Posted on: April 12, 2011 5:47 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 5:59 pm
Posted by Matt Norlander
When you don't bother to show up to the end-of-year team banquet, that normally means you've effectively checked out. Checked out on your team, your program, everything.
So that's the situation now with freshman guard Josh Selby and Kansas. The Jayhawks had their annual April dinner last night, and when the freshman were recognized, Selby wasn't -- because he wasn't in the room.
He wasn't in the city, the state or the time zone. He was in Las Vegas. He still is. Selby's seen as a potential first-round draft pick, so he's currently missing classes (shocker!) and choosing to train/test the waters out in Sin City.
Picking NBA over team. It's not wrong, it's just actions speak louder than words. Here are some of Kansas coach Bill Self's words.
"I talked to (his mother) today, and that decision is coming real soon,” Self told the Kansas City Star. “He’s done the work he needs to do to academically pass his classes, but he’s been gone now six days. If he’s going to come back, then he’ll be coming back real soon. If not, then he won’t. But certainly he’s going to salvage the semester academically and pass his classes, which is good.”
Self has to hope that's true, because Self could face punishments from the NCAA down the road if Selby doesn't fulfill his academic obligations (it wouldn't just be on Selby; the issue would be compiled if other KU players didn't graduate/had bad grades/stopped going to class). Anyway, point is, Selby's most likely gone. It's becoming a weaker and weaker draft, and the reality is this: Selby may never have his stock higher than right now.
It's higher than it should be, too. He certainly didn't play like a top-five recruit, which was his evaluation upon choosing Kansas last season (Rivals.com rated him No. 1 overall), and didn't look like first-round material throughout the season's final three months.
Selby played 34.8 percent of available minutes last season, scoring less than a point per possession (not good) and averaging 7.9 points per game. He shot a 46.1 effective field goal percentage, a number that's adjusted for 3-pointers' impact. His traditional field goal percentage was 37.3
More truth about Selby: he was more of a pain that Self will ever publicly admit. He came into the Kansas program nine games into last season, after being punished for accepting impermissible benefits. The freshman sparked his team early, then flamed out. He wasn't a difference-maker and, largely, Kansas won in spite of him. It doesn't seem he'll be coming back, which is what seems best for both parties.
The Jayhawks have four-star point guard in Naadir Tharpe coming in next season.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 4:03 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
KU has plenty of point guard options, and that’s a blessing.
However, at this late point in February, I’m sure Bill Self would rather know which one he’ll be counting on to lead his team in the postseason. Right now, he can’t know that.
We know that Tyshawn Taylor, the regular starter, played the most minutes of any Jayhawk before his latest indiscretion – 27.1 per game, to be exact. He also had a 1.7 to 1 assist to turnover ratio and a good defensive impact, with 1.2 steals per game. Most importantly, he had the speed that Bill Self craves.
So, if Taylor sits, where does Kansas go from here? Does Bill Self suddenly forgive all and bring Taylor back for the postseason run? Or has this opened the door for another of those weapons we touched on?
The number one option most fans would look to in this scenario is freshman Josh Selby. He has the speed of a Tyshawn Taylor, but combines it with superior shooting range. The only problem there is that Selby has been injured. He also sat out the first nine games of the season, and has never really found a rhythm. When he does play, it’s as more of a combo guard than a pure point guard. His flashes of potential would probably warrant any kind of experiment Self might want to conduct, assuming his foot is up to the task.
The foot and its various accoutrements are what gave us a good look at our other intriguing point guard option. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star told the story in today’s recap of KU’s decisive Big Monday win over Oklahoma State:
If you don’t practice, you don’t start, obviously.
As Kerkhoff noted, Brady Morningstar also plays some point, but it’s pretty clear at this stage that a lack of speed is going to limit the senior to role player duty.
If I had to guess (and I think I do, since I asked the question), I would say that Johnson has earned his start as the nominal point, with Selby alongside and steady Tyrel Reed in the third slot. Morningstar will continue to come off the bench, and I suspect Taylor will – at least for a while – if and when he returns.
The truth is that KU has operated without a true point guard all season long. A Johnson/Selby backcourt is a pairing of two combo guards who can both score and pass. I discussed the KU guard rotation with Paul Biancardi – ESPN’s recruiting director and former Horizon League coach of the year – and he told me at the time that it’s fine to use such a rotation as long as one of the two athletes can act as the primary scoring option. Selby can do that.
