I just think Carlton needs to be more committed to staying focused the entire time he is on the court.
I think his biggest issue is focus. One sure sign is his inability to GRAB the ball! So many rebounds are right there in front of him and he can’t grab the ball. The ball is like a greased pig. Players don’t just have bad hands. His hands are fine. His ability to stay in deep focus is the problem.
We are a very different team from last year. The ball moves quicker and our offensive aggressiveness is shown in more complex ways. Drives coming from all over the place, etc. So Carlton had to raise his level of focus just to stay even on where he was last year.
It looks like he is slowly catching on to the pace and other factors. Just not sure he can accomplish much in as many as 6 games.
A huge help to his focus is adrenaline. When he came back from his last suspension, he had a monster game. That was adrenaline talking. The adrenaline not only helped his focus but also helped his motor.
So… HOW do we get his adrenaline back up to that level for every game moving forward? Figure that one out and we will benefit bigly.
I like what Self is doing by saying all these things to the media about the defense. It forces the issue to be on the players minds until they as a group decide to buckle down. Because they haven’t lost a game in so long Self doesn’t have a lot of ammunition to draw from currently and until this team drops a game due to its defense we may not see the change we all want to see.
Maybe it’s going to take a loss for the guys to regroup and start focusing on stopping teams or this team is truly going to be an outlier in the Self Era. It’s too early to tell because we have the guys to be good defensively.
We may also just have to accept that in order to be the offensive juggernaut we are, we might have to accept average defensive play. This team may not be capable of playing 2 way ball. From injuries to not enough depth in certain area’s we are who we are. A damn good team that is still not firing on all cylinders
One of the keys to Big 12 Basketball surviving (moving forward) has to be the quality level of coaching throughout our league. A few teams may be down a bit on talent, or young… or both… but we have a nice group of coaches and if we can keep it that way, the future looks much brighter.
ISU is bringing just about everybody back and a few new players including a talented 7’ Greek that had to sit one year. No question that they will start as favorites to win the Conference next season and if Diallo joins the team, they will be a top 3 team, no question about it. IMHO, Niang is good, really, really good and will likely start as pre-season POY in the Conference.
Youth - This team is young. The problem is we see them execute for a game or for a half and we quickly forget how young this team is. Our “veterans” are three juniors, Perry, Jamari and Hunter. The only guy we really count on (especially for offense) is Perry. Now look at everyone else. It seems like Wayne should be considered an elder, but he still is only a sophomore. Players tend to grow up quite a bit during a 4-year commitment. Wayne, Brannen, Frank and Landen… those guys may not still be called “green wood”, but they are still soaking in sap.
Leadership - It takes several qualities in a player to make a good leader. Typically… we are talking about experience, communication ability, confidence, swagger, talent, hustle, basketball IQ, and last, he must have a following! This team doesn’t really count on one guy to lead. That doesn’t seem to matter sometimes… but other times, we could sure use one guy to step up and kick the troops back in line. Usually it comes from the PG. Frank doesn’t back down from anyone. But does he communicate to everyone? Does he kick players to get them going? Does he see enough of what is happening in a game to try to take control, like with the tempo? Frank has a lot on his plate. He came to Kansas as a volume scorer, not a PG. He has done a great job in transferring his ability to a new position. But to lead the team, he’ll need to make a bigger commitment to fulfill that role. Is he up for it? Guess we better ask Frank.
Post Play - We’ve never had a Self team with so little effectiveness in the low post. Self mentioned it again in his post game interview. We need to count on our fair share of post points. An easy way to work on post baskets is to get more offensive rebounds. Simply put… we are not a good offensive rebounding team. Case in point last night. We out-rebounded TT but only got half the offensive rebounds they had. There is an easy place to pick up some easy baskets. Wow… consider if we had this kind of perimeter shooting with players like TRob and the twins in the post? Remember all those sagging defenses back then?
Glass Half Full:
Youth - There is a positive to youth. This is a team void of baggage. For example, our young perimeter players aren’t carrying the “disfunctional guard torch” any longer. That ended with Naa. Another advantage about their youth, we don’t know that they will choke under pressure. Knowledge doesn’t always help the situation. If all these guys were juniors and seniors, and had sat on the bench their first few years, soaking up the knowledge, we don’t know that they would succeed. Then they carry more of a burden… expectations gone over board. Perry seems to fit in that scenario sometimes. These guys do have the possibility that they can just play unhindered basketball.
Timing Their Peak - How many times have we experienced a Bill Self team that peaks too early? It is important to peak at the end. Look at our possibilities to do that this year! Look at our players individually, and where their performance timeline may be: Wayne, seems to be coming on, especially with his shot. Might that trigger his game all around? We know he is capable of playing better defense and snagging more rebounds, even blocking shots. Brannen, he doesn’t need to shoot a higher percentage, we just need to find more ways to get him the ball. But his defense and rebounding are clearly improving. He just needs enough PT. Kelly, we don’t even know what he is capable of bringing! It was great to see him score a few buckets on the road in this game, might he eventually become a true “road warrior?” Cliff… it is clear that he will get more PT moving forward now. He really doesn’t have to provide so much to make a huge impact because we weren’t getting enough from Jamari. It was great seeing him swat some shots and effect other shots. He will surely pick up some low post offense soon. Perry… might he come on late in the season? Devonte will surely help out in key situations. Landen offers a post player who knows how to set in the low post.
Identity - This team has won a lot of ball games and they’ve done it largely without having an identity. It looks like their identity (moving forward) is to be the best perimeter shooting team in the nation! Self can call it “fools gold” but we wouldn’t be near the top of our conference without it. Can we count on it? To some degree, yes! What we have to do is protect our interests. What we can’t count on is hitting heavily contested shots. We need to develop more offense that continues to spread the defense and open up the long ball. Are any of you really concerned about Brannen’s ability to nail the 3, especially if he is wide open? Moving forward, in March, we will face some teams with very good perimeter defense. They will scout us and they will come at us with the goal to contest the 3 ball. We can counter by developing some working post offense. That will help. But what we really need to do is drive the ball! Remember “drive and feed?” Frank and Devonte should be our guys to drive most. Even Perry is a capable option to drive. I’m really not concerned with any “back to the basket” play from here on out. That simply isn’t our style, and we are wasting our time to work on it. Enough with the teaching philosophy, it’s time to coach a strategy to win each game ahead of us. The way to do that, and have instant success, is to develop offense around the long ball. Get our guards to drive some, and otherwise, get good spacing and crisp passing. Some of our guys need to run through off-ball screens. Motion in our offense is the answer. If we do this right, no team in the country can beat us. No one. Kentucky? No! Think “turbocharged Princeton!” Adopt a bit more from the Mayor’s playbook. Imagine what that guy would do with the group of shooters we have?
I don’t think people realize just how good Frank Mason is.
First off… he is only 5’11".
Second… his HS role was that of a scoring guard. Some might even classify him as a volume scorer. He scored 50 points in the 804 All Star Game.
Now he’s transforming into a PG. How many guys can successfully do that? Not many. Now Frank’s first role is to create opportunities for other shooters.
We all know Frank has a ways to go, but we should appreciate how far he has come. And if you are able to do that, really appreciate that, then you see how much potential Frank has in his future years as a Jayhawk.
Frank is the real deal. So don’t be surprised if he continues to earn most of the PG minutes this year. Cut him a break now and then while he advances through the learning process.
And how about him averaging 5 rebounds a game?
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