, I have to have the big prize. Unfortunately, a conference championship is a good indication that you’re winning with some pieces, because if you fall short in March/April, at least you have something to show for your year. UK missed their conference, tourney, and then settled for NC runner-up or second best.
Would you be happy with runner-up after missing your conference championship? conf tourney? and then settle for runner-up NC? It’s an accomplishment, but runner-up is nice and playing in the NC game is great, but just not the same. Oh and yes, KU settled for conf championship and runner-up in 2012. But, just not quite the same, happy, but not NC happy.
Maybe TRob thought the same thought after that 2012 game…
"Kansas also has a lottery pick in AP All-American Thomas Robinson. He was harassed all night by Davis and Jones, and finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds on a 6-for-17 shooting night. He left upset, although not overly impressed with Davis, whom he’ll certainly see in the NBA over the next several years.
“He’s not Superman,” Robinson said. “He’s just a great player. I don’t mean to be disrespectful by it, but as a competitor, I’m not going to sit here and give all my praise to someone I go up against.”