If this was an isolated incident for Taylor, I’d say he might get his job back sooner rather than later. But at some point, I have to believe that his litany of poor off-court decisions are going to trump the fact that he makes pretty good on-court decisions. Not knowing what his latest indiscretion is, it’s hard for me to guess, but this is the first one that’s put him on the bench in street clothes, and I think that’s at least a meaningful symbolic gesture. We saw Morningstar sit a whole semester last season for a DUI incident, but we’ve also seen Taylor play after being openly critical of his coach, so I’m pretty much in the weeds on where this might be going.
Kansas probably has the talent to reach the Sweet 16 no matter which starting backcourt they go with. For this team to reach its Final Four potential, however, the rotation must be settled before the end of the season.
Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:40 pm
This entry has been removed by the administrator.
This message has been removed by the administrator.
Posted on: February 15, 2011 10:50 am
Edited on: February 15, 2011 12:24 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
If the Kansas Jayhawks do not wish to add to their litany of postseason failures, Bill Self must address the emotional maturity of his team, and he must do it now.
Last night's road loss to Kansas State showed once again that this team lacks emotional resilience. I'll let Lawrence Journal-World columnist Tom Keegan describe the scene:
The tendency for KU's big men to react poorly under difficult circumstances first showed itself in a win at Cal on December 22. Marcus Morris was ejected from the game for throwing a flagrant elbow at the head of a pesky Golden Bears defender. Since then, his brother has done the same, and younger players like Josh Selby have shown similar issues with emotional restraint. By allowing personal anger to overwhelm their desire for team success, the Morris twins are showing that they do not have what it takes to lead a Final Four team.
KU does have seniors, but they're a motley crew. Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar are sleepy-eyed Kansans who don't seem to have the force of personality or the on-court talent to corral this group of touchy malcontents. Mario Little is a redshirt transfer who sat out several games due to an arrest on charges of battery and criminal damage. Not exactly a sterling role model.
The juniors are at the heart of this team. Marcus and Markieff Morris, along with Tyshawn Taylor, are the starters that KU's offensive and defensive schemes are built around. Their various emotional meltdowns over the past few seasons have shown that neither of the three has the internal makeup to take this team to late March.
There comes a time in every young person's life -- typically some time in the mid-twenties -- when he realizes that what's "fair" has very little to do with success. In fact, it will be the teams that are able to push through blown calls, chippy opponents and mental and physical exhaustion who will end up in Houston in late March.
Ohio State phenom Jared Sullinger has said that he was spit on following an emotional road loss to Wisconsin. Does anyone now doubt that a full-scale brawl would erupt had something similar happened to a Jayhawk in the Octagon of Doom? That looks like a freshman showing the emotional restraint and leadership this group of Kansas upperclassmen needs to learn and teach to the younger players.
Is anyone in Allen Field House listening? The clock is ticking on this season. If this emotional undercurrent keeps bubbling to the surface, expect yet another too-early postseason exit for another supremely talented KU team.
Posted on: February 5, 2011 4:11 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 4:22 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
KUSports.com, the website affiliated with the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper, sent out some injury news via Twitter (@KUSports) this afternoon:
Selby will not play today b/c of stress reaction in right foot. X-rays & MRI show no fracture. Morningstar will start. #kubballMorningstar is a low-scoring senior guard who nonetheless has a great deal of experience running the Kansas offense. While Morningstar -- a Lawrence native -- is nowhere near the offensive threat that freshman phenom Selby is, he is known as a stalwart defender who can make an impact with hustle and three-point shooting. Against Nebraska, with the Morris brothers leading the charge, that should be more than enough.
Sophomore backup Elijah Johnson should see plenty of floor time as well, providing a more athletic presence in relief.
Posted on: January 17, 2011 4:31 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2011 4:43 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
Keeping the ball from getting inside is the key to beating Kansas. Gutty Nebraska proved that truism in all but the final result on Saturday. Josh Selby, Brady Morningstar and Tyshawn Taylor were a combined 1 of 6 from deep in that game, and Markieff Morris was held to just seven points and seven boards. Kieff's brother Marcus Morris got his double-double on to push through to the 63-60 win in Allen Fieldhouse, but a similar ending will be difficult to achieve on the road at Baylor, should Kansas again struggle on the interior.
The reason is that Baylor can put up a 2-3 zone with enough wingspan to effectively close off the lane. Played properly, it's exactly the type of stifling, annoying defense that can force Kansas into over-reliance on that deep shot. On offense, however, the Bears are left vulnerable by the somewhat desultory ballhandling of A.J. Walton, who has baffling stretches in which he becomes very turnover-prone, somewhat negating the star power of off-guard LaceDarius Dunn.
