Posts tagged with Jayhawks
When No. 10 Kansas takes on No. 13 Utah Saturday afternoon at Sprint Center, it will be another tough non-conference game for the Jayhawks (7-1), but it could mean far more for the Utes (7-1).
While this kind of game comes around often for KU, it’s a rare showcase and opportunity for Utah. The 2:15 p.m., nationally televised (ESPN) matchup marks the first time a Utah team ranked in the top 15 has taken on a top-10 opponent since the Utes fell to Kentucky in the 1998 National Championship game.
Coach Larry Krystkowiak’s team just last week knocked off Wichita State (then ranked No. 8) in Salt Lake City. But Utah entered that game ranked 25th. Now the Utes — their only loss came at San Diego State (currently ranked No. 18) less than a week into the season — are surging toward the top 10. What better way to announce yourself to the college basketball nation than by knocking off Bill Self’s team in KU territory?
Krystkowiak’s Utes certainly look the part of a top-15 team, if not better. Utah leads the Pac-12 in scoring defense (57.4 points allowed) and rebound margin (+10.5), and has limited opponents to 35.8% shooting from the field — 17th in the nation.
Offensively, Utah has made 51.6% of its shot attempts overall, including a 41.6% clip from three-point range.
As Luke Winn wrote about for SI.com, the Utes also have cashed in on easy points at the free-throw line by being the aggressors. In four of Utah’s games, it has attempted 19 or more free throws than its opponent. Even against Wichita State (currently ranked No. 11), the Utes took 10 more free-throw attempts.
Utah is averaging 29.6 free-throw shots a game, and making 66.2%. Kansas is right there with the Utes, though. The Jayhawks are getting to the foul line 29.3 times an outing. Plus, they’ve been more successful, making 73%.
Are you ready for some free throws?
With all that in mind, it’s time to meet the Utes KU will have to hold back (and keep away from the charity stripe) in order to score another quality non-conference win.
No. 55 — Delon Wright, 6-5, senior G
What doesn’t this guy do? The senior guard ranks among the Pac-12’s top 10 in scoring (15.1), assists (4.9), field-goal percentage (57.5%), 3-point percentage (38.9%) and steals (1.8).
A Wooden Award candidate, Wright is averaging 18 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and hitting 69% of his shots the past five games.
He has taken 39 free throws this season and made 30 (76.9%).
— hoop-math.com nugget: Wright is an attacker. He has taken 36 shots at the rim, which leads Utah. Almost half of his attempts (48.6%) come there and he makes 72.2% of those quality looks in the paint.
No. 42 — Jakob Poeltl, 7-0, freshman C
He might not get much national buzz, but the Austrian native seems to be one of the better first-year post players in the nation.
Like Wright, he has led Utah the past couple of weeks. Poeltl has averaged 12.2 points and 9.6 rebounds the past five games, while proving nearly unstoppable when he attacks offensively, making 25 of 31 shot attempts (80.6%). He went 10-for-10 against North Dakota.
What’s more, Poeltl could be the kind of big man who makes KU miss inside. The young 7-footer averages 2.9 blocks a game.
If he has a clear weakness, it’s at the foul line. Poeltl has attempted more freebies than any of his teammates (49), but he is only shooting 44.9%.
— hoop-math.com nugget: The big guy leads Utah with 10 put-backs (30 of his 44 rebounds have come on offense) and he converts on 80% of his second-chance shots at the rim. In total, 68.1% of his looks come at the rim.
No. 11 — Brandon Taylor, 5-10, junior G
You’re looking at one of Utah’s 3-point gunners. Taylor leads the team with 39 attempts from downtown and 14 makes (36%). He now ranks 10th all-time in program history with 111 career threes. Plus, he is 10th all-time in accuracy, as a career 40.5% marksman from deep.
Taylor, the team’s starting point guard, averages 10.3 points and 2.8 assists. He doesn’t get to the foul line as much as Poeltl and Wright, but he has hit 18 of his 21 tries (85.7%).
In knocking off Wichita State, the junior floor general scored 17 points and dished four assists. Of course, he also hit 3 of 7 from 3-point land.
— hoop-math.com nugget: Second on the team with 59 field-goal attempts, Taylor prefers firing away from deep. That’s where 66.1% of his shots have been attempted from. Only 15.3% of his looks have come at the rim.
No. 25 — Kenneth Ogbe, 6-6, sophomore F
He starts, but he has been more of a complimentary player for Utah because he entered the season as a backup. Ogbe moved into the starting five when Jordan Loveridge (11.5 points) suffered an injury.
Ogbe only scored two points (free throws) against WSU, but followed that up with a nine-point night at BYU in a rivalry-game road win.
If left open, he’s a capable 3-point shooter, having made 9 of his 19 attempts so far.
— hoop-math.com nugget: On each of Ogbe’s 3-point makes, a teammate has set him up with an assist. He’ll be spotting up on the perimeter waiting for good looks.
No. 20 — Chris Reyes, 6-7, sophomore F
Another role player for Utah, he only averages 4.6 points and 4.4 rebounds.
Reyes can battle. He grabbed nine rebounds in a loss to San Diego State.
While he has started every game, he only plays 18.1 minutes.
