The only way to travel…
I know many of you will be blasting out of here at any moment.
I just want to acknowledge KUBuckets ( @approxinfinity ) and all the awesome Jayhawk posters that made this a great season for talking up basketball!
I’ve had a great time and learned more about the game this year than any other year of my life!
You guys killed it this year!
Thanks to everyone!
This is it!
This is the “stir up” I’ve been waiting for, and I even feel like we got a bonus!
So… what am I talking about? Udunka stuffing at ease? Earning a starting spot to help lift his game? 4-guard x-axis basketball starting the game?
All good… but what I am talking about is the roles of Frank and Devonte. I have been pushing for Devonte as our PG for more than a year now. Technically speaking… hard to say if he was a PG last night or our SG. Turns out not to matter. Frank is probably our best ball handler to be responsible for getting the ball to half court. But once he crosses half court and is positioned in the middle atop the key, that is where traditional concepts are thrown out the window and the chemistry of Frank and Devonte take over.
Look at the stat book. Frank, our PG by name, scores 21 pts and had 5 assists. Devonte, our SG by name, scores 6 pts and had 11 assists. Who ran the show? Who was our real PG? I guess we will say BOTH just to avoid a senseless argument. Months ago, it was difficult for me to convince fans just how incredible Frank is at scoring… a true volume scorer. He has the aggression of a driving volume scorer and has a dead-on shot from trey when it is wide open.
I don’t think fans have thought much about how hard it is to score 21 points in a game while being the floor general. Frank can’t take full credit for this because he does have the help of Devonte. Devonte is growing as the team “play maker”… a role he needs to take and conquer. Devonte exploited the over-match last night by continuing to pound the ball to Udunka for slam after slam. That is what play makers do… something works, they keep going to it.
Now I will discuss the “bonus” I mentioned above. Coach Self is truly the “Riverboat Gambler.” In my past vision, I thought we should move Devonte into the traditional role of PG. But the guy with the cards has decided to not show his hand anytime soon. Perhaps Bill will keep it a shared role. How will teams prepare for that? Who do they put their best guard defender on? Coach’s “ace in the hole” turns out to be Devonte’s ability to step up for big offensive games. We can flip the roles and succeed, too… especially on those rare nights that we face a team with a gifted guard defender.
We are just at the beginning with this team. They are just now coming around to executing a few plays and twists, and perhaps more importantly, they are filling in their roles and starting to be held accountable. The removal of Landen and Carlton from the starting lineup was more about a message to the team. Everyone will be held accountable, even 5th-year seniors.
Udunka is now plugged in! He still has a long ways to go… but it was amazing to see him take advantage of his size, and largely do it without fouling. You can see the game is starting to slow down for him and he is just beginning to execute. Bravo! He certainly has picked up the pick and roll! Amazing how just one weapon can be utilized over and over! Imagine when he has several big weapons?!
There is always some drama on teams. And our current drama is about Landen and Carlton. Teams actually need a bit of drama. This drama should be a good thing as both players adjust to step up their games, and Christmas break is right around the corner. I expect both of these guys to really put their hard hats on during that developmental period.
Last. We have to realize who we played. It isn’t going to go this easy moving forward but at least we got a little taste of what these guys are capable of. And they got it, too! This should help them focus on a goal to play at such a dominant level on all our opponents and also away from home. We got a long ways to go, but one step at a time, and last night was a great step in our desire to climb to the top.
I am probably like a lot of others in here concerning last night’s game. The first half gave me a stomach ache… thinking back to the last few years. Our guys not prepared for a dogfight, more like a cat grooming.
But I did feel better for part of the second half, mostly in the first minutes. Perry and Wayne took over. It was great to see both of these guys awaken from their first half naps. They really need to stop napping during games. Though they did wake up in the second half for a few minutes… enough for us to create the winning gap in the score.
I am amazed at Perry’s offensive tool set. I am amazed at the positive impact Wayne can have on our guys. One or two steals, assists or baskets from Wayne seems to liven up our entire team! This is his team!
I recall many times over the past couple of years where we came out flat and we stayed flat. I’m not saying that won’t happen again, but it is encouraging to see our veteran players step up and right a wrong, all within the 40 minutes of game time.
In as much as the first half gave us a “bad sign” for things to come, the inspired bursts in the second half gave us a “good sign” for possible great things to come in the season ahead!
Perry still hasn’t figured out enough to take it to bigger defenders… but he did show basketball IQ last night by taking what the defense gave him. He is as much a threat from the outside as any of our guys because he can hit that shot consistently and is often given the gift from defenses not wise enough to guard him out there.
Regardless what happens at the C5 this year… this is NOT the same team we had last year! For many, many reasons.
Jo Jo made the historic step “out of bounds” that put black basketball players “in bounds” in college basketball.
In 1966, Kansas was in the Elite Eight game against Texas Western. In a key moment in the game, Jo Jo was called for stepping out of bounds. A crucial call leading to Kansas going down in defeat, 81-80.
As most of you know, Texas Western went on to win the National Championship. A historic game in more ways than one. Texas Western brought the first all-black starting five to the championship game and faced off against an all-white Kentucky team. In 1966, racial issues were tense in America. This game took on a different flavor than past championship games.
