Late Night in the Phog 2014-15

  • Okay, as we wait on Graham, let’s start looking to Late Night. I want to start looking at the rotation. I know many of you aren’t looking to Tharpe, but I really think, want, and hope he has a breakout. I don’t know if Graham will be ready his freshman year to be THE PG that overcomes our woes. I’m sorry but Tharpe has no choice. It’s put up or shut up and sit.

    Tharpe/Mason/Graham - Tharpe will be a senior and unless Mason takes over, Tharpe will have to be the pg. No way to go, but up for Tharpe.


    Green/Oubre - This is going to be interesting. It’s going to be difficult for Oubre to beat out Green and AW3 is a Junior.



  • @truehawk93 Traylor?

  • @truehawk93 Hard to tell about PG, but I have to agree with you.

    Selden I say Oubre will start…I always wonder if being a McDonald’s AA gives a guy a leg up politically. I know that flies in the face of the best guy plays. I also realize many McD’s have not started (like Ellis). Greene will get minutes either starting or off the bench. You are right, though, typically the more experienced guy has a leg up and starts. No telling how CF works in. Again, somebody in the backcourt will not get many minutes. Pretty crowded. I think Alexander is almost a lock to start. Jamari rotates in. The other big man minutes go to either Lucas or Mickelson.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Depends on Ellis. If Ellis doesn’t have more consistent games, I could see Traylor and Alex playing some interesting mins at the 4. I don’t know, but it will be interesting.

    I just saw Keegs’ rotation:

    Point guard: Likely KU recruit Devonte Graham vs. sophomore Isaiah Taylor.

    Shooting guard: Wayne Selden, his explosiveness restored by offeseason knee surgery, vs. Javan Felix or Demarcus Holland.

    Small forward: Kelly Oubre vs. Jonathan Holmes.

    Power forward: Perry Ellis vs. Turner.

    Center: Cliff Alexander vs. Cameron Ridley.

    IF Keegs is right about Ellis v Turner, that will be a potential matchup problem. I give Ellis the edge, but he’s struggled with length. Ellis will need to pull him out of the lane and use his ball skills. He can handle the ball fairly well from 5-10’ out from the rim. I think KU will need to use some medicine against these other bigs. Drive and create contact by using your body, especially Tharpe, Selden and Oubre. Many teams used it against Embiid and it works 100% of the time. I think a player like Turner will be clumsy, a bit lost, and foul prone his first year. I think he’ll have a rough year if Barnes plays him. I don’t see him thriving much in Barnes’ system. I remember Brad Buckman ball very well.

    Holmes will likely take Oubre from experience. Oubre like Ellis is a bit timid and doesn’t have much of a toughness factor. Holmes is a big kid. Oubre will not win the physical matchup. Again, Barnes gets big physical players. KD and Turner are his thinnest recruited players that I can remember. Most of the others have been brutes. Barnes is old school. He coaches to the advantage of strength and bully bball.

    Alex and Ridley will be a wrestling match. I guarantee you Baby Huey will resort to pushing, pulling, and other tactics to gain an edge. Barnes’ bigs have always relied on brute strength.

    Our 3pt shooting has got to improve. I watched Alex huck up a few threes in the McDs AA and he made one rainbow 3. I hope Ellis will/has developed his 3 to become a consistent factor. Our sharpshooters have got to come through in a big way:

    Tharpe/Mason/Graham - this is goig to be a question all year

    Selden/CF - way more consistent

    Oubre/Green/AW3 - just play and let it fly

    Ellis will be a huge advantage to consistently improve and shoot his 3, but not as the norm, only an exception from time to time

    PG is completely anyone’s guess at this point. This is the thought that makes me crazy about Tharpe. We shouldn’t have any issues with our SENIOR PG. I can’t believe we are having this conversation about Tharpe. It’s unbelieveable and Self going after Graham is a telling sign for Tharpe.

    Selden should have the edge on most 2s in the league. I hope Selden doesn’t have an EJ knee experience. EJ never recovered completely and was never the same.

