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The good, the bad, and the ugly

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1 week 8 hours ago - 6 days 22 hours ago #23721 by konza63
Here's my quick-hit take on what I saw tonight, and what it portends going forward:

(The Good)

* D-Mack is a machine on the glass, and overall we looked like we can be a pretty solid rebounding team. That said, there were moments where we didn't man up and Puke out-hustled us with far less imposing, less physical players. So this "good" is tempered with some "bad."

* Our defense looked decent at times, and we held Puke to an acceptable field goal percentage - though they had a few that were in and then out. (Could've been an 8-point spread if two that were down stayed down)

* Doc actually hit 2 out of 3 free throws.

* Dotson and Garrett can drive, which most definitely is a weapon. The finishing needs to improve, but it's only game 1.

(The Bad)

* The turnovers were just heinous. Nothing more needs to be said there, but it was just horrific to watch. And I think it speaks to another early, observable problem with this team. (See entry #1 in "Ugly")

* Our bigs can only do one thing offensively: dunk the ball. I don't see good post moves from any of the Big 3 guys. Since none of them are freshmen, you’d think that the odds would favor at least one of them having developed some post moves - being able to put the ball on the floor and create a shot that doesn't involve dunking the ball from 2 feet. But I didn't see it. In fact, every time they put the ball on the floor, seemingly, it led to a walk or turnover.

* We will have to develop a consistent, deadly outside shooting threat (hopefully several options) or they're just going to pack it in on us. And without our bigs having solid post moves or the ability to hit 5-10 footers, if we lack consistent and deadly outside shooting we will struggle. Hopefully Moss getting healthy will help. (On the positive side, Enaruna hit a three, and Agbaji hit two) We also need to take more 3s when they're there, but I'm sure Self will only allow that if confident, decent shooters emerge. Still, it's early. We can hope.

(The Ugly)

* We have little to no flow on offense. If we cannot get it into a big man for a dunk, it becomes a literal crap shoot. I think this contributed to all the turnovers, because there just isn't a sure shooter or scorer outside of dunks and drives.

* Our passing was too often rather brutal, pretty much across the board. Abaji’s late pass and TO on a simple 3-on-1 break was indicative. That play is run countless times in competitive team practices from 5th grade on, so there’s just no excuse. Enaruna made two misguided airborne passes for TOs, D-Mack had a crucial passing TO in crunch time...the list goes on. Hopefully just an anomaly and it will get cleaned up...

* 61% from the charity stripe just ain't gonna cut it, Hawks. Puke was putrid as well on that score, but I don't care about them - I care about KU. That has to improve.

* We didn't close. At one point after righting the ship out of the second half gate, a run had put us up by 9, with the chance to go up by 10 if our starting point guard hits the second free throw. He didn't, and Puke went on a torrid run to close out the remainder of the game. That they are younger yet showed the capacity to buckle down and close out the deal (while we did not) is not satisfying.

(Bottom line)

It's early and the team will no doubt be better than last year, but I'm already worried about our lack of a go-to scorer(s) outside and the lack of 3-point shooting threats (multiple). That probably explains why Puke shot 24 and we shot 9 from behind the arc (well, that and that Puke got a lot more shot opportunities thanks to our turnovers). But if we don't develop a flow in offense and a capacity to hit from outside, we are left with big guys trying to dunk against double-teams on packed-in defenses and the occasional drive (which I like). If we can find and mix in decent, consistent perimeter shooting, KU will become much more lethal.

All said, I'll chalk this up as just an ugly, sloppy first game in November. We showed some fight, but overall the game left a sour taste in the mouth. All the more so since it was losing to Puke.

Self thankfully has a boatload of film to work with to underscore the areas we need to improve in. Here's hoping they respond.

“With kindest regards to Dr. Forrest C. Allen, the father of basketball coaching, from the father of the game.”

1936 inscription on the portrait of Dr. Naismith, displayed above Phog Allen's office desk at KU.
Last Edit: 6 days 22 hours ago by konza63.
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1 week 8 hours ago #23722 by LKF_HAWK
Konza - thanks for the breakdown. Losing stinks, losing to the dang Pukies stings because this puke team had no business winning this game. The Hawks looked like the young team tonight.
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1 week 8 hours ago #23724 by murphyslaw
Great rundown on all aspects of the game.

My main concern is what I've watched the team do countess times during the past several years: They resort to playing frantic basketball. Speed is fine when you are in control and appear to have a plan when you get past the mid-court line. But frantic playing leads to poor decisions/turnovers/missed bunnies. Just my opinion.
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6 days 21 hours ago #23727 by NotOstertag
Pretty much nailed it on the head, Konza.

