Chat with Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan

December 8, 2006

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan is one to tell it like it is, whether it comes in his columns, his postgame ratings, every Sunday night on The Drive or in the Spodcasters studio. This Friday he'll bring it live to, joining us for a live chat. Got a question about KU hoops? KU football? Caramel Macchiatos? Tom's the guy to ask.


Hello all, and welcome to today's chat. Sorry it's been a couple of weeks since we've done one of these, but we've got a great guest with us today. My name is Ryan Greene, editor of, and I'll be moderating today's chat, with Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan here to field some questions from you the readers. Tom, thanks for taking some time to join us today

Tom Keegan:

Ryan, Thanks for doing what someone never has done in my 47 years on this planet. Thanks for using the word "great" to describe me.


Ah no problem, Tom, after all, you're a jack of all trades, what with the column writing, spodcaster wits and being the doormat to Romary and Fitzgerald on The Drive, but that's beyond the point, what do you say we get to some questions.

Tom Keegan:

Fire away, just don't wipe too much mud on me.


Please address the question on every KU fan's mind right now!

Will Bill Self ever be another Roy Williams, or are we stuck in mediocrity (by Kansas standards) for his entire tenure here?


Tom Keegan:

I don't think comparisons to Roy Williams are fair. Roy didn't want to be here anymore, so he's not in the pool of candidates from which KU could pick. Given the available pool, I think KU made the right choice in Self. Here's what I don't get: There seems to be a perception that Self is a good recruiter and not a good coach. Why then, was he able to coach Roy Williams' players to the Elite Eight in his first season and then last year, coaching almost all of his own players, he bowed out in the first round? Think about it. If anything, Self has been an overrated recruiter and underrated coach. Also, don't forget that Self coached Tulsa and Illinois to the Elite Eight. That's three Elite Eight appearances in a five-year span at three different schools. In time, I believe Self will win a national championship at KU, perhaps even this year, though there needs to be a ton of improvement for that to happen.



Thanks for the paper's solid cross country coverage this year. It was great to see them get some recognition in the sports section.

Anyway, my question is this: Does Bill Self get his coaching advice from former NFL coach Dan Reeves. Both coaches exhibit a penchant for having teams that don't know what to do with a lead. As a Denver Broncos fan, I would watch Reeves' teams sit on a three point lead and run out the clock with two quarters left. Self's teams do the same thing and loaf around with slim advantages. We saw them get careless with their leads against Florida, and then to a much worse degree against DePaul. As a KU fan, I never felt entirely comfortable with the lead they had against USC. Is this a coaching problem or a player problem. If I were a betting man, which I am, I would say its a coaching problem. Your thoughts?

Tom Keegan:

First, here's hoping your bets go well, though I must admit, I've known many a broke betting man and not a single wealthy one. Anyway, to your question: This team hasn't yet developed a, pardon the cliche, killer instinct. If that continues, I'd have to say it is a coaching problem, but not in the traditional sense. It's a coaching problem to the extent he did not recruit a nasty enough roster. Nasty players love to bury teams. This team happens to have a bunch of nice kids on the roster and could use a nasty jerk in a prominent role.


KU has played eleven games (including exhibitions) and it appears that the Jayhawks have not installed a half-court offense other than attempting to score out of a few sets. There is little movement, few screens, too much dribbling, etc. Why has the coaching staff not taught this squad the basics of half-court ball? This year's team should have carried over the knowledge and skill from last season but they don't seem to have a clue and the conference schedule is coming right up.


Tom Keegan:

Brock, I would agree that the half-court offense has been ugly, particularly against zone defenses. The other day, Self said this team, unlike the Wayne Simien team, is not good at running quick hits designed to get a particular player a particular shot because not all five guys are where they are supposed to be. They're being taught, but haven't learned what they're being taught yet. Having an in-your-face type player can help players learn more quickly because players hate getting yelled at by teammates on the floor. I watch a lot of Marquette basketball games and I'm always able to tell who is not where he's supposed to be because he's the player getting chewed out by Wesley Matthews, Jr. Kansas doesn't have that player yet. ... Here's a lineup I'd like to see against a zone now and then: Julian Wright at the high post, Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson on the blocks, two of the following three at the guards: Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, and Sherron Collins. Julian does a nice job of feeding the post. Arthur and Jackson can score down low and those three guards all can shoot.