The Texas Western victory in the 1966 NCAA Championship game represented the final hurdle for college coaches all through America to come to an understanding that black players could be a huge benefit to their teams and worth the “risks” associated at that time for recruiting black players.
College basketball has never been the same since 1966, and Jo Jo White made the most-famous out-of-bounds play that changed the tint of college basketball all through America.
I remember that championship game. Not so much the game, but the firestorm that came afterwards. Racism was on full display during this period and there were many outlandish racial events occurring on a constant basis. Lynchings and police brutality were still common.
While our nation focused on these events and the uprising of black leaders, like Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., sports became the conduit for bringing black and white people together.
We shouldn’t forget our past. Jo Jo White was a true soldier for humanity. He represented himself with tremendous dignity and was rewarded with earned respect wherever he went, including his playing days in Boston, which was infamous for race intolerance at that time. Jo Jo has always been a part of my connection to the University of Kansas.
Rest In Peace, Jo Jo White. You will be missed by many and you will never be forgotten!
We’ve been short on depth all year.
Devonte plays almost 40 minutes per game.
Yet… we look a lot fresher than most of the teams we play.
A huge part of that surely must come from the efforts of Andrea Hudy. She is the training mom of all our guys and even travels with our team on the road.
Coach Self has mentioned a new strategy of carefully controlling our players’ legs both on the court (practice) and off the court.
I’m willing to place a bet that Andrea has teamed up with Bill to coordinate this strategy of saving our guys’ legs.
Can we really state that our Big 12 Conference Title #14 shouldn’t be credited largely to the efforts of Andrea?
I don’t think so!
So… here is a shout out to Andrea for everything she brings to our program! She deserves a ton of recognition (had to describe it in weight).
Who is responsible?
Who is responsible for bringing the team ready to play basketball?
Can’t we summarize everything into that single question? There were no areas of this game we played well in and there was no energy. How can that be?
I’ve always attacked this issue. I don’t mind losing games. I do mind when the team doesn’t show up. That was humiliating… and I believe it is games like this one that kill our recruiting. I know I wouldn’t send my son off to a school who decides sometimes not to show up. This is a character flaw. Plain and simple.
I wonder… how much fundraising does Bill Self do? It sort of feels like politics in Washington… where our elected officials spend most of their time fundraising instead of working.
When I see a team that appeared to be so disconnected to their coach, I wonder about this. When I see a team that can’t muster up energy for a screaming coach, there is a disconnect. Coaches that eat, breath and sleep with their players can’t help but be connected. Everyone is in one boat. I don’t see that.
This is what bothers me most about Kansas basketball. Games where we don’t show up. That doesn’t register with me. It’s not a part of my DNA. I’ve played in over 1000 organized games of basketball (at a far lower talent level) and I can honestly say that I have never played on a team that didn’t show up for a game. I would have been arrested last night if I was on that Jayhawk team because I would have physically assaulted some of those around me. I wouldn’t accept that kind of humiliation. Ever.
(Courtesy of KUSports.com)
We can examine shot forms, offensive sets and defensive toughness. But this is the engine that drives the train.
I’ve never seen Perry Ellis’ back molars before… until now.
As of Monday, Kansas will be uplifted in the National polls to #1. Usually, that is a curse. Players get over-confident, media chaos infects the focus of our team like a flu virus.
But this team is different. It has worked hard, including battling abroad in Korea, to find a true team identity.
What will carry this team forward has yet to be covered by sports media. Their focus is the allure of our perimeter shooting.
The secret sauce for Kansas in 2015-2016 is their “team focus” and to find “team happiness.”
Now that is something substantial, sustainable, and a REAL FORMULA for a destiny taking us all the way into April! (hint)
Carlton… Is That You?
Read some negative comments on various sites from KU fans blasting Carlton.
Disturbing to say the least. Carlton has been thrown under the bus, I hope he can hide under there until this is resolved after he gets to defend himself.
There used to be a valid statement “innocent until proven guilty”… but that appears irrelevant today with public opinion.
I just want Carlton to know that there are many of us who haven’t convicted him yet and believe he is innocent until proven guilty.
I’m a happy camper today.
There was some very nice signs we can take away from last night’s game.
D E V O N T E !
I noticed he stepped up big in the Baylor game, just had an off-night from the field. That same intensity he brought to Waco was back on display in AFH last night.
The THREE AMIGOS are getting it together for March!
C A R L T O N !
How great was he last night? Wasn’t this the Carlton we were expecting this year after his respectable freshman year? I loved his energy last night. His hands were good (meaning, his focus was there), and he had plenty of bounce in his game. Bravo!
I’m not worried about our depth in March. I have worried about “hitting on all cylinders.” As long as our top 7 guys all play to their capabilities, we will be just fine in March.