— hoop-math.com nugget: Reyes is eighth on the team in shot attempts. When he does score it’s most often because a teammate drew the defense’s attention and set him up: 80% of his makes at the rim have been assisted, as have been 77.8% of his two-point baskets from farther out.
No. 14 — Dakarai Tucker, 6-5, junior G/F
After missing the first four games of the season, he’s proven to be a valuable backup.
Tucker played 34 minutes and scored 13 points against Wichita State. At BYU he hauled in six rebounds and score five points.
He hasn’t played as much as Taylor, but he takes 3-pointers at a comparable rate. So far, Tucker has connected on 8 of 19 (42.1%) from long range.
— hoop-math.com nugget: Of his 24 shot attempts through three games, only three have come in the huge area of the court between the rim and the 3-point line. He’s scoring at point-blank range and form deep almost exclusively.
Georgetown’s November trip to the Bahamas for the Battle4Atlantis might have produced just one win for coach John Thompson III, but it should have his team prepared for the likes of No. 10-ranked Kansas.
The Hoyas (5-2) aren’t ranked by the AP, but that Thanksgiving week tournament, and the quality competition, helped them reach a current ranking of No. 20 from kenpom.com.
The college hoops analytical site has Kansas (6-1) ranked No. 9 — not too far off from Georgetown’s Atlantis foes, No. 16 Florida, No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 27 Butler.
Though the Hoyas lost by three to Wisconsin and by eight to Butler, they opened the holiday tourney with an overtime victory against Florida.
All of those games were played in the 60-point range, so don’t expect much up-and-down action in D.C., between the Hoyas and Jayhawks.
According to hoop-math.com, just 14.6% of shot attempts surrendered this season by Georgetown have come in transition — that’s the 10th-best percentage in the nation. Plus, as you might have noticed, Kansas doesn’t get out much in transition. Only 16.4% of the Jayhawks’ field-goal attempts have come in fast-break situations — that places them 309th in the country.
With that in mind, here are the Hoyas Bill Self’s Jayhawks will have to hold back in order to pick up a victory in their first true road game, at Verizon Center.
No. 4 — D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, 6-3, junior G
The man whose crossover and clutch jumper from just inside the 3-point line gave the Hoyas an OT victory over Florida led Georgetown and the Big East in scoring last season.
Appropriately, he’s the Big East’s Preseason Player of the Year. Smith-Rivera averages 14.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
He has taken a team-high 30 three-pointers, but has connected on just 10 of them, also a team-high.
Not only is he tough to guard, he cashes in when drawing fouls, making 25 of 28 free throws to date (89.3%).
— hoop-math.com nugget: Can be coaxed into settling for jump shots — 38% of his shot attempts are two-point jumpers and 42.3% are from behind the arc.
No. 24 — Joshua Smith, 6-10, senior C
A 350-pound behemoth in the post, you’d expect a veteran of that size to be effective on his touches. You’d be right.
Smith has taken the second-most shot attempts for Georgetown (54, compared to 71 form Smith-Rivera) and he’s shooting 67% from the floor this season.
If KU defenders find themselves about to become another victim of the robust center, it might be best to foul him if possible. Smith’s 29 free-throw tries lead the Hoyas, but he makes just 59%.
Smith puts the big in big man and averages 12.7 points and 6.9 rebounds.
— hoop-math.com nugget: Smith leads the Hoyas with 14 put-backs, that’s where 26.5% of his made baskets at the rim come from. And he converts 75% of his second-chance looks from point-blank range.
No. 0 — L.J. Peak, 6-5, freshman F
Georgetown’s youngest starter is still finding his way after opening the season with 23 points against St. Francis Brooklyn.
Since then, Peak has totaled 37 points in his next six games (with 22 of those coming against Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Robert Morris), giving him an 8.6 points per game average for the year.
He scored eight against Florida, two against Wisconsin, none against Butler and five against Towson.
As you might expect of someone in a bit of a slump, his shooting numbers haven’t helped his cause. On the season, Peak has shot 4-for-14 from three-point range (29%) and 14-for-22 at the foul line (64%).
— hoop-math.com nugget: More times than not, Peak’s shot attempts come inside. Of his 47 attempts, 57.4% have come at the rim.
No. 55 — Jabril Trawick, 6-5, senior G
A role player opposite of Smith-Rivera in the backcourt, he averages 7.4 points and 3.4 rebounds for Georgetown.
Though he averages 25.1 minutes a game, the senior captain’s season-high for shot attempts was eight, in the Hoyas’ season opener.
Trawick has never made more than two three-pointers in a game for Georgetown.
— hoop-math.com nugget: He doesn’t shoot often for a starter (4.9 attempts a game), but he makes the most of them, taking 70.6% of his shots at the rim.
No. 3 — Mikael Hopkins, 6-9, senior F
More of a rebounder (6.9 a game) and enforcer in the paint (2.7 blocks) than a scorer (5.0 points), he still has great value for the Hoyas in the frontcourt.
He blocked four shots and scored eight points in Georgetown’s win over Florida.
— hoop-math.com nugget: While the majority of his shots come at the rim (87.9%), Hopkins only makes 37.9% of those easy looks.
No. 13 — Paul White, 6-8, freshman F
He plays more off Georgetown’s bench (22.1 minutes) than anybody else.
White averages 7.3 points thanks to his effective shooting — 19 of 36 (53%).
