Rounding out the class of 2014



  • So there’s good news and bad news as far as finishing this class. I’ll start with the bad: Myles Turner to UT. I said earlier that we should know the weekend after the JBC where Turner was going to go, and the people that I talk to all said they’d heard UT is in pole position. That shouldn’t be any surprise because there is a lot of general buzz in that direction. Waaaayyyyy earlier in the year I’d heard that Turner was dying to come to KU and ready to commit at late night if he liked what he saw, but when that trip fell through, KU lost momentum with him in a huge way. Now, the info that I gathered was pre-in home, so there is a chance, but Self would have had to put on one hell of a show for Easter dinner in order to save this one. It’s a shame because Turner, although not a great back to the basket player, could have really solidified the post situation for us going into next season. He might have even been the best 3 baller on the team (yes, even with CF projecting to get more PT). Instead, our best bet at having a rim protector that can reliably make up for perimeter permeability is Hunter Mickelson and who knows if he’ll be ready?

    So now the good news: Not only has Devonte Graham blown up (he went from being unranked and unrated by ESPN and Rivals to being a 4 star 30s ranked player by Rivals and 4 star post-grad by ESPN), but apparently he’s also very hot on KU. He’s good friends with Na, and if there’s one thing that that kid could do to redeem himself in the near term, it would be using those connections to get Graham on campus. The big competition is considered to be NC State because he’s from Raleigh originally and they would have use for him as an immediate back up for Cat Barber. While Graham doesn’t have Barber’s speed, his size, defensive ability, and court vision are things worth coveting, especially compared to our current guard core:

    Landing Graham is especially important because the elite talent at the pg spot is looking incredibly thin for the class of 2015. We’re after a couple of guys, including the uber-talented multi-year-looking player Jalen Brunson, but we aren’t leading with any of those guys that I know of (Michigan is considered the odds on favorite for Brunson). Graham also looks more comfortable with the whole ‘coach on the floor’ aspect than our current guards. One of the biggest problems we had this year (and last for that matter) was that the team was too quiet. Na doesn’t take control and huddle the guys up (heck, Selden was yelling at him by the end of the season), Perry’s quiet (and not a great teammate in a lot of ways *), Wigs was quiet, Joel’s English can be difficult to understand… With our incoming crop, though, I’m expecting that to change. Big Cliff and Oubre have intensity to match Selden’s, and I think that can draw something out of Mason. Graham also fits into that scheme nicely.

    The only real downside to signing Graham would be an almost guaranteed transfer by one of the guards, although we’ve been expecting an announcement to that end anyway (although White could redshirt given we’re very unlikely to be out of schollies now). It would also probably mean that Tharpe winds up with no role on the team as a senior (if Self has any sense whatsoever), which would be highly unusual. If Tharpe transferred, I’m not sure if that would help or hurt in terms of getting Graham. All of that, of course, depends on NC State and UV not being able to turn Graham’s head. If they do, I’d consider that a bigger loss than missing on Turner.

    • While I don’t think Perry is a bad person or player (at least on offense) or that he treats his teammates poorly, he tends to work purely solo in the post. He doesn’t look to do big to big passing, nor does he dive to the basket when his fellow post goes baseline. One of the reasons Traylor and Black were waaaaayyyy more effective when they were on the floor together than with any other tandem is because they worked together the way post players are supposed to, which is something that can be attributed to the real familial love that those to guys have for each other (same stuff we saw from Withey/Young, TRob/Withey, Morris Twins, etc). For whatever reason, Perry doesn’t seem to have that kind of bond with anyone else. My guess is that it’s both from his shy and reserved personality, as well as his being used to having been the whole offense for his HS teams. But that, some ball fakes, and mastering the turnaround jumper would make him a master of scoring over the type of bigs he struggled with all last year, and that ultimately meant our demise early in the post season.


  • @konkeyDong " My guess is that it’s both from his shy and reserved personality, as well as his being used to having been the whole offense for his HS teams. But that, some ball fakes, and mastering the turnaround jumper would make him a master of scoring over the type of bigs he struggled with all last year, and that ultimately meant our demise early in the post season. "

    I’m probably not reading that correctly, or reading into it or something, but my personal take on our early demise in the post season was - Tharpe being in the twilight zone, Wiggins not showing up for the Stanford game, Embiid out with injuries and Bill Self being a teensy bit stubborn.



  • @nuleafjhawk Perry did make a significant contribution to that loss, along w/other mistakes you mentioned.



