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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

KU Basketball Thoughts

College Basketball in November is a little bit like eating a bowl of hot chili outside in July. However, yesterday's bowl of chili was super delicious.

If I were to continue with this analogy, then Michigan St's Darnell Valentine would have to be considered head chef. He was incredible last night. Better than Billy Ray Valentine slingin' pork rinds to Clarence Beeks.

Admission: Point forward types are my favorite basketball players to watch. Royce White. Boris Diaw. Blake Griffin. Anthony Mason back in the day. Georges Niang today.

My guys, Parkins and C-Dot led off their Monday show with how College Basketball is lacking quality. It sure wasn't last night. And a lot of the rule changes seemed positive as well. Shorter shot clock. A fewer timeout. Shorter timeouts. An evolved take on commercials. Everything sped the game up.

On to Kansas. They lost the game, but I thought they showed well. They have enough talent to cut down any and all nets in March, even without The Mali Popper, Cheick Diallo.

Experience in the backcourt + Talent in the frontcourt = Recipe for success in March.

Backcourt

Devonte' Graham - Went 1-9 last night and I still loved his performance. No need to ask Granny, this kid is spry. He's very heady, always calm and in control. Exactly what you want from a point guard. And the best part? He should be a four year player, which means three more seasons with him. My favorite player.

Frank Mason III - The second PG in the starting lineup, a strategy I think I like. KU can continually swing the ball around the perimeter and still have a natural PG running the show. This is a dynamic duo that should lead to an entertaining brand of basketball this season.

Wayne Selden - He's never done it for me. This coming from a guy who never stopped loving Tyshawn Taylor or Elijah Johnson. So this isn't your typical KU fan angst. Selden is kind of average at everything, which makes him a natural role player (I could see him being a better pro than college player). He's a 4th or 5th option on offense, who should be a better defender. Honestly, I'd prefer to see Brannen Greene in the game at crunch time to add spacing, unless there's a bigger guard who only Selden can match up with (and even then, ehh).

Svetlana Mele Kalikimaka - That dude has....a lot of confidence? Not sure what to make of him yet.

Frontcourt

Perry Ellis - A monster who gets a bad wrap. I guess he's kinda soft and is capable of getting intimidated. Can freeze up. But appreciate him for what he is - a relentless scorer down low. I've never seen him more aggressive around the basket then he was last night. Reminds me of Pau Gasol (with the way he's perceived) and Darrell Arthur (with his ability to get buckets). Also, good to see him developing his outside game, which is his ticket to the NBA.

Carlton Bragg Jr. - That boy gangly. Has the body type to develop into a lockdown defender (who could take Selden's place, in my scenario, if he's quick enough to hang with small forwards - remains to be seen). Banged a few jumpers too, he's a guy to keep an eye on.

Jamari Traylor and Landon Lucas - Just a couple of guys, who can eat up space, rebound, play solid defense, and utilize 10 fouls. They are interchangeable, in my opinion.

Honestly, I didn't care much about the loss, but I'm not nearly as hardcore as I was when I went to KU. And I prefer to take a laissez-faire attitude with them, because KU fans can be a little...how should I say this -- Self-serious? Get it? Because of Bill, you guys.

I tend to watch KU non-conference games with one eye open, and the other eye on the future. I have no problem dropping a few games before New Year's if it helps the team's development come March -- Or even conference season, to help the team extend one of the more impressive streaks I've seen in sports in my lifetime.




All praise Andrea Hudy,

His Dirkness

3 comments:

The Leadoff Man said...

PART 3:

SVI:
Had one great play where he took the ball full court and drove to the hoop, but never had a chance to knock down 3s when we desperately needed them. This year he’ll either score 15 points by hitting five 3s or will score 1 point off of a free throw. But with Greene’s unknown future, he’s got to man up and play to his potential out on the arc and at the rim.

Landen Lucas:
A waste of space. 6’10” but can’t jump an inch off the ground to have any authority around the rim. Can back his way in but has absolutely no coordination to put it in. Bill will use him far too much because he’s the only one with any girth, but after the redshirt and all these years you’d think he could make a frickin’ close-range shot. Nope.

Hunter Mickelson:
Showed great promise at the World Games, not only altering shots on defense but showing coordination and range to be an inside option. Seemed like Bill would give him a chance but so far he’s been relegated to the end of the bench with the scrubs. We desperately needed someone with shot blocking capabilities vs MSU in the vein of Colehelm Aldrich or Jeff “Whitey Tightey” Withey but he was nowhere to be found.

LeGerald Vick:
At first though he is an unnecessary asset and should’ve redshirted but with the Greene debacle, maybe he can step up and slash around.

Cheick Diallo:
As our yearly fiasco with the NCAA ruling house drags on, Diallo’s energy and confidence all but seems drained. If and when he can get on the court, I hope he uses tons of pent up angst to just dominate. We can’t have him be another gangly Bragg or just an “energy guy” grabbing defensive rebounds but instead comes out and posterizes fools.


Overall, I was incredibly disappointed with the loss to MSU because we were the same damn team that exited early in the tourney last year. There are guys showing signs of the “Junior curse” (usually more reserved for Defensive Ends in college a la Clowney or Bosa) and there’s the same coaching that is tight around the collar and only plays the core group of guys even when they obviously don’t have it. I think I’m more pissed off because the KU football season has been so disgustingly terrible that the last thing that should happen is to have to deal with a basketball loss on the second game of the season. Man up boys, you got a long season ahead.