White’s personal season-high of 13 points came in a loss to Butler, when he went 4-for-5.
In the last five minutes of games, he has gone 4-for-5 at the foul line.
— hoop-math.com nugget: KU might prefer that he try to attack in the paint because he only makes 28.6% of his shots at the rim. Don’t leave him open inside the arc, though — he has made 12 of 18 two-point jumpers.
Kansas University’s basketball team is in the midst of a challenging non-conference schedule, with games this week at Georgetown (5-2), and against No. 13 Utah (6-1), in Kansas City, Mo.
Coach Bill Self talked a little about that Monday afternoon at his press conference, but also had to deal with some off-the-court issues for his No. 10 Jayhawks (6-1).
Here are some of the highlights from the Q&A:
• Self opened the press conference by addressing Jamari Traylor’s weekend arrest. The junior backup forward is suspended for KU’s Wednesday game at Georgetown. Self called him a “good kid” who “made a bad, bad choice.”
• KU saw two different versions of itself against Florida: the way to play and the way not to play.
• Georgetown is playing through big man Josh Smith (12.7 points, 6.9 rebounds). He’s a good passer and his production per minute is “off the charts.” KU has seen Smith both when he played at UCLA and as a Hoya.
• Georgetown is physical, but they play different offensively than the Hoyas used to under John Thompson, now that his son, John Thompson III, is there. Thompson III played at Princeton and that’s the offense they run.
• At this time of the season, practice is pretty important. There is so much stuff to get in. Kansas needs guys getting comfortable.
• Freshman power forward Cliff Alexander embraces contact and that gets him to the foul line. When he and Smith are guarding each other there will be some banging going on. Alexander played great, and with energy in the second half against Florida. He and sophomore forward Landen Lucas are KU’s most physical guys.
• Alexander has probably played as well as any inside player for KU this year. A lot of Perry Ellis’ stuff comes on the perimeter, too. Alexander will emerge as someone Kansas can play through. He’s actually out there with a purpose now. Cliff is “as coachable as anybody we’ve had.” He’s trying to be a sponge.
• KU’s non-conference schedule should be good for this team — Kentucky, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Michigan State, Florida, Georgetown, Utah. That’s a pretty tough stretch from the Orlando Classic to this weekend’s game against Utah at Sprint Center. The thing that makes it hard is KU hasn’t played gimmies. That’s what’s been good for the Jayhawks. In timeouts the coaches can say, this situation will be good for us. Even being down 18 against Florida or getting blown out by Kentucky.
• On College Football Playoff: Self thought what happened was going to happen but he was holding out hope one of the Big 12 teams would get in there. Both TCU and Baylor and unbelievable years.
• Self would be fine with whatever if the Big 12 looked at expanding for the benefit of football. He doesn’t understand the “One True Champion” deal that people use as a negative against the Big 12, though.
• Florida and Georgetown played, so of course Kansas studied that video. KU knows how good Florida is, and they lost to Georgetown in overtime. The Hoyas’ whole offense is designed to exploit defensive unsoundness. Georgetown will make them look bad at times, that’s for sure.
• There’s no question, KU needs to play Frank Mason III and Devonté Graham together. They can really put pressure on defenses.
• Wayne Selden Jr. can be an NBA player. He has vision, can shoot, is tough, has a physical way about him.
• Self hasn’t had a chance to talk to new Kansas football coach David Beaty a lot, but he knows he’s a night owl. Beaty texted him at midnight. Self also is happy for Clint Bowen because he’s a big part of Kansas football.
• Getting introduced as the new head coach is strange. You’re kind of in a fog things happen so quickly. It’s nice to win the press conference but it’s also good to get the fluff out of the way so you can get to work.
• Kansas becoming a good football program helps the basketball program and the university financially. It brings “unbelievable” exposure to KU. The name Kansas needs to be out there. It doesn’t have to be Kansas basketball. Self wants to bring recruits in when there’s energy on campus. The basketball team wants the football program to be good. … Basketball is so much easier to turn around. You go recruit two studs and you’re right on track.
• It’s nice to have unique things like the Jayhawk mascot and the “rock chalk” chant. It helps give the programs at KU something different and memorable. That helps promote the brand, too.
• There might not be as much open court stuff as there was in the past in college basketball. Self has always thought you have to play 10 or 15 games before you can really look at stats and get a good picture out of them. In KU”s situation, the team has to make shots from the perimeter or their stats aren’t going to look as good… And the last 10 minutes always varies what your pace is.
— Listen to the complete press conference: Self addresses Traylor's arrest, upcoming road game at Georgetown
There aren’t many college basketball coaches or programs in the nation who compare favorably with the success rate of Bill Self at Kansas University. But Florida’s Billy Donovan is on that short list.
His Gators have won at least 20 games in 16 straight seasons. KU has done that 25 consecutive years — the previous 11 under Self.
Donovan brings UF to Allen Fieldhouse Friday night a bit down by his standards, but it’s very early in the season. Florida is 3-3 and unranked, playing its first true road game of the season at No. 11 KU (5-1), in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.
The Gators have lost three of their last five — with setbacks against Miami (Fla.), Georgetown (in OT) and North Carolina.