I think our guys will be kicking themselves all season for letting this one slip past. Last year, on a team that was far from our best, we averaged 13 turnovers per game. Using that benchmark, you can see how turning it over 28 times (resulting in 29 Duke points) was far and away the biggest factor last night. If we had played "only" as poorly as KU did last year, turnover-wise, and turned it over half as many times, we'd be looking at a 12 point win, give or take. While this game won't ruin our season and will only play a minor factor when it comes to tournament seeding time (assuming we right the ship) this one will sting for a while.

I actually think that's good, by the way. These guys are waking up today KNOWING they blew it against a very beatable team. Think about it: 29 points off turnovers. 42% of Duke's total scoring output were off of KU mistakes. Throw in the 14 free throws Duke makes and now we're at 43 out of their 68 points and now we're at 63% of Duke's points coming from mistakes we made, and only 25 points where they simply beat us (8-12 possessions depending on how many of those were 3's).

Despite all of the other things you mention, the game is a win (maybe an ugly win, but a win nonetheless) if we do a better job of hanging onto the ball.

To me, the BEST news last night was Dok's 2-3 from the FT line. That's been a huge liability for us, but if he can continue to NOT be a liability there, that will help a lot.

I agree with your other "good" mentions, but still think that as good as D-Mack played, he still sometimes seems to hurry things a little too much, which seems to manifest itself into somewhat spastic passes that are too quick and off target to be effective. Still a vast improvement over last year.

As for the bad and ugly, I think we need to look at prioritizing the big problems from the ones that are easily fixed.

For example, I think the turnover thing will get fixed. I don't think Dotson (6 TOs) and Agbaji (5 TOs) will have many games like that (unless they REALLY like running the stairs in AFH during practice). Dok, D-Mack and Silvio accounted for 10 TOs which is a bigger problem, as I feel it's part of a bigger issue, which I'll list as priority #1:

>Priority #1: Playing "big". We all know Self loves his hi-low and I'm not going to argue its merits vs. its problems. I think WHEN it's run properly, it's extremely effective, puts the other guys in foul trouble, and can help spread the court. Of course that "when" is the big variable. It's not an easy system to learn, and when it's played improperly, it's very easy for the other team to crowd the lane, harass your bigs, and nullify the whole thing.

The first issue here isn't necessarily the mobility of the bigs, or them developing more moves. It really comes down to spacing, position on the court, and passing. Played properly, our 2 bigs should only have 3 guys guarding them, leaving 2 guys to guard 3 perimeter players. The perimeter guys need to say outside to let the bigs work, and with 2 on 3 in the high-low, somebody is going to be in a 1-on-1 position to either score, or dump it out to whoever is open outside. Seems to me that right now, whichever 2 guys we had inside were out of position, too close to each other, and often had a wing defender cheating inside making it a 2 on 4 for whichever 2 bigs were in there.

Clearly Self is telling the guys to try to get the ball inside which is resulting in guys forcing the ball into the paint when there's nothing there. My solution (as if Self will call me, lol) is that Dok, D-Mack, and Silvio need to work on spacing and recognize when they should pass, shoot, or kick it out. It needs to be an almost instant decision. At the same time, Self needs to realize (or maybe communicate better) to the wings that if the paint is packed with too many bodies, that they need to NOT throw it inside. I don't think that's the message. It think right now he's having them force the ball inside, kind of like when he was trying to force Perry Ellis to play as a back-to-the-rim big man. Didn't work. Neither is this.

>Priority #2: We need to take (and hopefully MAKE) more 3's. We went 4-9 (44%) last night, which is a fine percentage, but taking away Dotson's last-second meaningless shot, and we're 3-8 (37.5%) on the night. Last year, on a decidedly BAD 3 point shooting team, we averaged 7-20(35%) per night. Why did we only take 8 attempts from beyond the line last night? I don't think Duke's 3 point D was THAT good. I think we SHOULD be able to shoot 40% from 3 and if you take 20 attempts per night,that SHOULD result in about 8 makes and 24 points, or double our output from last night. Moreover, it keeps the other team's defense honest, uncrowds the paint, and actually allows Self's beloved hi-low to work better. Throw in the new 3 point line, and this should work even better.

Of the two, I think Priority #2 is going to be the easiest to fix. I think getting Isiah Moss healthy will be a big help, and I do think we have a better group of shooters all around this year. Self just needs to figure out which guys will have the green light and under what circumstances they'll get it and then let them play.

Priority #1 is a tougher fix because I do believe the hi-low isn't easy for guys to pick up, and we've seen this same progression before where Self is forcing the ball into a not-working hi-low. Maybe it's that kind of repetition against real opponents that eventually makes it all click and fall into place. But right now, our hi-low looks like 20 guys in a phone booth* trying to play keep-away. Not very effective.

