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Where does each KU basketball returner need to improve?

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It's the basketball offseason, which means it's the best time for the Kansas men's basketball players to improve their skills before the games begin to matter again in November.

So what types of drills should each returning KU player be focusing on?

Taking a look at last year's statistics, here's a suggested area of improvement for each of the Jayhawks' five returning scholarship players.

Perry Ellis: Finishing at the rim

As mentioned earlier this summer, Ellis had an impressive statistical first season, thanks mostly to a low turnover rate and an ability to get to the free-throw line and make those shots when he was there.

Blue team forward Perry Ellis puts up a jumper against Red team center Joel Embiid during a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the Horejsi Center.

Blue team forward Perry Ellis puts up a jumper against Red team center Joel Embiid during a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the Horejsi Center. by Nick Krug

The next step, though, is to make a few more bunnies. Ellis — often undersized in the lane at 6 foot 8, 225 pounds — made just 52 percent of his shot attempts at the rim last year, according to Hoop-Math.com. That number is well below the 61 percent national average on layups/tipins/dunks and also was the lowest mark on the team among players with at least 75 field-goal attempts.

In the first camp game last week, Ellis showed an improved face-up game offensively, which included range past the three-point line.

To become an even greater scoring threat this year, though, Ellis will have to improve upon his 47.1-percent two-point shooting from 2012-13. The easiest way to do that will be to body up to shot-blockers and put in a few more close ones when he's next to the rim.

Andrew White III: Lateral quickness

As a three-point specialist, White's 27.8-percent three-point accuracy last year had to be considered a disappointment, but it also could be the product of a small sample size (36 three-point attempts).

Here's what was more troubling for White when he was on the court: He had trouble keeping the person he was guarding in front of him.

Kansas guard Andrew White defends as Emporia State guard Chris Sights looks to pass during the first half, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Andrew White defends as Emporia State guard Chris Sights looks to pass during the first half, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

White's foul numbers reflect that. In 125 minutes, he racked up 20 fouls, which comes out to 6.4 fouls for every 40 minutes. That number is too high for any player and especially worrisome for a perimeter player who typically doesn't have to use up whistles to prevent easy baskets.

White has shown the potential to have value offensively, but the sophomore will only get significant playing time when KU coach Bill Self starts to feel more comfortable with him on the other end.

Naadir Tharpe: Field-goal shooting

Tharpe had an impressive assist rate last year for KU, and while his turnovers were a touch high, they're in an acceptable range if the junior can make a few more shots.

Kansas head coach Bill Self and Naadir Tharpe laugh with newcomer Tarik Black before a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the Horejsi Center.

Kansas head coach Bill Self and Naadir Tharpe laugh with newcomer Tarik Black before a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the Horejsi Center. by Nick Krug

Though it hasn't been talked about much, Tharpe had the second-worst shooting year of any player in Self's 10-year tenure at KU (minimum 100 field-goal attempts).

Worst eFG% in Self era.

Worst eFG% in Self era. by Jesse Newell

Though Tharpe especially struggled inside the arc, he really could use improvement in all his shots. His field-goal percentages at the rim (52 percent), on two-point jumpshots (30 percent) and three-point jumpers (33 percent) were all below NCAA averages.

The point guard shouldn't be relied upon to score much next season, but he'll still need to hit enough shots to prevent defenses from sagging off him.

Justin Wesley: Hands-off defense

When Wesley checks into a game, he's being put in to defend, rebound and most likely help KU avoid further foul trouble.

Red team forward Justin Wesley fights for a rebound with Blue team guard Wayne Selden during a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the Horejsi Center.

Red team forward Justin Wesley fights for a rebound with Blue team guard Wayne Selden during a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the Horejsi Center. by Nick Krug

If Wesley is to fill that role better in 2013-14, he's going to have to tone down his aggressiveness and avoid fouls better than he did a year ago.

Wesley's foul numbers were sky-high last season, as he picked up 16 whistles in 68 minutes. That's a whopping 9.4 fouls per 40 minutes, which decreases his overall value, especially if the opponent is already in the bonus.

Wesley will always be primarily a ball-mover on the offensive end (though eight turnovers to just four field-goal attempts last year is a ratio that could be improved), but to be a better role player for KU, he'll need to improve his defensive technique and be a little less hack-happy in the lane.

Jamari Traylor: Two-point jump-shooting

Much like Thomas Robinson in his freshman year, Jamari Traylor had poor offensive numbers last year because of a high turnover rate.

Part of the problem, though, was Traylor's hesitance to shoot the ball. When he was in, he only attempted 13 percent of KU's shots, which was the lowest mark of the Jayhawks' rotation players.

Though Traylor was OK when shooting at the rim (58 percent is slightly below NCAA average), he struggled quite a bit with his jump shot.

Blue team forward Jamari Traylor elevates to the bucket during a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the Horejsi Center.

Blue team forward Jamari Traylor elevates to the bucket during a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the Horejsi Center. by Nick Krug

According to Hoop-Math, Traylor made just 21 percent of his two-point jumpers, which again was the worst mark of any player in the Jayhawks' rotation.

Traylor appeared to show some extended range in the camp game when he hit a three-pointer, but much like Tharpe, he'll need to take (and make) open shots to remain on the floor.

The sophomore has the ability to help KU with blocked shots and on the defensive glass, but he won't get to show those skills if he can't provide more offensively in 2013-14.

More from Jesse Newell

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