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Archive for Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Woodling: Transfer not huge surprise

April 6, 2005

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Seventy-one percent. That's a lot. That's how much offense Bill Self will have to replace next season.

News that freshman Alex Galindo would be leaving the Kansas University men's basketball program wasn't as shocking as David Padgett's departure last year, but the decision will have a ripple effect.

Until Monday, KU coach Self was losing four of his top seven scorers -- all seniors. Now he has lost five of his top seven because Galindo ranked No. 7 on the KU scoring list last season.

College basketball teams are built on seven-man rotations, and Galindo's defection means the Jayhawks have lost 52.9 points from a team that averaged 75.0 a game.

Nobody really knows for sure why a player leaves after his freshman year. We're still waiting for Padgett, now at Louisville, to give a specific reason, and I'm not holding my breath. At the same time, I doubt if we'll ever know exactly why Galindo is departing.

It's difficult to estimate, but I'd guess that nine times out of 10 a player transfers because he believes he isn't on the floor enough and thinks he'll have a better opportunity elsewhere. That wasn't the case with Padgett because the 6-foot-11 post player was certain to start as a Kansas sophomore, so he's an exception.

Galindo, however, appears to belong to the majority. It appears to me he's pulling up stakes because he wants more playing time.

In retrospect, the NCAA Tournament game against Bucknell in Oklahoma City may have been the last straw. Galindo almost posted a DNP in that one. Self used him for only a few seconds in the first half.

In the Jayhawks' three previous games -- the regular-season finale at Missouri and Big 12 Conference tournament tests against Kansas State and Oklahoma State -- Galindo had been impressive while averaging nearly 12 minutes.

In those three outings, Galindo made seven of 12 shots (58.3 percent) and scored 18 points (6.0 per game). Moreover, in 35 minutes of duty, he was guilty of only two turnovers. In other words, could a coach really ask more from a bench player than to average a point every two minutes with minimal giveaways?

But with the Jayhawks shooting bricks all over the Ford Center and his teammates desperately needing an offensive spark in the second half, Galindo sat. And he sat. And he sat some more. If Galindo wasn't stewing, then he isn't human.

The 6-foot-7 native of Puerto Rico possesses notable offensive skills. Yet, like most freshmen, his defense was sub-standard. Galindo, for example, had more fouls (36) than field goals (31), and he wasn't alone among the first-year players. Of the five KU frosh, only Russell Robinson had more field goals than fouls.

Self makes no bones about having a diploma from the defense-first, offense-second school of coaching. That's his reputation, and he's sticking with it because it works.

Kansas wasn't 20-1 at one stage of the season and didn't share the Big 12 Conference regular-season championship because of offense. Don't get me wrong. KU's offense wasn't bad -- the Jayhawks ranked No. 28 in field-goal shooting percentage -- but they hung their jerseys on defense. For example, KU ranked No. 6 -- it's highest national ranking in any stat category -- in field-goal percentage defense (38.7).

No one remembers today that the Jayhawks outshot Bucknell, 43.5 percent to 40 percent, because their three-point shooting was so dreadful. KU made 19 of 35 two-point shots against the Bison, but only one of 11 three-point attempts.

Perhaps if Galindo had been given a chance to shoot a three-pointer, KU wouldn't have fallen in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1978. Or perhaps not.

During the regular season, Galindo hit some big three-pointers against Nebraska and Texas A&M, but he also missed a couple that would have been big at Missouri.

I know we haven't heard the last of Padgett. He'll make an impact at Louisville. That's not the case with Galindo, but I doubt if he'll drop out of sight.

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