While the Gators are averaging just 63.5 points a game and hitting a mere 38.7% of their shots a month into the season, keep in mind Donovan has led Florida to a 454-172 record in his 18-plus seasons there, and he has hung two national championship banners, with four total trips to the Final Four.
And, for what it’s worth, UF is 2-1 versus Kansas under Donovan.
Now, on to the Gators who Kansas will have to hold back in order to get a win.
THE FLORIDA STARTERS
No 20 — Michael Frazier II, 6-4, junior G
He’s the Gators’ only returning starter, and he set a single-season program record last season with 118 3-pointers.
With two more makes from deep, he’ll break into UF’s all-time top-10 in career three-pointers made.
The easy scouting report on Fraizer: watch out for him from long range. He’s a career 44.4% shooter from downtown. He nailed five 3-pointers nine different times last season.
— hoop-math.com nugget: 56.5% of Frazier’s shots this season have come from 3-point range. On 12 of his 14 makes, a Gator teammate set him up. So KU doesn’t want him spotting up for catching-and-shooting.
No. 21 — Jon Horford, 6-10, senior C
If his name sounds familiar, it should. Horford is a graduate transfer from Michigan who actually played against the Jayhawks in the Sweet 16, in 2013.
His arrival at Florida has paid immediate dividends for Donovan. Horford is averaging 10.3 points and 7.0 rebounds while playing 29.2 minutes a game.
With his experience, he gets to the foul line (15-for-16). But KU could entice him to take 3-pointers and he has made just 5 of 19 from beyond the arc.
— hoop-math.com nugget: Only 33.3% of Horford’s field goal attempts have come at the rim. Not much for a center. He’d rather take 3-pointers — 45.2 % of his shots have come from out there. But he is efficient in the paint, converting 85.7% of his shots at the rim.
No. 10 — Dorian Finney-Smith, 6-8, junior F
The SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year last season, he slid into the starting lineup easily this year, and averages 10.3 points and 5.0 rebounds for the Gators.
A season ago, he led UF in rebounding, so those numbers will go up for him.
After missing two earlier games with a hand injury, Finney-Smith returned against Georgetown and led Florida with 16 points.
He knows success against KU, having scored 15 in the Gators’ win last season, in Gainesville.
— hoop-math.com nugget: 62.2% of his shots come at the rim. Only 8.1% of his two-point shot attempts are jumpers. The guy knows where and how to make his shots count.
No. 0 — Kasey Hill, 6-1, sophomore G
Now a crucial member of Donovan’s lineup, Hill finished in the top 10 of the SEC last season in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, while coming off the bench.
Hill is averaging 8.2 points and 3.5 assists, but has struggled to make shots thus far, going 14-for-50 from the floor.
He did, however, set a new career mark with 20 points against UNC, by going 10-for-12 at the free-throw line.
With 11 seconds left against Georgetown, he drove for an and-one that put UF up a point before the Hoyas made the game-winner.
— hoop-math.com nugget: This is a rare Florida guard who won’t take many 3-pointers — just 8% of his shot attempts have come from long range. Most of his looks — 52% — are 2-point jump shots.
No. 30 — Jacob Kurtz, 6-6, senior F
How abnormal is this Donovan team? Kurtz, a walk-on and former team manager, starts for the perennial powerhouse.
Now in grad school, the unlikely starting forward scores a little (4.2 points) and provides some needed rebounding (6.0) for Florida — he pulled down 13 boards vs. Louisiana-Monroe.
— hoop-math.com nugget: Kurtz plays smart and benefits from the play of those around him. A whopping 84% of his shots come at the rim and 81.8% of those came via assists.
THE FLORIDA BENCH
No. 23 — Chris Walker, 6-10, sophomore F
Eligibility issues seemed to stunt the former McDonald’s All-American’s development last season, when he didn’t get to take the floor until SEC play.
Walker seems a likely candidate to supplant Kurtz in the starting lineup eventually. But for now, he has played four games for UF — three off the bench — and averages 5.0 points and 4.5 rebounds.
Ten of his 18 boards have come on the offensive glass. But he has only made 7 of 19 shots so far.
— hoop-math.com nugget: 33.3% of Walker’s made baskets at the rim have come on offensive rebounds and put-backs.
No. 1 — Eli Carter, 6-2, junior G
A key to UF’s perimeter, Carter started two games and came off the bench in two others.
He transferred to Florida from Rutgers, and holds career averages of 12.5 points and 2.7 rebounds, with 101 3-pointers to his name on 304 tries (33.2 percent).
Carter is averaging 9.0 points and 2.3 assists for UF this season but has made only 12 of his 34 shots. Shockingly, given those numbers, he went 8-for-9 against Miami. Against Georgetown and North Carolina, he went a combined 2-for-16.
— hoop-math.com nugget: Half of his shots have been 3-point attempts, but he can get inside, too, with 35.3% of his shots coming at the rim.
Coming off a tournament championship at the Orlando Classic, and with another top-tier non-conference opponent just around the corner, Kansas University men’s basketball coach Bill Self talked about the Jayhawks’ accomplishments to date and what’s left to be done at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
While Florida’s Friday visit to Allen Fieldhouse for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge proved to be a hot topic, so were minutes, starting fives, defense, player comparisons and much more.
Here are a few of the highlights from the Q&A:
• KU has rebounded the ball a lot better since that Kentucky loss. The Jayhawks also have improved in moving the ball, looking more organized.