  • @konkeyDong

    “One of the biggest problems we had this year (and last for that matter) was that the team was too quiet. Na doesn’t take control and huddle the guys up (heck, Selden was yelling at him by the end of the season), Perry’s quiet (and not a great teammate in a lot of ways *), Wigs was quiet, Joel’s English can be difficult to understand… With our incoming crop, though, I’m expecting that to change. Big Cliff and Oubre have intensity to match Selden’s, and I think that can draw something out of Mason. Graham also fits into that scheme nicely.”

    That’s the best perspective I’ve read on this! And it makes the ultimate argument for why Graham is important.



  • I’m not completely familiar with Perry’s HS team, but after reading a few post about him being a solo guy, not selfish, just playing alone makes me wonder if he was the man in HS and everyone deferred to him and he still has that mentality and lack of trust of teammates?

    I am not saying that is the case and you’d think by the end of his second year in college that would go away, but who knows??



  • I’m probably not reading that correctly, or reading into it or something, but my personal take on our early demise in the post season was - Tharpe being in the twilight zone, Wiggins not showing up for the Stanford game, Embiid out with injuries and Bill Self being a teensy bit stubborn.

    @nuleafjhawk

    I’m not trying to lay the blame for the loss to Stanford on Ellis at all. That was a group bed crapping. It’s just an observation about one weakness of Perry’s game and the ways that he could improve on that aspect of it.



  • @nuleafjhawk I really have to take issue with the Wiggins thing. Much like a D-coordinator bracketing a star wide receiver, Stanford took Wigs out of the game, correct? I’m not sure what he could do there. We permitted Stanford to control pace. They thus limited our break opportunities. And we did nothing to push the ball after made baskets.

    SDSU caused us fits with aggressive doubles on the block. Stanford made Wigs a none factor by rolling to his strength (reverse pivot), and shutting of penetration.

    I give Wigs a complete pass on the Stanford game.

    Ten minutes into that game, I was curious as to what we’d do to help after half-time. I got my answer.

    Who didn’t see it that way?



  • Another player on our radar?

    Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk | Undecided | 6-foot-6 | Ukraine

    Mykhailiuk is considered one of the best 16-year-old players in the world and, after the recent Nike Hoop Summit, has drawn the interest of a number of high-major basketball programs including Iowa State, Virginia, Kansas and Oregon. He exploded on the European scene last summer, averaging 25 points, eight rebounds and four assists at the FIBA Europe Under-16 tournament.

    The young Ukrainian can play both guard spots, although he is best suited right now to play off the ball at the college level. He is an excellent shooter with NBA range and a strong, physical player for his age. As the son of educators, Mykhailiuk will be a high school graduate and enroll in college at the age of 17 – if he’s not pressured to sign a pro contract. There’s a great chance we will see him in college next season.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/ncbexperts/post?id=2196



  • @HighEliteMajor This is not an attack on Wiggins, just stating the fact that he didn’t show up for that game. You can say it was because of Stanford, but I’m going to put some of the blame on Andrew.

    He was 1-6 from the field. One assist. One steal.

    He could have scored four points and still had a good game had he drove the ball and distributed to his teammates. He basically saw that he couldn’t score at will and shut himself down.

    All players have bad days. This was one of them.



  • his being used to having been the whole offense for his HS teams

    @konkeyDong Perry was far from being the whole offense for Heights. You can’t win 4 state titles in a row with one guy being the whole offense. Just ask Frankamp. That is an example of one guy being the whole offense. Heights had other good players. Not McD’s all-Americans, but good high school talent.

    Anyway, good write up on Graham & Turner.



  • Perry seems to have been overshadowed last year. His abilities are underestimated probably because of the environment. Plus, he’s a sophomore and that means he’s still on the early side of the learning curve.

    As a junior, I expect a different Perry.



  • @nuleafjhawk Yea, I know you’re not attacking him. I’m ok with some of the blame. But I was just thoroughly impressed with Stanford’s game plan.

    One thing about Wigs, the guy can’t pass and set up other players. In that situation, that’s the blame I lay on him. Lots of attention should mean lots of opportunities to set up other guys.



  • ####Newell: 3 ways KU basketball can avoid zone woes in 2014-15####

    The Stanford zone killed Kansas.

    All season, the KU men’s basketball team had relied on efficient offense to outscore opponents, even during the times its defense was subpar.

    That script changed, though, in the biggest game of the year. The Jayhawks’ 60-57 loss to the Cardinal in the round of 32 was the result of a KU offense that just couldn’t get going.

    And the biggest reason for that was Stanford’s mix of 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones.



  • @bskeet Ellis was way overshadowed … he dropped 28 and couldn’t even get a mention on sportscenter (who focused on Wiggins).