Deservedly so, there are a ton of basketball questions, but really quickly, what are your thoughts on the football season being done before the holidays once again? Should KU fans be livid that their team is not in a bowl game given how many there are now and the schedule the Jayhawks had this season? I mean, afterall, you got to go to the metroplex roughly a year ago at this time?

Tom Keegan:

Greene, Love dropping the word "metroplex" in there. As you know, I love that word. KU fans have every right to be disappointed. This should have been a bowl year, just as next year should be a bowl year. Kerry Meier looked like he was hurt. Even if he says he wasn't, I go with Todd Reesing because Meier did not have any zip on his throws. Next season, I'm predicting an 8-4 record and a bowl appearance.


I have been drinking Caramel Macchiatos since last three yrs.
Looks like you took all the credit Mr. Keegan.
Can i get some respect too?

Tom Keegan:

As I've always said, you are THE caramel macchiato man, with the emphasis on man.


Hey, Keegan, you know the posting questions to yourself...


I feel that Shasha is going to have to start playing well for us to be the team we want to be. Can you tell us how far Shasha's recovery has come and what it will take to get him back on track? Right now he appears to be to anxious when he gets the ball and either throws it away or takes an off balance shot rather than waiting for the game to come from him.

Tom Keegan:

I think time is the only thing that will cure Sasha's knee. It's getting better, but at last check, he still was only able to practice every other day. As for him panicking when he gets the ball in the post, I don't know how realistic it is to expect that to ever change to a great degree. He sets great picks, seals his man well to get open, and is a good defender and strong rebounder. A big scorer he'll never be.


Am I the only one who believes that the key to this years success is directly related to the play of Sherron Collins? He seems to be the only player we have in the direct point guard mold. I love Russell Robinson's hustle and defense but he does not really create enough off the dribble for the type of players we have, ones that cant create shots themselves.

Michael Schmidt

Tom Keegan:

Michael, Defensively Collins already has come a long way and he is a fiery guy and a talented scorer. I think his minutes will increase and eventually he could be in the starting lineup. I like the way Self is bringing him along.


OK guys, we've got time for two more.


Tom, how's the golf game? Been working on the chipping and putting? Let's tee it up when the weather's nice. :) Todd C.

Tom Keegan:

Chapdaddy, It's too cold to go to my friend's house to chip, so I'm suspsecting I'll need some work once it warms up. I'm always game to tee off at 8 a.m. and play my 2 hour, 15-minute round. I hate slow players.


Both KU's basketball & football coaches recently signed lucrative contract extensions. KU's football team, of course, struggled mightily at times this year, and its 6-6 record has to be a disappointment to nearly everybody (except Tim Fitzgerald). KU's basketball team promptly lost its first game after coach Bill Self signed a new contract. It seems that, in general, after a coach signs a new, richer contract extension, their team seems to struggle almost immediately. Is there some sort of contract curse out there or is this just a coincidence?

Tom Keegan:

Thanks for the story idea, fundamental. On second thought, I think it's just a coincidence.


Tom, I know you've got to get headed for some high school hoops action, but I want to thank you again for joining us today. Any final comments for our reader?

Tom Keegan:

Yes, thanks to everyone for keeping it civil. No shots at my weight. No shots at my prediction of an undefeated season. No shots at Marquette's loss to North Dakota State. This was such a pleasant experience, I'm going to start responding to the comments on my Keegan Ratings.


That's right, check out The Keegan Ratings after every KU hoops game this season. They're good stuff. We'll see you all again for another chat next Friday afternoon. Take care.


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