• Frank Mason III was KU’s second most valuable guy at the Orlando Classic. He rebounded and took care of the ball vs. pressure. Didn’t score a lot of points, but didn’t take a lot shots. He was the team’s best defensive rebounder. He “went and got ‘em.” The PG aggressively pursued the ball.
• The Jayhawks haven’t forced turnovers enough yet. They’re not quick and active defensively like they need to be. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is the best defensive positioning guy but he isn’t a stealer of the ball. Neither is Wayne Selden Jr. KU is better at this juncture on “D” than it was a year ago. Personnel has a lot to do with how many turnovers they force. Kansas doesn’t yet have great anticipators on defense and the Jayhawks don’t play with their hands enough yet. Most of the opponent turnovers have been guys throwing the ball out of bounds, not KU running through the ball.
• Self likes the current starting five — Mason, Selden, Mykhailiuk, Perry Ellis, Landen Lucas — because it has gotten the team off to better starts. Cliff Alexander, a freshman power forward off the bench, is going to foul quick… The starters aren’t as important as the five who finish, either.
• Selden has leadership abilities: He’s tough, smart, cares a ridiculous amount and is definitely an alpha male. He hasn’t been quite as good a leader yet because he hasn’t played his best. More leadership will show up as he improves. Selden hasn’t shot it well at all, but he struggled shooting early in non-conference last season, too, then picked it up.
• Kelly Oubre Jr. has been better in practices than in games but he’s still not comfortable. He’s a thinker right now, not a reactor. A lot has been made of him not playing to the hype but it’s six games in. He’s never played guard under pressure. He has to impact KU moving forward. It’s just a matter of time before he snaps out and finds his way… He should be a slasher, extra-possession guy who creates havoc defensively.
• With KU’s non-conference schedule, there are numerous quality opponents. It is harder to get guys minutes if they’re figuring out who they are and if they can play. Self knows Oubre can play. He hasn’t had much of an opportunity to play through mistakes. He just needs to go and make something good happen for himself. … Not thinking too much is possible, because he has a good enough understanding. Self would rather a guy play with reckless abandon and screw up than play slower because he’s thinking too much. You can’t play to “not screw up.”
• Based on KU’s personnel, Selden needs to be the top perimeter defender. The Jayhawks don’t have a guy as skilled as Andrew Wiggins anymore. Self also would like Oubre or Devonté Graham to develop into that kind of stopper, too.
• Florida has played a difficult schedule and the Gators were beat up when they lost to Miami (Florida). They lost a one-possession game in overtime to a good Georgetown team and another to a very good North Carolina team in the Bahamas. Florida will be a high seed in the tournament eventually.
• Kansas can win without a 7-footer. KU has had teams with this size before. They weren’t big when they won it all in 2008. It’s a nice luxury to have someone up front who can block shots and correct mistakes. The Jayhawks are big enough to win… Self was joking with Georges Niang this past summer and the Iowa State star forward said the Cyclones beat KU in the Big 12 Tournament because that “monster” Joel Embiid wasn’t out there. Sure, KU would like to have that but they can be good without a 7-footer.
• Florida’s Kasey Hill and Chris Walker were two supremely talented players coming out of high school and Michael Frazier II can really shoot it. They have a lot of talent.
• Rock Chalk Video does a great job for KU in producing quality videos — many unseen by the public, recruiting videos and that sort of thing — and it’s an important part of the program.
• Graham is doing fine with his shoulder and is practicing full speed. It was good they only had to use him limited minutes in Orlando.
• Sherron Collins is “the baddest boy we’ve had here,” so Self hesitates to compare Mason to Collins. The coach thinks Mason is more athletic than Collins. That would be a great goal for Mason to get to the point where he could play at Collins’ level.
• Alexander has a tendency to put his hands on guys in other jerseys, which leads to a whistle. That is why Self likes bringing him off the bench. Alexander also gets to watch some of the game from the bench. … Alexander will end up starting, most likely. But it’s more about minutes played.
• More than likely, Mykhailiuk will be around at KU for just two years. He just has some things to tighten up. He’s a legit 6-7 and 1/2 and he’s going to fill out and get stronger. He should be playing against Olathe North or Free State High or Lawrence High. “Svi” projects out as high as anyone on the team four years from now. He’ll be 21 and a “bad boy.”
• UF coach Billy Donovan is as good as the college hoops profession has. He won a national title when no one thought they were any good and another one when everyone expected them to win it all. Self knew the Gators were good last year, but they ended up being one of the best teams in the country, maybe the best, before losing at the Final Four.
— Listen to the complete press conference: Bill Self on importance of starting five
— Hear from Kansas big men Landen Lucas and Jamari Traylor: Lucas and Traylor discuss KU's improving rebounding and how Mason factors into that
In the final week of his interim run as head coach of Kansas University football, Clint Bowen had plenty to address at his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Of course, the Jayhawks (3-8 overall, 1-7 Big 12) close their season this holiday weekend with the Sunflower Showdown in Manhattan, versus their rival, No. 11 Kansas State (8-2, 6-1).
But Bowen also took the time to show his appreciation for this experience — or audition, if you will — following the removal of former head coach Charlie Weis.