We really needed a game like this and it came at the right time. The game looked grim for a while. Josh went down with an ankle sprain while Landen was in foul trouble. There goes our depth! But wait a minute, not so fast…
Serious question: As a recruiter what are you selling a kid? A rather simplistic question, I know, but are you selling the program, playing time, national TV exposure, all of the above? Or are you selling to the parents? How much weight is placed on being straight with people and how much is telling them what they want to hear? Does each team have a pre-determined philosophy about how to approach recruiting or do teams let individuals flex their independence when talking to kids? Would love to hear from someone in the know.
I think to be a good recruiter you need to be more ears than mouth. Listen to the player and his family. Some are focused on making sure their son is in a family-like environment that is wholesome and the player’s family is kept totally in the loop, or even becoming part of the loop. We’ve even seen player’s move family to Lawrence.
For others it is all about what situation will best get the player into the league… sometimes… it’s about HOW FAST can the player get to the league! For others… who will be develop the player most while in college… then they look at strength coaching, player development, etc.
Some put the most focus on PT. Some on how well they will play with the team being assembled. Some know another player or two and are attracted to have a friend with them. Some decide for a team or coach who has shown the most interest as they developed until now. Some… chances of a NC?!
There are other reasons, too. Too many to list. So a recruiting policy shouldn’t be set in stone and only taking one approach.
Fun discussion here about coaches. I think it’s hard for us to compare coaches because we aren’t behind the scenes. But if a coach has a long run at a school, it’s pretty tough to say that where he leads the school is not based on his own abilities. And there are so many factors going into a coach having a great record. Timing is huge… one coach may be the perfect choice for a school because of current situations. How they get along with their AD and above is extremely important. I think the Self contract reflects how good Self has been within the Kansas world. He knows how to handle himself in front of the camera, but also behind it, when working with the entire structure of Kansas above him. He’s been a great match and hence, his record supports that. Lots of factors go into winning NCs, and I think we’ve just suffered some unlucky misfortunes for not winning more… like last year (now two years ago), with Doke and company!
There will always be a frenzy wrapped around a current NC coach. It is quite an achievement and worthy of some attention, but best look at the overall body of work when evaluating greatness.
Jalen is a headsy player with a decent skill level. But he’ll have to lift his athleticism a big notch for the NBA. It matters how he develops, realistically he could use a couple more years of D1 while working on his body and skills.
I can see him develop into a NBA-caliber player but he really doesn’t have margin for making mistakes in his path. Leaving too soon will probably be one of those bad decisions if he gets too eager. I think it’s easier and safer for him to develop while living in the comforts of the college world. When he leaves McCarthy Hall will be gone, and he’ll enter a world of constant travel, hotels and chaos. Gone are the constant connections to strength and other coaching (even in off-season). Developing players at the next level is quite a racket. The pay is marginal and moving from team-to-team comes at a price.
Och is doing the right thing… testing the waters. He will learn where his game needs to improve. He is nowhere near ready for the NBA. I think this move will help him and KU next year because he will focus on improving his weak areas.
He’s going to have to be a lot more aggressive in his play and put up bigger numbers… especially in crunch games.
Followup on my words about Baylor being different…
What changed my mind about Drew and Baylor was Isaiah Austin… and how Drew kept Austin around after his tragedy. And then Drew thought it was important to test players’ hearts, a move that probably saved King McClure’s life. Kind of made me wonder why aren’t all schools testing to this level, especially after Jo Acuil also had heart issues.
Here are a couple of reads.
Austin is one of my fav players of today, even though he plays in China. The guy takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’!
Should we be robbing UA players now? lol Why change our old habit of competing for players with UA.
So would players trade a NCAA death march from Arizona to a NCAA death march in Lawrence? lol
Sean will be back coaching before you know it… "Bruce Pearl on line one!’ lol
True… but I know key players were typically junior/seniors… and developed players. I know newbies can play a key role (Suggs)… but without the experienced crew I don’t think it is likely.
nuleaf… I’ve been amazed at how much of Texas has transformed over the past decade or so. I used to live in Dallas… back when it was in the dark ages, and still far ahead of many parts of Texas. Today, I work with many people from Austin, Waco, etc. and I’m amazed at their progressive nature and “modernism.”
Drew is built for the long haul. We are not.
Drew’s program is “spiritual based.” Watch them pray on the court. He goes after recruits in a totally different way than Self. I really enjoyed this Baylor team. These players have class. In many ways it isn’t possible to compare these coaches.
I’m watching Drew’s players develop at higher clip. That really became apparent this year. He has a strategy for building his team in a different way than Self. I don’t see how anyone can deny the differences.
We’ve bought in to the idea that we can recruit our way to a NC. We are just a slightly different mix than Calipari at UK, but not so different. Even Duke has bought into this (for the most part).
Maybe this year was just a weird year because of Covid… but I don’t think so. And the last NC was Virginia… another development team. Baylor was a development team that was also blessed with quality recruits. Best of both worlds. Gonzaga… development team. Nova… development team. This is the new direction of D1. Heck… Duke couldn’t win it all with Zion!
With the ease of players transferring… what will keep players at Kansas? Are we going to shift to higher player turnover? Look what we lost to transfer this year. Does anyone really think we can put together a team that gels enough to win a NC with a bunch of 1 and 2 year players?