    The players that seem to be looking from the outside in are CF, AW3, and possibly Tharpe. Our odd big is going to be Mickelson. It seems off to say Mick will be our odd big man. He’ll be a bit like Aldrich. But, he will go the distance.

  • Unable to make the correction. I meant Selden will start.

  • My Texas lineup will be experience v. experience

    Tharpe/Taylor - even though Taylor will likely slice and dice Tharpe



    Ellis, JTray/Holmes- I don’t see Turner much


  • @truehawk93 History tells us that the overwhelming majority of teams, including most (if not all) of Self’s KU teams, play an 8 man rotation. 8 players that will average double digit minutes. So when you say you want to look at the rotation, listing each position and a back-up (or 2) is not practical, as at least a couple of those players will be relegated to diminished roles. Because of this, and because of the uncertainty surrounding the PG position, it is near impossible to guess at a potential rotation on the perimeter. Until there is some clarity there, I can only list who I would want in the 5 man perimeter rotation (and 5 is pushing it):

    Mason Selden Oubre

    Greene (reserve) Frankamp (reserve)

    I’m in the camp not looking to Tharpe. Time to move on. I am also assuming we don’t land Graham. If we do…I have no idea.

    In the post, I think it is misguided to think Self starts either Lucas or Mickelson, simply because they are closer to a true center. Without Turner, I can say with near 100% certainty that the starters will be Ellis & Alexander, barring injury. Self has no problem starting two 4s - Jackson & Arthur, the Morris twins. I think those were Self’s two most talented teams - the '08 championship team and the '11 MorrisHawks (no slight to the '12 runner-up squad). I think Traylor is the first big off the bench.

    Now while 8-9 guys will be the only ones averaging double digit minutes, that doesn’t mean that guys can’t have a defined role. We saw last year Greene had a limited role in which he knew he was getting into the game at some point in the last 10 minutes of the first half. Maybe just for a handful of possessions, but a role nonetheless. Aldrich had a similar role on the '08 team. We’ll probably be looking at more of the same this year with the grouping of Tharpe, Mason, CF, & possibly Graham. Someone will be left without regular rotation minutes, but Self will probably keep them active by playing them sparingly in most games. This will be especially true if Tharpe lands in the rotation, as Self will want to keep the younger options ready to bail Tharpe out again if need be.

    We also saw for probably the first time last year Self go to a 4 man big rotation (double digit minutes for 4 bigs). I suspect he’ll do the same this year, simply because his 3 best post players are not centers, and Perry & Jamari both lack height to defend some of the taller players. It will be a battle between Lucas & Mickelson, and I’m guessing Mickelson wins out based on his defense, as long as he can recapture what made him good in his freshman season at Arkansas. Still, unless he can develop a chemistry like Black did with Traylor, I don’t know that he’ll average double digit minutes.

  • @icthawkfan316 Alex held his own many times against the bigger Okafor and in fact, not only held, but won. He plays bigger than he is physically. He’s 6-9, but he plays as well or better than Okafor and Turner. He has strength. They may have him on some skill sets, but I think Alex could handle the 5 in most cases.

    I just don’t know how Oubre and Alex will step in as freshman. I think experience will be the key to winning the B12 this year. It seemed all eyes were on Wiggins. We were relying on talent and saw experience win many times. This year, I think Alex comes off the bench with Lucas. Lucas has been around longer than Mick. Mickelson will see time, but it’s going to be difficult to play everyone. But if you have Alex at the 4, then Lucas and Mick will work well at the 5 in most cases.

    I’ve argued for Self to leave players at their true positions. Yes, I am aware and this is one of those areas of change. Bill Self needs to keep his basic coaching philosophy, but ask some hard questions to make some changes in order to win.

    We could dissect Self’s predictable coaching techniques. You’ve pointed out the 8 man rotation, which has to change. You have to go with the player that matches best or you’ll get beat. I’m not sure what Self’s obsession is with a limited 8 man rotation.

    You also have to make adjustments on both sides of the ball too. He can’t keep his same offense, because we all saw teams zero in and predict plays. Dawkins exposed Self again with the zone. Self has got to incorporate something to anticipate a zone and get the guys ready. But, teams will sag and zone if KU doesn’t hit 3s to losen up the zones. Or penetrate to confuse zones. You can utilize screens to beat zones.