Here are the highlights from Bowen’s Q&A with the media:
• The Jayhawks needed “over-the-top” type effort to win and didn’t get it at Oklahoma… A lot of times KU didn’t play very smart reading keys on defense.
• KU got a good start to this week early Monday morning (5:30 a.m.) with its first practice of KU-K-State week.
• Bowen has tremendous respect for Bill Snyder and his staff. K-State has an offense that is challenging to defend, with a “gamer” quarterback in senior Jake Waters and a big-time receiver in senior Tyler Lockett.
• K-State has adapted the QB run game into its offense in a creative manner. They use designed QB runs instead of reads a lot. The tailback even blocks for the QB. They also have options to throw out of the QB run plays. The wrinkles create conflicts for defenses.
• Importance of the rivalry game: In the state of Kansas you’re on one side or another for the most part. Through the years, KU fans and non-KU fans take shots at each other. For the program, it’s also about fighting for the same recruits.
• The 1992 KU-K-State game stands out for Bowen, in his memories of playing, but KU was dominant up front defensively. For him, playing in the back, it was pretty boring, with little action getting to his position.
• The Bowen family is a Lawrence group, and pretty much always focused on KU as fans. Definitely not Missouri.
• Senior CB JaCorey Shepherd, a former WR, adapted to switching and jumped right in. He has physical skills but he had a lot to learn and took pride in his craft.
• Bowen spoke with Snyder about a job a few years back, after Mangino’s staff was let go. He considers himself fortunate to have had that interview “so to speak.” Bowen said he didn’t get an offer for the assistant position so he didn’t have to make that choice.
• This is the last game of the season, so there is a senior day feel to it for KU, even on the road. It can be a motivating factor with the last time the Jayhawks’ seniors put their helmets on. The coaches don’t talk about this week as their own bowl game or anything, but the coaches will teach the players about the rivalry today.
• A lack of stability at the head coaching position, on both sides of this rivalry, through the years have made the rivalry game streaky — with one team dominating the series for years on end.
• This game definitely means a little more to “Kansas kids,” who grew up in this state.
• Freshman defensive lineman D.J. Williams, freshman offensive lineman Jacob Bragg and sophomore tight end Kent Taylor are some talented young guys who have stood out this season without getting a chance to play a major part on Saturdays.
• KU feels good about its red-zone defense because the whole field shrinks. Once they hit the red zone, the Kansas defense feels like that’s an advantage. KU has had success forcing field goals.
• Bowen and the staff will be out on the road recruiting early next week to sell all the positives about Kansas “regardless of the head-coaching situation.”
• In these nine weeks as an interim coach, Bowen has learned a lot about himself and dealing with people. It is a leadership position. That part has been rewarding, because you realize you can impact a program and people’s lives. You learn how to make decisions and rely on the people around you. The last eight weeks went by pretty fast.
• The biggest lesson Bowen has learned: It’s virtually impossible to be the defensive coordinator and head coach. There is too much time required of both positions. Guys that have those dual roles have some help behind the scenes with that work.
• Regarding this interim tenure: It’s always about KU and the program. That’s what he has always believed.
• Bowen closed the press conference by thanking chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and athletic director Sheahon Zenger for the opportunity to represent Kansas football. He also thanked the assistant coaches and football support staff for working hard and doing what was right for the program through a difficult time. The players deserve credit, he said, for fighting and battling, too.
• On the head-coaching search: Bowen has never made it a secret that he would like to have this job. But it is never about him. Dr. Zenger has a “great plan” to find the best person for the program. When the selection is made, it is time for everybody to put their full support behind the choice. … KU football is a program that can be and should be successful in a power conference. Everyone has to work together as a team for that to happen.
— Listen to the press conference in its entirety: Clint Bowen talks K-State, his desire to become KU's permanent head coach
Kansas University men’s basketball coach Bill Self hasn’t had the greatest week — what with Tuesday’s 72-40 loss to Kentucky in Indianapolis.
That game and the Jayhawks’ performance in it proved a popular topic three days after the fact at Self’s Friday afternoon press conference at Allen Fieldhouse.
With Rider coming to Lawrence Monday night, KU will soon have a chance to get back on track. But Self said the team has a long way to go.
Here are some of the highlights from the Q&A:
• KU practiced this morning at 6 a.m. They’ll practice again this afternoon. Not because of punishment. They have to get better.
• It’s too long a season to put too much stock in one game.
• If LeBron James goes 4 for 18, does that mean he’s not gonna be confident the next game?
• At this point, no one is totally sure who KU’s best players are. It’s probably discouraging for Wayne Selden Jr. and Perry Ellis, because they should be KU’s two best players and they haven’t played better than any of the other guys so far.
• Jamari Traylor played his butt off against Kentucky and went 0 for 6. It’s a little bit different scoring over 6-foot-6 or 6-7 as opposed to 7-foot.
• Self wishes a couple of guys would establish themselves as the team’s best players. Their three most talented players are Frank Mason III, Selden and Ellis. They haven’t really statistically played well yet. But he knows they will. He isn’t worried about that.
• Kansas doesn’t have a different-level freshman like Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid. These freshmen are gonna be good but you can’t ask that much of those guys right now.
• Mason drove it but he needs to drive to pass and not just drive looking to score, especially against length. … There was no intimidation of getting in there, KU just didn’t accomplish much in the paint when they got there.