For each team, the underrated bench option may be the key. For Kansas, it was sophomore Thomas Robinson who crashed the boards when the deep shots missed on Saturday, at one point throwing down a putback dunk and roaring into the cameras. Quincy Acy is the Baylor player who makes his living off hustle and determination. Neither is considered the star of his team, but their contributions may very well decide whether Kansas is 18-0 at the end of the evening.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 10:36 am
Edited on: January 13, 2011 11:45 am
Posted by Eric Angevine
Announcers have trouble telling the Morris brothers apart in the heat of game action. The brothers have similar abilities, similar jersey numbers, and only the small designation Mk. or Mc. on the back of the jersey for clarification. Kansas fans long ago gave up on using first names, and refer to the twins from Philadelphia as simply "the Morii" in casual conversation.
Some twins bristle at the notion that outsiders can't tell them apart, but not the Morrii. The more the legend of Marcus grows -- as it did following his 33-point show in keeping Kansas undefeated last night -- the more he wants to drag his brother into the limelight with him. "I personally think there will be games Kieff can get 30 and Selby can get 30 ,” Marcus told Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World. “I had an on-night tonight. There’s other players on my team who can do it, too.”
It's not that Marcus lacks confidence. More that he seems to understand, perhaps better than a non-twin can, how much his own success is intertwined with that of the man standing next to him. Marcus and Markieff have always had that preternatural ability to bring out the best in one another, but it's becoming more and more obvious that the 'family' tag applies to the entire Kansas team these days. When Bill Self benched the brothers and started sophomore Thomas Robinson for a handful of games, the motivational ploy worked. There seems to be no bitterness between the three men who ply the frontcourt for the Jayhawks, regardless of who's starting. The backcourt situation is even more crowded, but nobody has complained publicly (way to go, Tyshawn !) about playing time. It's almost as if the entire team has adopted the Motto of the Morii: F.O.E.
The acronym is etched on the twins' biceps in indelible ink. It stands for Family Over Everything. "It means family first," Markieff told Joe Davis of Jayhawk Tip-Off. "With my family, we've been through thick and thin. That's who's by my side all the time, so that's what I preach."
The definition of family includes Sean Evans of St. John's and Lamar Trice of Mount St. Mary's, as well as a few other non-DI hoopsters who grew up in Philly with the Morrii, each of whom has the same tat. The Jayhawks are a relatively ink-free group, but it's easy to imagine that the family label is metaphorically stamped on everyone from superstar-in-waiting Josh Selby to benchwarming walk-on Jordan Juenemann. With Bill Self as patriarch and Danny Manning as the cool uncle, this KU team has forged a bond that has allowed for smooth sailing despite some big bumps in the road.
Think about how tough it must be to integrate a new scoring point guard after a third of the season has already been played. Imagine the jittery feelings that must surround something like Mario Little's suspension and reinstatement. Picture, if you can, what it takes to go undefeated through all that, while your school is hiring a new AD in the midst of scandal. Doubt any part of the Kansas gameplan you wish -- Self loves to keep his guys humble -- but don't question their team concept. It's rock solid.
Those of us who get paid to punditize will try to break down a team's prospects six ways from Sunday. We can examine personnel, coaching, strategy and tactics, etcetera. That ineffable thing called chemistry is the toughest to root out, however, and it plays such a huge role. It's not just 'does everyone get along'; there's also 'who's on the floor in crunch time?', 'how do they respond to adversity?' and 'how do they act when coach isn't around?' The best beat reporters can sometimes ferret out those types of details by virtue of proximity and persistence, but the rest of us must fill in the blanks based on on-court performance, for the most part.
From a distance, this KU team looks like a band of brothers, led by a pair of actual brothers. It's the sort of invisible bond that can be seen briefly when Michigan forces overtime, or when Hilton Coliseum is roaring and jumping for The Mayor the way it did when the great Johnny Orr patrolled the sidelines over a decade ago.
If Kansas is on a Final Four path, as it seems to be at this early date, credit the extra mojo to those three letters: F.O.E.
Posted on: January 7, 2011 8:24 pm
Posted by MATT JONES
The NCAA on Friday reaffirmed its previous ruling that Enes Kanter will never step foot on a basketball court for Kentucky. The decision was not particularly surprising, as the organization had three times previously ruled against Kanter and seemed for some time to be dead set on drawing an Enes line in the sand, with virtually all other NCAA athletes on one side and Kanter standing on the other. A myriad of conspiracy theories can be trumped up for the decision, ranging from the NCAA's general dislike of Calipari to its President standing up for his former employer, the University of Washington, where Kanter was committed before flipping and heading to Kentucky. But the simple fact is that a conspiracy theory is not needed for the NCAA to act irrationally. In fact at this point, a lack of coherent reasoning and consistency seems ingrained in the core fabric of the organization.
