Archive for Sunday, March 23, 2014

Notebook: Joel Embiid planned to play in Sweet 16

Kansas center Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden watch the closing seconds of the Jayhawks 60-57 loss to Stanford, Sunday March 23, 2014, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Kansas center Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden watch the closing seconds of the Jayhawks 60-57 loss to Stanford, Sunday March 23, 2014, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

March 23, 2014

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self, Conner Frankamp and Jamari Traylor discuss KU's season-ending loss

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, freshman Conner Frankamp and sophomore Jamari Traylor discuss KU's season-ending loss to Stanford, in the round of 32, Sunday in St. Louis.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Johnny Dawkins, Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell discuss Stanford's win over KU

Coach Johnny Dawkins and players Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell discuss Stanford's win over Kansas on Sunday in St. Louis.

Perry Ellis and Tarik Black discuss loss

Sophomore Perry Ellis and senior Tarik Black discuss the loss to Stanford in the third-round of the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 23, 2014, in St. Louis, MO. Enlarge video

STANFORD 60, KANSAS 57

Box score

— It turns out Kansas University freshman Joel Embiid would have been available for Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchup against Dayton, had the Jayhawks been able to defeat Stanford on Sunday in Scottrade Center.

“Yes. I would have played,” said Embiid, a 7-footer from Cameroon, who missed the last six games of the season because of a stress fracture in his lower back. “I think I would have done some non-contact work (Monday),” he added. “Personally if it was my choice I think I would have played today,” he added.

Embiid said he was ruled out on Friday.

“I tried to work out two days ago. I couldn’t. I still had something (discomfort) so I couldn’t,” Embiid said. “I mean I wouldn’t say it was hurting. It was really tight. I had to get a lot of treatment because it was tight. The doctor said I couldn’t play. Coach (Bill Self) said he didn’t want to put me out there to put me in jeopardy. The decision was for me to sit out the game and come back next week.”

Embiid said it pained him to watch the Jayhawks lose to Stanford, 60-57.

“I wanted to be out there,” he said. “It was hard watching us lose. I mean I could have done some things, but Tarik (Black, 18 points, six boards) had a good game. Wiggs (Andrew Wiggins, four points) couldn’t get going. On the defensive end and offensive end, I think I could have done something.”

It’s possible Embiid’s last game as a collegian was his 13 point, 13 rebound outing at Oklahoma State on March 1. 

There’s a good chance that, like Wiggins, he’s a one-and-done college player. He’s projected to be one of the top picks in the 2014 NBA Draft.

“I am not thinking about that right now (NBA). We just lost the game,” Embiid said.

He said he would speak with his family, his coaches and his “mentor, Luc,” in coming up with a decision.

Luc is fellow Cameroon native and NBA player Luc Mbah a Moute.

“I am not thinking about that now,” noted Self. “He’ll be advised by his family as much as anybody. Whatever happens, happens. We’ll be prepared for it.”

KU freshman Wiggins has made it clear he will be leaving for the NBA after the season. 

On Sunday, asked about his immediate plans, Wiggins said: “I am not even thinking about that right now. We lost. I let my team down. I am not thinking about that now.”

Freshman Wayne Selden and sophomore Perry Ellis also were asked about possibly turning pro.

“I am not thinking about that right now,” Selden said, repeating that line several times to various reporters.

Ellis said: “I haven’t even thought about that. I’m not even worried about any of that. I’m just going with the flow.”

Earlier in the week, seldom-used sophomore Andrew White III was asked about possibly transferring.

“I am happy. I am on a winning team. I’m getting better every day. It’s not seen on the court necessarily but in practice I’m working on a lot of things, improving a lot,” White said. “We are still in the season. I have not given up on this season at all. It’d be selfish to think about leaving or anything right now. I’m just going day by day playing ball.”

Off night for Traylor: KU sophomore forward Jamari Traylor scored three points off 1-of-8 shooting with five boards and three turnovers in 25 minutes.

“Besides Tarik (Black), I don't think we did a good job finishing at the rim today,” Traylor said. “And those guys (Stanford players) are pretty long. But I don't know what it was, but we just couldn’t buy a basket.”

