Archive for Tuesday, March 29, 2011

KU men’s basketball prepares for life after tournament

Kansas head coach pats senior guard Tyrel Reed on the as the Jayhawks leave the court after falling to Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Kansas head coach pats senior guard Tyrel Reed on the as the Jayhawks leave the court after falling to Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

March 29, 2011


Kansas University’s basketball players prepared for a return to normalcy Sunday following the end of the six-month marathon college basketball season.

“Back to school ... classes tomorrow, man,” KU junior guard Tyshawn Taylor said after the Jayhawks’ 71-61 season-ending Elite Eight loss to VCU in San Antonio.

His words served as a reminder that the Jayhawks (35-3) do double as students pursuing college degrees. Books were to be the total focus this week, with the Jayhawks to return to the weight room and gym soon enough to begin the process of working on their bodies and games for wherever they’ll be playing next season.

There are a lot of unknowns regarding the 2011-12 roster as the Jayhawks look to pursue an eighth straight Big 12 title and postseason success.

The Jayhawks, who lose seniors Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar and Mario Little, have at least four scholarships to give in recruiting. Senior-to-be Conner Teahan received a scholarship this year since one was available.

More scholarships, of course, will be available should Marcus and Markieff Morris, Thomas Robinson and Josh Selby elect to turn pro.

Taylor on Sunday strongly hinted he, as expected, would be back for his senior season.

So far, KU has filled one scholarship slot with Naadir Tharpe, a 6-foot, 170-pound point guard from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.

The Jayhawks on Sunday are expected to land a commitment from Ben McLemore at the NeXt All-America game in suburban Chicago. The 6-5 shooting guard from St. Louis recently enrolled at Christian Life Center near Houston after leaving Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va. He has a final list of KU and Missouri. It seems unlikely he’d choose MU, which has no head coach at this time.

Another top priority is DeAndre Daniels, a 6-8, 180-pound forward from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. One of his best friends, Christian Garrett, is a walk-on KU’s team. Daniels has a list that includes KU, Kentucky, Texas and Duke.

Braeden Anderson, a 6-8, 215-pound forward from Wilbraham and Monson Academy in Massachusetts, recently visited KU. He’s also considering Kentucky, Florida, Arizona and others.

Stan Simpson, 6-10, 220 sophomore from Bogan Junior College in Chicago, is considering KU, Kentucky and others.

Otto Porter, 6-9, 200, from Scott County Central High in Sikeston, Mo., also has KU on his list along with Georgetown and Missouri. Other players, of course, could be on Bill Self’s wish list.

Scholarship Jayhawks who appear to be coming back include: guards Taylor, Elijah Johnson and Royce Woolridge, guard/forward Travis Releford and center Jeff Withey.

“Next year if some of these guys leave I’ll have to step up,” said Withey, a 7-foot, 240 pound sophomore from San Diego. “I’m going to try to gain a lot of weight (in offseason). I think the offense will be there. I’m not going to worry too much about that now. When it comes it comes. I think I’ll be ready.”

He said he has the makeup to be a team leader.

“I think I can definitely help out there,” Withey said. “I’ve been around the program a while now. I think it can definitely come out that way. We’ll see over the summer how it happens.”

Robinson, who said a few weeks ago he’d definitely be back, but wavered on that a bit after Sunday’s game, says he would like to improve his 6-9, 237-pound physique.

“I don’t know how much bigger I can get,” he said, “but I’m going to try in the offseason, try to get bigger. LeBron (James) is my height and he’s like 250.”

Teahan, a 6-5, 212-pound senior who practiced all season, but did not play in games, might play a huge role depending on Selby’s status and which players the Jayhawks land in recruiting.

“I will try my best to fill their shoes,” he said of seniors Reed, Morningstar and Little. “Those are some big shoes to fill. I’ve been watching them, trying to learn from them. Hopefully I can become a good leader and be somebody we can win some games with.

“No one will replace those guys. I will try my best to make this team better and hopefully make the fans happy.”