Only one game that won't mean much in the end, but damn we blew an opportunity last night.

*Phone booth: (definition provided for anyone here under the age of 45) In olden times, people didn't carry their own phones with them, and relied on public pay telephones to make calls when they weren't at home. For privacy and protection from the elements, these public phones were often housed in small free-standing structures about 3 square feet, just large enough for a person to climb inside to make a call out of the weather, or to keep from being overheard.

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6 days 21 hours ago #23728 by konza63
Agreed in full, NotO. I wish we had a crystal ball to know who the dominant outside shooters will be, but it will be fun to watch it evolve.

2 other thoughts:

Given that it’s a long season and we will most definitely need Moss as a shooter, I would absolutely not rush him back from his hamstring injury - I would ease him back once it’s truly fully healed. Hammies are tough to heal quickly and very prone to re-injuring in a sprint.

Once we determine who our best shooters are, there’s a chance we’ll see Garrett’s minutes diminished. He is solid on D and can drive, but in many ways when paired up with Dotson it makes it harder to stretch the floor and give our bigs the space you cite - because he’s a complete non-threat as a shooter. That’s a problem.

Good stuff. Love the phone booth caveat! :cheer:

“With kindest regards to Dr. Forrest C. Allen, the father of basketball coaching, from the father of the game.”

1936 inscription on the portrait of Dr. Naismith, displayed above Phog Allen's office desk at KU.
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6 days 19 hours ago #23729 by NotOstertag
Thanks Konza. There's a great video somewhere of some kids trying to figure out how to use a rotary dial phone and can't figure it out. I always hated when I was in a hurry and a phone number had a lot of 9's and zeroes in it. Kids don't know what I'm talking about. :dry:

I agree on letting Moss heal. The next big tests come in Hawaii and by then he'll have almost 3 weeks of rest. Hopefully that means 2 weeks of treatment, and a full week of practice so he's not completely rusty when he gets significant minutes.

That said, I think Dotson and Agbaji are bigger outside threats this year, Garrett is more of a slasher, and between Braun, Enaruna,and Wilson we might find some others. If Moss is healthy and plays as per the scouting report and even 1 of those 3 freshman can hit, that problem will be solved. It's just a matter of seeing who steps up.

Also somebody pointed out on another thread that the absence of Vick and Grimes might actually result in "addition by subtraction". Vick brought a very toxic feel to the team, and I don't know what to make of Grimes (or for that matter Self's reliance on him all year despite totally underperforming). Remove Vick and Grimes and throw in Agbaji and Garrett and I think we're better already. Swap in Moss for either of them and we're even better outside (I'm hoping). And if one of the 3 freshmen is decent, we're really talking about depth.

Final thought: I kind of feel like Self's "thing" is the high-low, in the same way Jim Boeheim is all about zone defense. You know if KU has bigs, you're going to see the high-low, and you know if you're playing Syracuse, you're going to face a zone. In both cases, however, it all really comes down to execution and it seems like it takes a while before the pieces fall into place.

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6 days 19 hours ago #23730 by NotOstertag
BTW, it was Asteroid who made the "addition by subtraction" comment that I plagiarized. Totally spot on, IMHO.

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6 days 19 hours ago - 6 days 19 hours ago #23731 by konza63
Really well put on the high-low being Self’s signature, with the Boeheim zone comparison.

On the rotary phones, who all on here remembers their childhood numbers? Mine was CY9-8549. :-)

“With kindest regards to Dr. Forrest C. Allen, the father of basketball coaching, from the father of the game.”

1936 inscription on the portrait of Dr. Naismith, displayed above Phog Allen's office desk at KU.
Last Edit: 6 days 19 hours ago by konza63.

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6 days 12 hours ago #23733 by JRhawk
Re childhood phone #'s - I lived on a rural party line. Think ours was 2 longs & 1 short (length of the ring). When we wanted to make a call, would lift the receiver carefully to see if anyone was using the line. If not, think would dial 0 for the operator. If line was in use for too long and really needed to make a call, would politely ask those talking if they would get off the line. :-)
About the game last night - was an eye opener for me. For some reason, I had KU penciled in to the Final Four. Seriously doubt they will get anywhere near that, unless Braun, Enaruna, & Wilson vastly improve and Moss is a great 3 point shooter. De Sousa was a shell of the player I saw in the regional final vs Duke in 2017.
A major downer is the players that KU should have gotten this year - Hurt scored 11 last night. James Robinson-Earl had 24 points & 13 boards vs Army last night.
RCJHKU
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6 days 12 hours ago - 6 days 12 hours ago #23734 by porthawk
First, good to have you back posting, Konza. It's been too long (although I know life is very busy).