-The Leadoff Man

The Leadoff Man said...

PART 2:

Wayne “Seldom” Selden:
The most frustrating player year after year. I watched those World Games in Korea and was blown away by how GOOD he was… His 3s went in, he made his free throws, he went strong to the basket and actually made the layups… And then of course he hurt his ankle in preseason practice, stupidly continued to play through it and now is the same exact underwhelming player from last year. He is sluggish, can’t get off the ground, has no range and can’t make free throws; all traits that were excellently illustrated vs Michigan State.. During those World Games he averaged 25 points, which is exactly what he’s been capable of doing this entire time but now Bill is letting him off the hook and saying things like “it’s not reasonable to expect him to do that every game.” Great, well I hope he’s content with averaging 9.3 points a game AGAIN this year. He really should’ve been a middle linebacker instead…

Perry “The Burnt Cigar” Ellis:
He was the only one to come out with any gumption down low but all too often went unnoticed and didn’t get the ball dished to him. Maybe that’s because the coaches are already letting him look to his pro career and pussy-foot out on the baseline trying to be a small forward. This would be okay if we had the luxury of an inside presence but at the moment Perry is the only one that plays with any fight at the rim. The ball should’ve been going through him every time but he meekly was resignated to obscurity too much which will be a common occurrence this year. He’s a potential double double guy but now will only grab about 4 rebounds a game..

Jamari Traylor:
He’s the perfect example of someone that only gets another year old but will never improve. He peaked two years ago and that’s only because my mane man Tarik Black somehow someway got Traylor to play to his potential down low. Now he can’t even be counted on to be an “energy guy” grabbing rebounds. He obviously has no pro career ahead of him at only 6’8” and inexplicably only at 220; but damn wouldn’t he make a perfect DE in the vein of Shawn Oakman.

Carlton Bragg.
Dat boy gangly is right. We desperately need an inside presence but for now he is only suited to yank up 18-footers at the top of the key even though we have absolutely no room for another wing. He thinks he’s a one and done but Huddy has some work ahead to get this fella filled out so he can battle down low and take shots at the basket.

Brannen “Doghouse” Greene:
Dude is gone. Pretty sure his perfect lights out 18 point performance in the first game is the last we’ll ever see of him. No doubt during this 6 game suspension that he and his family will finally make the decision to transfer. The guy has been in the doghouse from day one, most of which has been his own fault, but I am completely on his side with being befuddled as to why he wasn’t in vs MSU when we desperately needed some yo-yo in there hitting 3s because it was beyond obvious that the trio of Frank/Devonte/Selden had absolutely no gumption for knocking anything down. It’s a shame that Bill coaches too tight around the collar and only trusts “his guys” and relegates the sharpshooters to the bench.

The Leadoff Man said...

PART 1:

All hail the triumphant return of Ze Dirk back to the analysis of KU basketball. To think that the last time he provided any real insight was during days of yesteryear (subtle shoutout to the new Mystic Braves album, soon to be on the Elder Statesman Reese’s end of year list) when Tyshawn “Tyrod” Taylor peddled up the floor, Mario Little “Bigman” had as pretty a swish as Karl “Flip phone” Malone and Del Zirk himself could be seen on live national broadcast yelling “yeeeeah Braaadyyy”. The kid’s enthusiasm soon vanished as quickly as his boi “Prophet” Elijah Johnson’s confidence and he soon turned down the dark and lonely road of Chiefs superfandom and Royals bandwagonism. Those Gametox may only exist as fables of lore but now the HOST himself has returned in glory to reclaim the throne.

A veteran team for KU means more of the same frustration from the previous year. Most of these guys (Selden & Traylor specifically) don’t get better with another year, they just get one year older. We’ll deal with the same storyline again this season: lose early on in one of these “elite” showcases, regroup for the next 8-10 games, probably get beat by San Diego St. who will become a Sweet 16 team by the end of the year, win 66-63 vs Baylor, lose at Oklahoma St. with some new pink piglet point guard yanking up threes, deal with Georges Niang’s flatfoot shot reminiscent of LaceDarius Dunn for the 12th year straight, beat k-state 90-56 in Allen Fieldhouse and then let them pull off their once-a-year upset against us away, etc. But two notes that no one seems to talk about: we have to play fucking Kentucky smack dab in the middle of the season! Also, how has no one (especially Dirk) hyped up our matchup vs 7’6” Mamadou “Marmaduke” Ndiaye!?!

Frank O. Mason:
No matter how many times Bill says Frank isn’t a true point guard, I think he’s the epitome of a PG and should be the cap’n of the ship at all times. The two PG method has its benefits but Frank doesn’t really fit the role of a side shooting guard: yeah he knocked in a good percentage of his 3s last year but he has never had a very good looking shot. His strength is brilliant ball handling up the court and then driving the lane; which I hope he keeps in perspective and doesn’t continue to stubbornly drive in against a bunch of flailing kraken looking to stuff him.

Devonte Graham:
Was obviously the worst player on the court vs MSU but he’s Bill’s boi so it seems as if he’ll be playing with a do-no-wrong clause this year. That 1-9 shooting shiite doesn’t sit well with me and he should not think he’s the answer when we’re in desperation mode and need 3s. He should be using his size to drive to the bucket or dish oops. When the two PG mode is working well, he is definitely the QB and Franko is the RB.

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