KU has a rugged nonconference slate next season and expanded Big 12 schedule. So far, it’s known KU will play Ohio State and South Florida at home with a game at USC and against Kentucky in New York. Also, KU will play in the 2011 Maui Invitational with a field that also consists of Duke, UCLA, Georgetown, Memphis, Michigan, Tennessee and host Chaminade.


TopJayhawk 7 years ago

I couldn't be prouder of you guys. Good season. Good work. Love all of you.

Don Whiteley 7 years ago

I think the team played to the best of its abilitity, but a picture is starting to emerge of KU coaching. With the exception of 2008, KU has run up against a hot-shooting small school and has fallen into a million little Jay-birdie pieces in every, single NCAA tournament. Under Williams, the team needed to show more emotion and lost because they were periodically flat. Under Self, they perhaps, have too much emotion. The pathetic shooting performance this year matched the Jayhawk performance against UNI last year and against other teams in earlier matchups (The B Schools). They lack mental toughness that when they fall behind, they let these little schools throw them completely out of their game and frustrate them to the point, they freeze up. Our continued losses to the little guys has nothing to do with the players and everything to do with the way they are being coached.

Janet Olin 7 years ago

Coach cannot be blamed for 13 missed FTs( greater than victory margin alone), stupid TOs (Kieff with 8, incl. three stepping out of bounds), and continued reluctance to guard. Several of these guys have refused to guard all year, thinking they could always outscore another team at will. Coach has been banging his head on the wall about this all year, and we all know sometime a team will out shoot you. This happened to the Langford group Self's first year, exactly the same way. When the three most necessary players won't comply, Self can't just bench them all. So they meet a team that's hotter on one day and they're out. Still, we love our players and thank them for their work and talent to win 35 games, and for entertaining us. We still care for them even when they don't do what Coach says.

Don Whiteley 7 years ago

Point is that the team was frustrated and out-of-rhythm, throwing them off their game. This is why they go cold at critical points, unable to hit 3's and free throws. You rarely saw this with the teams Williams coached. With Williams, the problem was that they didn't put enough emotion in their game. The difference between this team playing well and going stone cold is entirely a head game and the coaching staff remains clueless how to address it. You can't blame the players when, with the exception of 2008, we've seen KU falling EXACTLY like this in every tournament from 2004-2011.

Bursting 7 years ago

I definitely agree that Bill Self has got to do something else to prepare these kids for these games. Oh and back to the article: why on earth are they putting Selby's name in the pro talk???????

Janet Olin 7 years ago

Sometimes, Jim, the players just don't listen to the coaches , no matter how much they're told. Don't know what you can do about that. I have my feelings about some players who shouldn't have been chosen, but there's no getting around it that the coaches can only teach, and the players only execute.

coldsplice 7 years ago

can i go back to the vcu game for a second? I'm not a coach, never played competitive basketball before so not trying to be something I'm not but I have watched KU for 36 years...

is there a reason we didn't at least try a zone defense?

newmedia 7 years ago

3 point shooters love a zone defense.

swense 7 years ago

VCU was rockin us with 3's so if we weren't getting on them in man to man then i think a zone would have been the same results. No it isn't coaching it is simply a case of not executing, I think. I have coached at the Junior High level.

Armen Kurdian 7 years ago

When we pressed, we got them out of sync, then we stopped, and they got back in sync. Why we didn't run these guys into the ground I'll never understand.

wolfy 7 years ago

Against teams like VCU, the key is constant pressure on every square foot of the floor. The best way to defend against a shooting team is to make them uncomfortable, tired and frustrated by forcing them to go where they don't want to go and not allowing them spot up or get into their shooting motion. Chalmers and Robinson were so good at that in 2008. There's no reason this team was not.

manONmoon 7 years ago

Totally agree. All they could do was shoot threes and everyone knew it going in, yet we didn't guard it until they hit 9 in a row. No reason why they shouldn't have...