I, too, agree with your analysis - definitely about the outside shooting, but also about the bigs and their lack of post moves. If that doesn't improve and they can't create any offense on their own, along with us not having consistent outside shooting, we will have major issues.
Last Edit: 6 days 12 hours ago by porthawk.
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5 days 21 hours ago #23738 by LadyHawk
I do remember my childhood phone number - 325-2356. I definitely relate to NotO's comment regarding phone numbers with 9's and 0's on a rotary dial phone - I worked on the switchboard my dorm when I was in college and those numbers were terrible to dial. And, yes, I went to college that long ago. :)
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5 days 21 hours ago #23739 by Bayhawk
After WWII when everybody started acquiring home phones the "powers that be" in the telecom industry developed the NAN -- numerical access network -- or what we call an area code. Really big cities (e.g., New York, Chicago, or L.A.) would get an area code starting with low numbers (e.g., 212, 312, & 218) as to minimize the inconvenience of dialers using a rotary phone. ;)

Now you know the rest of the story . . . . (Page two!)*

RC
* If you get the page two reference you are old! :P

The end is nothing; the road is all.
-- Jules Michelet
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5 days 20 hours ago #23740 by Wheatstate Gal
Thanks, “Paul”!

I guess That’s why the northern “half” of KS got 913!

:-D
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5 days 19 hours ago #23741 by NotOstertag
313-838-1022. Two 8's and one zero. Not bad, and the last 2's on the end were pretty zippy. Also reflects Detroit (where I was born) being a pretty high priority place back then.

Looking forward to the home opener tomorrow. Wash the nasty taste of PDuke out of my mouth.

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5 days 14 hours ago - 5 days 14 hours ago #23742 by Bayhawk

NotOstertag wrote: Looking forward to the home opener tomorrow. Wash the nasty taste of PDuke out of my mouth.


WORD!!!!!!! :woohoo:

I set myself up for a BIG let down for that game. Time to, as Freud would say, repress a memory. I'll watch my saved DVR of the last puke game and pet my kitty . . . .

RC

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Last Edit: 5 days 14 hours ago by Bayhawk.
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5 days 9 hours ago #23744 by konza63
JR: Makes me think of Green Acres! :silly:

And I hear you about the game and team.

“With kindest regards to Dr. Forrest C. Allen, the father of basketball coaching, from the father of the game.”

1936 inscription on the portrait of Dr. Naismith, displayed above Phog Allen's office desk at KU.

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5 days 8 hours ago #23745 by HawkErrant
I am amazed that reading the “home phone #” question brought it back to me... or at least the # we had after Dad retired from the USAF in 1967 and we returned to his hometown of Cumberland, MD.301-729-3521. Had to double check to be sure I had it right, and yup!

Weird, haven’t thought of that # in at least 18 years, since my sibs and I moved Mom from Cumberland to Richmond VA so brother Jon (who spearheaded the whole thing, credit where due!) could be there to help her out (Dad had died 10 years before that, she was needing the help, and #1 sibling — that’s me — was still active duty at the time, so Jon as sibling #2 took the lead).

I also still recall the old # for Anna’s folks, but that was their # until they moved in with us in 2015 and cut the landline. The only thing I ever had to adjust for with their # was when they were switched from the old 913 Kansas area code to the new 785 AC. Otherwise their # stayed the same.

The only other thing I remember about “home phone” service growing up was that at one time in Easthampton MA (my Mom's hometown, and where we would go to live whenever Dad had an unaccompanied overseas tour) we had a party line, and that Mom did not like it (we kids did not mess with the phone back then).

Hmm, hmm, hmm...

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4 days 22 hours ago #23746 by NotOstertag
Thinking about nostalgia and phone numbers, one of the sad things about today's technology is that KU students are missing out on the institution that was KU Info. I remember many a drunk-dial calling them up and asking preposterous questions, as well as using them as a resource for serious questions as well. Now there's google. I know KU Info still exists, but calling them at 2am to find out how many stairs were on campus, or how deep is Potter Lake is something that kids are missing out on.

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4 days 18 hours ago #23747 by murphyslaw
Wichita, KS, Phone # in 19**: 65948. Address 4021 Bellaire. Neighboring streets: Kincaid and Clark. Family dog: Spooks. School: Hillside. 2nd grade teacher: Gleason. President: Roosevelt/Truman. What I had for lunch 30 minutes ago: Uh, food.
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4 days 16 hours ago #23748 by jayhawk969
Garnett Kansas

Phone # 893
Grandparents was 888

N dials just operators connecting calls. Early 50's
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