    @konkeyDong - Appreciate the info. With NC State, too, they were the ones alleged to have tampered with Graham in the first place, thus the fight to get his release. Wish App. St. would have given his release to anyone but NC State.



  • @HighEliteMajor - HEM & everyone else; FYI this is the weekend for the Jayhawk Invitational 2014 beginning Friday & continuing thru Sunday in Olathe & Gardner at 7 or 8 different gyms. Will be some good non stop hoops & the sponsors, The Morning Star Foundation, use this event as their primary fundraiser. Great cause, good ball, & showcase event. Alums of this tournament include Deron Wlliams, Chris Bosch, Brandon Rush, Xavier Henry, & Cole Aldrich. All of the particulars & schedules are listed on this link to the site. Enjoy if you are able.

    http://jayhawk2014.playdriven.com/



  • @konkeyDong

    Thanks for the video link on Devonte. I watched it. He’s a nice player that won’t be ready for at least two years.

    Slender.

    Though a good touch, likes to set shoot the trey in high school and has to grunt a little to jump shoot the trey. That means at a D1 distance he won’t be strong enough to make treys until has second year of working with Hudy.

    Not an explosive jumper, but this can be corrected with two years of Hudy in his face.

    95% of the highlight plays are right handed. This is always the key that betrays a young PG that needs a year of development time vs. one ready to plug and play. He’s very deceptive at first. He looks pretty ambidextrous in low pressure situations, but whenever the play has to be made, he defaults to his right.

    I like the kid, but he’s two years away. A suspect left hand and not quite enough strength to pot the triceratop from D1 distance makes him a project.

    Frank Mason, especially could eat him alive.

    Conner and Naa would give him fits, too.



  • @HighEliteMajor I haven’t ever met Wiggins in person, and I’m not trying to sound weird, but does it seem like he must have tiny hands for someone his size?

    I’ve never seen any player, on any team, lose the ball so often on drives to the basket. That was one thing that really bugged me this season.



  • @konkeyDong On Ellis not being a great teammate: this is just a detail, but please remember all the alley oop plays where Ellis was putting great screens on one of the post guys. He did little things…



  • @icthawkfan316

    Ellis averaged 22.3 ppg on 66% shooting over his HS career for a team whose scoring average was in the high 60s. Simple math would tell you his usage rate was approaching or exceeding 50% when he was on the floor. Given that he was doing the work of 2.5 players on offense, I think I’ve made a fair statement.

    @jaybate 1.0

    I don’t think he needs to start over Mason or Frankamp on day 1, but the fact of the matter is if we don’t land Graham now, we’ll be hard pressed to have another PG of his caliber on the roster until the start of their senior seasons.

    @ParisHawk

    There’s a big difference between setting a screen in a set play, and being able to create for your teammates in the post. I’m not saying he never does any of the dirty work, and Ellis isn’t a bad teammate by any measure, but he just doesn’t have the skills right now to make his teammates better. If he catches the ball in the low post, he looks to score over the D whether it’s reasonable or not, and when he does pass out of the post, it’s usually not to create, but just to re-position or move on. Compare his post play to what Marcus and Markieff did together, or even Young and Withey and the difference is night and day.



  • Perry Ellis is not a bad guy or a cancerous type of teammate. I don’t think that’s what @konkeyDong was meaning when he wrote that at all.

    As we have discussed on several threads before, Perry’s major problem is how he was developed as a player. Much of his development was spent working on individual skills (shooting, ballhandling, etc). You watch Perry and realize that his individual skills are top notch.

    However, basketball is a team game and Perry Ellis played a limited amount of team games. He wasn’t hugely active on the AAU circuit. He played for his high school, but in this day and age, when Kansas is still stuck on ancient rules that limit a team to just 20 regular season games and limit how far teams can travel, many of Perry’s games were not against teams that had elite interior players for him to face of with.

    It’s notable that of the D1 players taller than 6-5 from the state of Kansas over the last several years, Perry Ellis played less than 10 career games against those guys. He never faced Willie Cauley Stein. Never saw Semi Ojeleye. The Wichita area produced several D1 caliber guards, but Ellis was the only big guy. The NE portion of the state had several guys that were D1 caliber, but because of the way schedules and classes are, Ellis didn’t see those guys.

    Perry Ellis developed most of his game working on his individual skills, which is attributable to his personal work ethic and dedication, two tremendous character traits. However, he was not able to compliment this individual work with working with teammates to develop his interior passing skills, or defend against other skilled bigs. We can see those weaknesses in his game.