jcas 7 years ago

I think KU's downfall was their free throw shooting. How many times all season did we hear that a low free throw shooting percentage will cost you in big close games. I agree that mental toughness could be a part of this. Free throws are just what the words imply. A free shot with no time running off the clock. KU shot what for the season? 68% ?. It's easy to second guess anything, but we still have to remember that these are still young men who still have a lot of living and maturing to do. I congratulate them on their success this season and look forward to the next season. Life is not always fair and sometimmes things do not come as easy or with the results that we want. Hopefully everyone will come back on the team and make another run. Make the free shots and you don't have to work as hard at other things.

ralphralph 7 years ago

My theory (largely unproven) is that you have to learn correct form for shooting free throws when you are young ... just learning to shoot ... because at that point in your development you soak up the muscle memory that becomes the "instinct" that takes over when you are under pressure. Once you learn it, you have to do it the same way every time, and you have to practice diligently (preferably when you are as exhausted as you might be late in a game).

Free throw shooting is a basic physics exercise (some geek out there, back me up) ... you are building yourself into a lever that delivers a projectile at a stationary target. This is all boring stuff to a guy who can jump over his car and do a 360 jam, and that's probably why they don't spend much time on it, but two FTs count as much as one dunk ... IF you can make them.

Many middle school girls can shoot free throws as well or better than most of the amazing athletes who play in the men's college game. That tells you something, but what? Is it a failure to build the early muscle memory from correct form? Is it laziness -- or, put another way -- unwillingness to work hard and consistently on some that isn't much fun? Both?

It signals to me that there is a lack of teaching of technique early on, and a lack of willingness to learn and work ... because it certainly isn't a lack of physical and athletic ability.

PS --- I think the Hawks lost on "fundamentals" ... not only FT misses that exceeded the margin of loss, but also the fact that they panicked in the face of a simple diamond press. The failure of players to recognize the press and to know and execute its solution is a failure of coaching ... just saying.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 7 years ago

Really? I thought that the most significant problems were the huge number of turnovers we committed and our horrible shooting from the field.

Bob Forer 7 years ago

Had we hit our season average on free throws, we would have only netted 4 or 5 more points. We lost by ten. It was turnovers, 2/21 from three, and lousy defense that cost us the game--not free throws.

ku_tailg8 7 years ago

I'm not an NBA scout but am I the only one that thinks Selby and Robinson aren't ready for the NBA? I realize the NBA drafts more on potential then anything else but Selby was suspended and hurt and never got a chance to show what he can really do. Robinson hasn't shown any ability to hit a shot outside of 6 feet. I realize he has other obligations right now but the best he can do right now would be overseas. I hope these guys make the best decisions for themselves but other than the Morris', I'm not sure who on else on this team is ready.

Janet Olin 7 years ago

I hope Josh will come back just so he can play healthy and learn to play with high caliber players where he won't be the Whole Show. He needs this before he goes pro; the money will be there. Same for the twins and TRob, but for different reasons. They all need Danny's coaching/mentoring about how to play in the pros. Yeah, the money is a draw, but they're good enough to go in another year and will be better for Danny's teaching. If they go early, nobody will teach them; they'll languish on the bench or in the DLeague. Look at Aldrich this year, or Arthur (who just this year is playing 15 minutes or so), or Wright, who isn't playing at all in his third year. What good is that if nobody helps you get better??Come back, guys.

ralphralph 7 years ago

Selby was a puzzle this year. So highly touted, a big first game after his release from cheater's prison, and then so very spotty, and ultimately disappointing. He did, at least, show a level of effort on the defensive side that we seldom saw from our last one-and-done, Lord Zahveeyay. Even so, he seemed disjointed or disinterested or something, a lot of the time. Potential? Wow, I guess in flashes, maybe. Convinced? Not at all. The NBA is a different show, so maybe he'll mesh better in that game.

T Rob ... I'm not going to second guess whatever he chooses. I think he should stay in school, but don't know if he can. I look at his game compared to, say, Cole, and think the next level could be a struggle, but his improvement has been steady and his athleticism is impressive. Maybe somebody wiser than me would know if he has a better chance to get the individual coaching needed to finish development of his game at Kansas, with Coach Manning and company, or in the pro system somewhere. You know he'll get good help at KU, but I don't know much about what the pro system has to offer ... seems like they would expect you to arrive with your game already built, though. Bottom line, I hope Thomas stays.