• Cliff is a good player, but he is 6-8 going up against 7-footers from Kentucky. He couldn’t maul people like he usually does. He will have to learn to put himself in position before the catch.
• “Productivity, leadership, calming influence, intelligence. There are a lot of things I think which need to see from those guys. That'll definitely filter down to the rest of the guys.”
• “But one of the big keys to that game, and seems like a minor key, was how their three man kept every ball alive on the glass. Every ball. Poythress and Lyles kept every ball alive on the glass.“
— Listen to the complete press conference: Bill Self discusses 6 a.m. practice, other topics
The last two weeks have done wonders for confidence and morale within the Kansas University football program.
Interim head coach Clint Bowen detailed some of the team’s progress of late at his weekly press conference Tuesday, as the Jayhawks (3-7 overall, 1-6 Big 12) prepare for a weekend trip down to No. 23 Oklahoma (7-3, 4-3).
Here are some of the highlights:
• Bowen commended KU’s players for a tough preparation week leading up to TCU. Their perseverance showed on game day, as they came out of the locker room ready to play.
• It doesn’t get any easier this week, at OU. Bowen has a tremendous amount of respect for Bob Stoops’ body of work, first as a D-coordinator and now as the Sooners’ head coach.
• The OU defense will get after you and make you have a bad day… This will be a tremendous challenge for the Jayhawks.
• The bottom line is KU lost to TCU. A loss is “never acceptable.” Their expectations are they have Big 12 football players and they take the field to win. The improvement and preparation continues each week and players are seeing positive results on the field. Losing is never easy, though.
• You would like to know what your opponent is going to do. OU announced QB Trevor Knight won’t play this week. Last week against Texas Tech they came out in the second half and ran the ball a ton. It shows the diversity of OU’s offense. They were losing that game and changed the game plan to build a comfortable lead.
• Now Oklahoma has a QB run game, with replacement Cody Thomas. The Sooners brought in a guy who can do similar things to Knight, as well.
• KU’s offensive line did a nice job against TCU’s front. They’re all starting to play better as a group, communicate better as a group. They didn’t have any TCU guys running free to the quarterback. That allowed Kansas QB Michael Cummings to look down the field.
• The Jayhawks have confidence after the past couple of weeks. They know now if they show up in the week and prepare, the system brings results. There also is confidence from hanging around with a good TCU team that many outside of the program expected to steamroll Kansas.
• Bowen has said KU has to match opponents’ physical play. Big 12 teams will “big boy” you if they can. Players are starting to grasp they need to fight back and win the physical part of games.
• WR Nigel King has had more success of late, and some of that is a plan to get him the ball more. Also, King has gone out and made some special plays.
• Cummings’ toughness is underrated. If you’re playing at this point in the season your body doesn’t feel good. Cummings can be counted on to battle through the game’s discomfort.
• TE Jimmay Mundine has had a “tremendous” year. It’s been fun to watch him have the kind of games the staff knew he was capable of. A lot of his runs after catches show his athleticism. Guys who can do more than one thing have a chance to play at the next level, and Bowen hopes Mundine gets that opportunity… They knew the senior TE had talent and now he is a bigger part of the game plan.
• Senior offensive lineman Ngalu Fusimalohi will be out for the remainder of the season.
• O-lineman Junior Visinia went in and handled the game well, mentally and physically, as a true freshman. He hasn’t let the game get too big for him.
• When other coaches praise Bowen, that means something to him. For someone of Gary Patterson’s stature to talk him up, it meant a lot to Bowen.
— Listen to the entire press conference: Clint Bowen: 'A loss is never acceptable'
Kentucky coach John Calipari has loaded his roster with so much talent, so much depth that his No. 1-ranked Wildcats actually have two five-man platoons to throw at opponents this season.
Is this guy some sort of evil genius? Bill Self and his No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks will find out for themselves tonight in Indianapolis, at the Champions Classic.
Calipari said Monday at a press conference — detailed by The Courier-Journal — that he isn’t playing each of his top 10 players in two distinct units to make himself look good.
“I’m not doing this to be a genius. I've already told you,” the UK coach said. “They all deserve a chance to show what they are. They're going to. Would I love to do this the whole year? Absolutely. But we may not be able to. It will be decided on the court. If anybody uses this as an excuse, then you won't play.”
The Wildcats’ starting platoon features:
• Aaron Harrison — 6-foot-6, soph. G (7.5 points)
• Andrew Harrison — 6-foot-6, soph. G (9.5 points)
• Alex Poythress — 6-foot-8, jr. F (7.5 points)
• Karl-Anthony Towns — 6-foot-11, fr. F (5.5 points)
• Willie Cauley-Stein — 7-foot, jr. F (9.0 points)
Those guys would play at least 30 minutes a game in most programs. But Calipari is so confident in his next five, no one on the team has averaged more than Cauley-Stein’s 24.5 minutes through two games.
It’s a minuscule sample size, but at this point, Kentucky’s leading scorer, Trey Lyles, comes into games with the bench platoon:
• Trey Lyles — 6-foot-10, fr. F (13.0 points)
• Tyler Ulis — 5-foot-9, fr. G (8.5 points)
• Devin Booker — 6-foot-6, fr. G (5.0 points)
• Marcus Lee — 6-foot-9, soph. F (3.0 points)
• Dakari Johnson — 7-foot, soph. C (9.5 points)
Says Calipari: “Bottom line is I'm doing this for these players. They will decide how this plays out. My hope is that they all play, and they'll all play because they deserve to all play."