Bill Self on Stanford’s 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones: “I don’t think it surprised us at all. Teams have played zone against us for the most part all year long if it’s part of the package. We didn’t attack it well. I thought they really gapped it and we didn’t do a good job of getting our nose dirty and getting in there until late. And then we got in there late, we actually got fouled or came away with at least potential scoring opportunities. We were passive against it. 

“That’s what happens when you’re not real confident sometimes or individuals are not confident, not having a great game. Things are open but you are a little hesitant to throw it. I thought they did a good job spacing us. You throw it inside, you have to score over 6-10, 6-11. We just didn't make shots (32.8 percent) and certainly didn’t attack as well as we should,” Self added.

Wiggins defended well: Stanford held Andrew Wiggins to four points off 1-of-6 shooting. 

“They’re long,” Self said. “We don’t go against many teams that are bigger than us. The only position where we’re as tall as them from a standing height standpoint is probably at the 3-spot with Andrew. He is about 6-7 1/2 and they’re about 6-7 there (with 6-7 Josh Huestis). So they bothered him with length.”

KU’s press was effective on Sunday: “We tried really hard. We turned them over a few times. It was good for us,” Self said. “That was one of our biggest game plans was trying to create pace defensively. It’s hard to do if you don’t ever make a basket. There weren’t that many times when we took the ball out of bounds and where we forced them to take the ball out of bounds, especially in the first half. And then we got in foul trouble early. We had three starters (Wayne Selden, Naadir Tharpe, Tarik Black) get two fouls pretty early and then three starters get their third foul early in the second half.  So it may have taken us out of a little aggressiveness, but I thought it worked pretty well for us.”

Self was asked if there was a particular reason Frankamp played seven minutes the final half. He played 11 the first.

“I thought Frank (Mason, 15 minutes second half) ... we had to get inside their defense and they’re big.  When you play Conner and play with another guard, that puts him guarding a 6-7 guy. And they exploited that a little bit.”

Comments

Scott Burkhart 1 year ago

As much as anything, KU just didn't match up well with Stanford.

Brian Conrad 1 year ago

tough break for Jo... bad thing is will take bunch of time for fans to get over not playing IF he turns pro. kind of like Selby.. We all knew Wiggins would go and any one can have off night.. I would Really like to hear from Hudey.. she was trainer for Okafor who had the same stress fracture and played and went on to be MVP of NCAA Championship and long career in NBA.. not sure it felt right to most a Doctor in California was calling the shots.... look bunch of things went wrong.. it happens.. sure hope Jo comes back gets stronger . just bad way to go .. KU had faith in Jo when he was not ranked in top 100 recruits... all said time heals .. and time will heal Jo's back.. hope to get to see him at KU next year.. but just wish IF he is going .. tell us NOW ! do not drag out the pain... Good luck to all this years players , had fun watching .. How about Tarik.. in my mind he will go down as one of the best people ever to play at Kansas . love to hear him talk about his college experience.. hope to see him as a Chiefs player .. he he

Brian Conrad 1 year ago

UConn center Emeka Okafor missed two Big East tournament games with a stress fracture of the lower back in 2004 and went on to lead the Huskies to the national championship that season, scoring 24 points in the title game. Okafor took a path similar to Embiid’s in that he received feedback from spine specialists in two different cities and, like Embiid, was projected to be drafted in the first few picks. Also, initial MRI tests taken after Okafor began to experience back pain did not show any stress fracture.

The second specialist Okafor saw was Dr. Andrew Dossett in Dallas, according to a March 2004 story published by ESPN.com.

Dr. Jeff Anderson, identified in the story as UConn’s director of sports medicine, told ESPN.com: “Dr. Dossett told Emeka that he finds this problem in hundreds of elite athletes and they’re still playing. What happens is the stress fracture is on a tiny little part of the bone and then the extra motion triggers muscle around it to go into pain and then a spasm and that’s when you see Emeka’s face wince. He told him it’s not a long-term problem. This is not a catastrophic finding.”

Okafor was selected second, behind Dwight Howard, in the 2004 NBA draft. He has averaged 12.3 points and 9.9 rebounds in nine NBA seasons

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