Can Morningstar or Reed be another Heinrich -- a smart (can I say "white"?) guard who does the little things that make others shine? I doubt it ... but that doubt might be heightened by the too-fresh memory of that last game. I don't know what the pro scouts are looking for, I guess, because I keep hearing that Selby is a top prospect, but I'd rather have either Brady or Tyrel on my team. I don't think either one will get a real shot, but I hope at least one of them gives it a try.

Bob Forer 7 years ago

"but I hope at least one of them gives it a try."

Sorry, but its not up to the player to "give it a try." Its up to an NBA team to draft them first. Once they are drafted, then they can "give it a try." And as much as I love Tyrel and Brady, neither one is NBA material--not even close.

drnater 7 years ago

Offensive production is vastly overrated in the NBA, especially from a big man. T-Rob would definitely be a solid pick this year. Look at players like Dennis Rodman, and Ben Wallace, these players are the same mold at T-Rob, strong and aggressive on the boards, yet cant really shoot. Anyone who can rip down boards like T-Rob will always have a chance in the NBA, especially when you have the ability to just slam it back in after a board.

hbjayhawk 7 years ago

Those eligible to return should come back. Even the twins. Why not earn a degree and increase your stock? If they run through at tough schedule next season, they will realize millions more. STAY IN SCHOOL AND FINISH AS A CHAMPION. Selby has so much potential and one more year will help push him into a lottery pick. Seriously, KU could have 4 1st rounders in the 2013 draft. If they stick together that can be $100 million and an NCAA title. ROCK CHALK!

Gregory Newman 7 years ago

Not of these guys are ready for the NBA. Whats needed is to junk that 1950's high-low crap offense that stifles creativity in ones offense. Plus favortism.Thats what got them beat

Jim Williamson 7 years ago

I'm constantly amazed at the dopey crap people will say and write because they're so desperate to blame someone when things don't go their way.

Cityboy 7 years ago

Somebody please change the picture footer ... I dont like how it reads:)

"Kansas head coach pats senior guard Tyrel Reed on the as the Jayhawks leave the court after falling to Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio."

Don Whiteley 7 years ago

You cannot blame the players for this loss when, with the exception of 2008, every KU team since Self has started as head coach has lost exactly this way. Since 2004, we've had a parade of small schools smashing KU basketball teams into little Jay-birdie pieces, and the only thing common across those years is the coaching staff. There is no mental toughness to the Self-coached teams. Once a little school gets hot, it throws them totally out of their game, totally disrupts their concentration and the next thing you know, they're having a hard time even finding the backboard, leave alone the net. Gotta toughen 'em up, coach, or get ready to lose to Slippery Rock in the tourney next year.

jhawkinsf 7 years ago

All I've got to say is that I hope Coach Self doesn't read all the criticism here and then start thinking he isn't appreciated in these parts. I've always thought that coaches should be fired if there is someone out there that is better (and you can hire them). Well, in this case, there is not a better coach available. I say give him tenure and hope he finishes his career here in 25 years or so.

manONmoon 7 years ago

I hate the KU fans who like Phogphan who thinks everything is perfect in the jayhawk work, and will always say how much they love the players when the choke a game away. Sometimes at KU we don't always do things right and we should be able to criticize on a forum without you being a little softy. KU loses the same way every year to mid-majors. Mid-majors can only beat KU by shooting threes and making them. They have no option inside and they aren't as athletic. Why Self doesn't make sure we guard the three when we play them is beyond me. Every analysist on TV said KU must guard the three, and yet we still didn't. Only God knows why...

Bob Forer 7 years ago

"Why Self doesn't make sure we guard the three when we play them is beyond me."

You don't think Coach Self's game plan revolved around guarding the three? It sure as hell did. The players simply didnt follow through. Not Self's fault.

kanshawk 7 years ago

35.5% from the field 9.5% from 3pt 53.6% from FT

and you want to blame coach?

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