UK (2-0) warmed up for this early-season showdown vs. the Jayhawks (1-0) with wins over Grand Canyon and Buffalo.
On average, the Wildcats have only taken 16 seconds per possession. With top-tier athletes who aren’t asked to play as many minutes as your typical star players, UK benefits from fresh legs. Just another advantage of Calipari’s platoon system.
Against inferior competition, Kentucky has scored 48.7% of its points off dunks and layups, 18.6% from free throws, 17.3% from behind the 3-point line and 15.4% on 2-point jump shots.
If KU’s perimeter defenders can keep the Wildcats from getting to the paint, that should take the nation’s No. 1 team out of its comfort zone.
And then how would players react, in the midst of this Calipari experiment? Like everyone else, we’ll have to wait and see how a two-platoon team responds to adversity. Is it any more difficult to recover and respond?
It seems the mad scientist, with so many tools at his disposal, isn’t too concerned.
“I’m enjoying it,” Calipari said, “because I know no kid's getting left behind. And I know the easiest thing for me to do is play seven guys."
Kansas University interim football coach Clint Bowen certainly isn’t calling it this, but Mark Mangino Week is here.
The beloved former KU head coach who went 50-48 in his seven seasons here returns to Lawrence Saturday as Iowa State’s offensive coordinator.
Both the Cyclones and Jayhawks enter the game as co-occupants in the Big 12 cellar, at 2-6 overall and 0-5 in the league.
At Bowen’s weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon, he didn’t seem overly eager to talk about his former boss or his time working on Mangino’s staff, but he didn’t shy away from the inquiries, either.
Here are some of the highlights from the Q&A:
• ISU has beaten KU two years in a row. Coach Paul Rhoads’ guys play hard, play physical.
• KU’s 60-14 loss at Baylor takes a little while to bounce back from. As soon as the game ended the coaches told players it was time to put it behind them. There is plenty they can get done with the rest of the season, and that began with Sunday’s practice.
• On ISU offensive coordinator Mangino: Bowen spent eight years with him and he has a lot of respect for him. Bowen took a few things from Mangino, especially work ethic and attention to detail. It’s been a while since Bowen has spoken with him.
• On gamedays there are so many other things to think about. You don’t have time to talk to the coaches on other staffs that you know. Bowen made it sound like he isn’t planning on catching up with Mangino this weekend or anything like that.
• College football has changed since Mangino was at KU. ISU runs a similar offense to what Mangino ran at Kansas, but there are lots of different, updated parts to it.
• Rhoads’ teams usually don’t beat themselves, and that showed up when they played Kansas the past two years.
• KU junior QB Michael Cummings has good pre-snap awareness and he uses that to see some things from opposing defenses. He makes those reads efficiently in situations where the Jayhawks have the choice of going with a pass or run play.
• Cummings had good numbers on paper at Baylor: 21 of 30, 288 yards, 2 TDs. There were a few plays he’d like to get back, such as the fumbles. He is a tough young man with a strong arm, and WRs Nigel King and Nick Harwell are making some plays for him, as well.
• KU would like to do more scheming offensive plays to confuse defenses. They can do that by taking rules defensive players live by and using those against them. Examples: a tight end releases on a run play; a guard pulls on a passing play.
• Freshman return specialist Derrick Neal will be out on Saturday, but KU is hopeful senior DT Keon Stowers and junior RB DeAndre Mann will be able to play vs. Iowa State.
• On having a new co-offensive coordinator: It’s always a collective effort to improve the offense, as a staff. It isn’t just up to WRs coach Eric Kiesau to change everything.
• When Mangino was here at Kansas there was a lot of attention to detail: Guys wearing specific things at practices, everybody touching a certain line in drills. They asked players to do something and do it right. Players were held accountable.
• Bowen has always done a little bit of advance work on Fridays for the following weekend’s game. The game plan for Saturday is set by Thursday night. Fridays are used to prep for Sunday’s practice, with some attention to the next week’s opponent.
• ISU junior QB Sam Richardson is throwing the ball better now that he’s an upperclassman, and he has speed and the ability to run the zone-read option. He looks comfortable and doesn’t panic.
• On senior LB Ben Heeney playing RB on 4th and short at Baylor: Heeney has a history of playing effectively at RB in high school at Hutchinson. The coaches thought he might be a guy who could be a tough back in those short-yardage situations.
• Iowa State has good players. “All of us are hunting for the mega-stars,” but unfortunately there aren’t a lot of those guys out there. It’s about developing the young men you have on your roster. There is only a handful of star-type players and everybody else has solid Big 12 players.
• The O-line is about playing fundamental football and having chemistry and communication. Those fundamentals truly come into play on every snap. Guys have to have some toughness, too, physically and mentally.
• As a young player, O-line is the toughest position to come in and play at. Development is critical. The longer you can keep them in your system, the better.
• John Reagan has worked the O-line hard all season, even before he split coordinator duties with Kiesau.
— Hear the entire press conference: Clint Bowen discusses ISU, former boss Mark Mangino