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…
Can’t read the article… so I’m going to dream what it could be and what I hope it is.
I hope it is about Bill seeing the game through new eyes. The opportunity on offense is the ability to attack from 5 positions all over the floor instead of limiting by position. “Positionless basketball!” I’ve heard Bill talk about it before. This is college basketball. You won’t meet a team without defensive weakness from any of the 5 positions on the court. Take what the defense gives.
Does size matter? Not when there are liabilities in size. Not when you trade size for slowness, loss of handles, loss of shooting from the perimeter, loss of passing skills, loss of playmaking. Marcus Garrett may have been the most transitional player Kansas has ever had. He can guard 1 - 4 well. He’s a skinny kid, not that tall. And the game has shifted. The rules favor him. The rules have turned against big guys bullying their way to the rim. Bill must see this. He must imagine what a team full of guys with Marcus’ capabilities on defense could do especially with more offensive skills than Marcus.
It would be nice to end the days when we have a big guy on the perimeter catching the ball while having no capability to dribble in or shoot the ball from that distance… allowing his man to sag, allowing defenses to know what will happen next. Don’t get me wrong… I’d take another Doke. He wasn’t the norm in the post with his high efficiency of finishing.
@drgnslayr said in K.J. Adams:
I’ve never seen a KU freshman show up to Kansas knowing how to rebound. Wait… I said NEVER… okay… thinking, thinking… I’ll keep to my original statement.
Thomas Robinson. Averaged almost 3 rebounds a game in just 7 minutes as a freshman. Averaged over 6 rebounds a game as a sophomore in just 14 minutes. TRob understood how to get position and pursue the basketball.
I’m going to accept being wrong here. TROB was solid on the boards in his freshman year… mostly because of his hustle. But he did show how position counted. He went on to become even better!
I’m more interested in Adam’s handles and jump shot than if he’s fast-twitch or not. I have more confidence in Self adapting his strategy around finding the right 5 to put on the floor. We saw that this last year. Going big didn’t work. If he can use his size and still motor well, he’ll be an asset in a smaller lineup.
He’s a Jayhawk now and I welcome him to Lawrence!
I always appreciate your response and more than often agree. I know I’d rather have every player playing at fast twitch level compared to a slow twitch level. But I’ve seen many players succeed without being super blessed with high twitch capabilities. I think aggressiveness is still a huge factor and I remember so many times when Perry and Dedric let up sometimes after being rejected. Even the fast twitch players get rejected sometimes (but less). Body build and strength is also a monster factor. Right away I think about Charles Barkley… someone not blessed with too much fast twitch but dominated the boards in the NBA.
Fast twitch is a great benefit… but not a factor by itself that will decide if a player can be effective or not. I do agree with you and others, that it is a factor that comes more into play in D1 versus high school.
Really enjoying all the posts.
Concerning KJ… my opinion is only based on these two clips. What I see, I like. I see a young man who will probably be here for 3 to 4 years, but can offer some contribution from day 1. He still has another year of high school ball, and I bet he either puts on more height or girth, maybe both. He has a great build already, and that means he’s a guy that won’t be restricted in his early days at Kansas as we wait for physical development.
I wouldn’t say he’s a super fast twitch player, but then, he has muscle mass as a junior in high school. He may fool some people at Kansas and suddenly be called a “late bloomer.” I see aggressiveness, and you really can’t teach that. Add that with size and strength and how can anyone think he won’t contribute. I don’t see how anyone can put him in the same breath as Ellis or Lawson. His aggressiveness and body separate him completely.
I may be trying to paint him with rosy glasses… but I wonder if what is mistaken for slow twitch is a guy who just plays under control. We’ve experienced off-the-charts fast twitch with players like Wiggins… who really couldn’t translate that on the court. Granted… OAD!
I think it shows the struggle of being a head coach at a school like Kansas. I recall how much pressure Self had for bringing in top tier talent, too. To me, it seems that there is so much risk going after that top shelf. Most of those players have “handlers” around them.