    Look at the Morris twins for example. Because they always worked with each other, they are very adept interior passers. Same with both Pau and Marc Gasol. Tim Duncan developed into a great passer in the NBA working with David Robinson.

    Unfortunately for Perry, when he has caught the ball in the post, generally his task has been to go get buckets. Juxtapose that with a guy like Jamari or Tarik, both of whom are less skilled than Perry overall, but were able to pass better, Jamari because he spent time playing with Anthony Davis on his Meanstreets AAU team, and Tarik because he played with other skilled bigs in HS and at Memphis.

    I think Perry can (and will) develop into a refined passer. He has the ball skills and individual talent. He just has to get used to doing so at game speed.



  • @konkeyDong You can make the case with numbers all you want, but anyone who watched him play throughout his high school career (as I did, living in Wichita, being a former Heights graduate, knowing Perry’s parents, and having younger siblings that attended Heights during Perry’s time there) would know he wasn’t the whole offense.

    Furthermore, I think the case could be made (statistically) for a lot, maybe even a majority, of players coming out of high school to blue blood programs. These are guys going to elite level D-1 programs, usually playing with 2 or more guys who might not play basketball again after high school. Some will play at community colleges, some at jucos, some at lower division schools. KU recruits star players, not role players, so in more cases than not I would expect the players we have on our roster to have carried a disproportionate share of the offensive load in high school.

    We’ve probably seen a shift from the percentage of players like this over the last few years, as kids moving around to join better high school teams has become more and more common. Also the amount of kids going to basketball oriented prep schools is on the rise. Regardless, I’d still wager that most players at elite programs were the stars of their high school teams. Perhaps AAU stats would give us a better picture.

    Anyway, I guess what I’m getting at is that I don’t buy Perry’s high school success as a valid reason why he seems to work more “solo” in the post. His personality? Most definitely.



  • @icthawkfan316 I agree with you that most players are far and away the stars of their HS programs. That’s where Perry’s lack of AAU exposure hurts him, IMHO. Most guys get their reps with and against elite talent on the AAU circuit.

    Perry didn’t play a lot of AAU ball, but that also meant that he didn’t play as much with and against other D1 caliber players.

    Here’s the other thing - look at a guy like Kelly Oubre. He played in Texas, but left his school in Texas to play at Findlay with Rashad Vaughn. Cliff Alexander played in the Chicago Public League, which routinely puts a more than a dozen players to the D1 level. You start looking on KU’s roster and most of these guys played with elite players in HS. Those that didn’t have them on their team played a lot of AAU ball. Even Conner played quite a bit with Pump and Run KC. Everyone except Perry, really. And I think that affects his decision making in game situations because most of his game exposure has been as the best player on his HS team (and the best player on the court), as opposed to being an equal player on a stacked AAU team against equal talent on the opposing side.



  • @nuleafjhawk I haven’t ever met Wiggins in person, and I’m not trying to sound weird, but does it seem like he must have tiny hands for someone his size?

    Shawn Kemp the Rain Man had really small hands for his size, he had a hard time dunking with one hand without the ball flying out, one reason he wasn’t in many dunk contest.



  • @JRyman @nuleafjhawk I actually had thought Wiggins’ hands were enormous. The perspective on this photo may be at play here, but I saw this a couple months ago and gasped. Hopefully I get this photo pasted correctly!

    Wiggins’ hands…



  • @justanotherfan Perry did play AAU ball. I believe the name of his team was “Play & Pray” (or vice versa). Not exactly sure how much, how good they were, and what kind of exposure to other teams and elite players he had. To be honest I don’t follow the AAU circuit much at all.



  • @icthawkfan316 Buddy Hield (OU) played on Ellis’ team. They played a regular circuit of games best I could tell when I looked back then.



  • @Virgil_Caine Dang - you’re right. By the looks of that photo they do look pretty large. Maybe he’d better invest in some of those hand-grip exercizers…



  • Whatever weaknesses happen to have sometimes affected his play, I hope to all holy hell he works diligently to overcome and stay in the lineup this season. From the day he committed to KU, Perry Ellis has been and is my favorite Jayhawk.



  • @REHawk no doubt he’ll work his tail off!!!



  • @REHawk Perry will be in the lineup and will be one of our bigger contributors. Some have talked about him maybe not starting. I can’t see that at all. He is one of our more experienced players, and though he has weaknesses (defense, short for a post player) he is very quick for his size and has a great shooting touch. He’s a smart kid, a hard worker, and will get better. He will be one of our main guys this year despite the low key demeanor that everyone talks about.


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