    We can name many other Self coaching pieces that needs to change or we’ll see a lot of what we saw last year.

  • [ ](link url)

    After a drawn-out ordeal with Appalachian State and a season at prep school, Graham’s AAU coach Dwayne West just wants the 6-foot-2 point guard from Raleigh to take his time.

    “He needs to be diligent in his decision and let the process take its course,” said West, Graham’s coach with Garner Road Basketball Club. “He didn’t do that last time.”

    Really coach? KU is not Appalachian State. Graham has an excellent chance to showcase his skills at a powerhouse and you tell him to “take his time”? He can now because KU doesn’t have any other recruit to take his paper. Yea, take all the time you want and forget Bill Self of KU needs a PG. Does anyone hear how silly that advice sounds at this point? I get the mature sound of reason, but he doesn’t have 4-5 programs considering him. How hard can it be to choose between KU and NCST? Again, like UT the facts are obvious. But take your time young man and don’t make an irrational decision. You might regret choosing KU, which is a win win for you. Or like Turner, pick the team of lesser everything. But if you want to stay close to home, pick NCST. Your choice as always. 🙂

    West described Graham as a “true point guard” who has a special ability to score.

    Tharpe came in as a “true point guard” too. But not much on the “special ability to score.” We need a pg with the special ability to score. I’m sold, sign him now, if he wants to.

  • I’m not sure what Self’s obsession is with a limited 8 man rotation

    @truehawk93 Let’s be clear - this is not Self’s obsession. As I said in my previous post, the vast majority of teams play 8 players. I did the research on this and posted as such a couple of weeks ago. Only 3 of the top teams last year played more than 8 players - Wichita St., Louisville, and Michigan. As I had pointed out then, Wichita St. had 9 players average double digit minutes, which can in large part be attributed to their weak schedule. They were often times blowing opponents out, thus allowing to go one deeper into the bench. Louisville averaged 9 also, which can be attributed to their style of play, which tires players faster and also lends itself to players getting in foul trouble more often, necessitating the need for an extra person in the rotation. Michigan seemed to be the outlier. Every other team had 8 or less in their rotation (again, just using the gauge of double digit mpg). I have heard Self and other top coaches extol the virtues of a 7-8 man rotation. Any more, and you start messing with chemistry & rhythm. It is logical to assume this is particularly true for a young team, with whom chemistry between teammates is still tenuous at best.

    And I’m sorry, expecting Lucas - who couldn’t beat out Embiid, Ellis, Traylor, or Black for playing time last year - to start over Alexander is a reach, IMO. To me, suggesting that is the same as when people would suggest that Justin Wesley was going to be a factor in the rotation the past two seasons. Lucas is not the same caliber of player as Alexander, and the gap is so wide that he could spend 10 years in Self’s system and still not warrant starting over Alexander.

  • @truehawk93

    I have a feeling we are still in for a recruitment shock or two.

    Self is not done recruiting. Not even after the Devonte decision.

    During this time of year, Self must be the best recruiter in America! Transfers, 3-yr grads, miscellaneous circumstances…

    I still wouldn’t be surprised if he found a PG and a 5. Hopefully, Devonte will be our new PG commitment!

  • @drgnslayr He does do that this time of year. And just when I think he can’t recruit any longer…he goes and totally redeems himself. Yea, that Bill Self must be full of crap… 🙂

  • Does everyone remember how Self recruited Tharpe? KU was between a rock and hard place with pgs. We totally missed on Josiah Turner and Self recruited him hard. He was all but signed to KU. Also, shortly after Turner, Self went after Smart, and then went after the twins. He struck out with pgs. He was really banking on Josiah Turner.

    In a nutshell, Taylor was on his way out, EJ wasn’t a pg, and Self really needed Josiah Turner. I’ll never forget that slippery slide. Self just couldn’t stop sliding downward. Now, ironically the pg recruited to fill pg needs is now leaving. Maybe this is a good sign that Self’s pg woes are over.

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