The facts of the Enes Kanter situation have always been conceded. Kanter played in Turkey for two seasons and was paid a sum of money between the ages of 16-17 to be part of the professional club, Fenerbache. For many national sportswriters and college coaches, for whom nuance and shades of grey are as rare as a dodo bird, that has settled the issue. However, the NCAA has created a system in recent years to attempt to allow these so-called "professionals" the ability to play college basketball in America. Up until this point, the NCAA has recognized that the European youth system is different than that of America, with the notion of popular amateur athletics on the University level virtually non-existent. The best talent of Europe signs early with a professional club and is trained in the equivalent of a basketball academy, with money paid for their training and expenses. The NCAA has allowed these players to come to the United States and even last year, repealed the antiquated rule that forced them to sit out an equal number of college games to the ones they played for the professional team.
In Kanter's case however, the NCAA deemed $33,000 of payment given to Enes's father to be above what was a "necessary and actual expense." To the NCAA, that money represented a salary, given because Kanter was a professional. But of course, that conclusion doesn't pass the smell test. Does anyone honestly believe that a player would be deemed a professional, while playing for one of the richest clubs in Europe, in one of the most expensive cities in the world (Istanbul) and would only accept $16,500 a year in the process? If Kanter and his club truly considered him to be a professional, why would he have been paid such a small amount? Kanter's father has insisted that over $20,000 of that money was used for educational expenses, which if true, means that a little over $10,000 over the course of two years made Kanter a professional in the eyes of him and his club.
While that decision might seem a bit irrational, viewed in the abstract, it could at least be defended. But of course, the NCAA does not operate in a vacuum, and over the course of the last three months has issued three high-profile decisions allowing three high-profile players to compete despite amateurism violations. Each could be defended with some tenuous logic when released, but when viewed together with the Kanter decision, no consistent theme can be found.
Take Kansas Freshman Josh Selby. He was suspended for nine games and required to pay over $5700 to a charity of his choice due to his acceptance of that amount of improper benefits while in high school. Under NCAA rules, Selby was no longer an amateur. But the NCAA looked at the case and somehow determined that this violation could be redeemed if the money was simply paid back. How is the excess $5700 in expenses different than Kanter's $33,000? Is it just that the total is too large? Maybe so, but there is nothing in the NCAA rule book that says the amount makes a difference. Is the difference that the money was paid by a European club rather than a hustling street agent? Maybe so, but there is nothing in the NCAA rulebook that says where the illegal money comes from should make a difference. The difference is manufactured, but never explained by the NCAA.
Take Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. His father admittedly asked for $180,000 in improper benefits from Mississippi State, but the NCAA allowed Newton to play because it deemed that it could not be proven that his son knew about the money. Ok fair enough. In a vacuum that makes sense. But Kanter also claims to not have known about the money taken by his father in excess of the "actual and necessary" expenses. The NCAA claims that the fact money was taken is different than if money was simply asked for by the parent. However that difference is not based on any rule in the NCAA Rule book and the logic behind both cases (the son should not be punished for the sins of the father) applies to both equally. So why is Newton, who one has to strain the laws of credibility to believe didn't know his father was on the take, playing and Kanter, who likely didn't do the expense budget and probably didn't know the amount his father took, ineligible? Its hard to comprehend.
Or take the Ohio State five. All five broke NCAA rules when they sold or exchanged NCAA memorabilia that was given to them for various team accomplishments. All broke the rules and violated the amateurism standard. But, the NCAA allowed them to miss only five games and even went further by delaying the punishment because the group was supposedly unaware of the rule they were breaking. I am certain that 16 year-old Enes Kanter in Turkey had no clue what the NCAA rules were when he took the money from Fenerbache, so why doesn't the "I didnt know" apply to him? Is it because he has no BCS Sugar Bowl upcoming?
The simplistic way to look at the Kanter situation is also the easiest. He played for a professional team, so he was a "pro", end of story. But, when one looks beyond the surface level, those simplistic distinctions breakdown and are shown to be based on nothing in the NCAA rule book or from any logical consistency. Josh Selby, Cam Newton, the Ohio State Five and Enes Kanter all broke NCAA rules. All of them should have been ruled ineligible based upon a strict reading of the NCAA rules. But in three of the cases, the NCAA decided that the rules needed bending and rendered punishments that allowed for "flexibility." In the Kanter case, the rules were read strictly. What explains the difference? Well nothing in the NCAA rule book or any logical framework does, so all we are left with is one conclusion. The only thing certain about the NCAA's decision making process is that it will be consistently inconsistent.