Tuesday, December 06, 2005

 

Couple quick comments

1) Jamar Smith, wow. Big-time performance last night saved the day for the Illini. Great move by Weber to hide Smith's defensive "weakness" by having him guard the point guard. Allows Smith to utilize his length to cause disruption, also allows Dee to rest a bit on defense.

2) 2nd half was about the best the team has played all season. Nice to see Randle and Warren Carter's contributions. Would love to see Weber use this opportunity to cut down to a shorter guard/wing rotation.

3) Look for Mario Chalmers to potentially get the start tonight for Kansas over Jeff Hawkins. Guard is that team's weakness and also the strength for St. Joe's, so could be an interesting matchup.

4) Michigan State-BC should be a good one, would be great to see the Spartans step up and win one for the Big Ten.

Comments:
1) Not sure I agree that Jamar "saved the day", but he certainly provided a spark when we needed one. I think the outcome of that game was inevitable once they started getting tired.

2) I kinda like the 10-deep idea. Gives the team the ability to react to different types of offenses and defenses, keeps everyone fresh, and gives us the ability to throw multiple looks at teams. I'm not sure that there's a significant amount of difference in ability between players 7-10, so why not keep them all in the rotation while you can, and see who steps up on any given day?

3) Changing the point guard isn't going to help KU. Until they start running some sort of structured offense, they're going to have a lot more games like NV and AZ. If they were a stock right now, they'd be a hold/sell until they can show some plan to start generating some earnings. If they lose to St. Joe's, watch for their value to plummet. There's just no track record yet to prove to me that they're improving.
 
Dee was guarding their best guard so he was hardly resting. We would have won the game without Jamar but he gave us a lift to get the 2nd half going.
 
Self has no idea what his KU team's identity is this year. Not in any way shape or form.

Before the games in Maui, the KU coaching staff was telling anyone who would listen that their strength was going to be their inside guys.

Now that Giles, Kaun, and Moody have taken regular turns sucking up the gym, they're starting to run a lot more perimeter oriented stuff and are putting the ball in Rush's hands a lot.

I think that's inevitably a bad idea as well as Rush isn't a great ball handler as yet.

If they are going anywhere, they need Chalmers to step up and claim the PG spot - just like Dee/Deron did as freshmen. Otherwise that's just not an NCAA tournament team.

They're also running out of opportunities to get some solid pre-conference wins.
 
any more news on Chester Frazier's injury? I hope it's not long-term; need him to provide minutes at PG to rest Dee.
 
Illinois

Watching Jamar in high school for two years and even playing against him/guarding him in a summer tourney at Bradley before my senior year, I wasn't sure how much to expect out of him. Looking down the road, I was hoping Weber would land some top of the line recruits, and Jamar would develop the role of a sharp shooter of the bench throughout his years at Illinois...a more athletic Sean Harrington if you will. However, ever since we both showed up on campus, his game has really taken off, and mine has stayed grounded. Now the last part of that statement was expected by me, but Jamar has improved beyond what I had expected.

Just early last March, I watched Matt Roth outperform Jamar at Robinson Field House. I didn't see him play again until this October, and he was bigger, faster, stronger, playing better defense, and his shot was more consistent.

If he can come off the bench for 18-20 minutes a game, he will average atleast 10 points a game this season. If this happens, there is no telling how good this team can be, because Dee will come around, James will continue his solid production, Randle will be counted on less offensively, therefore making him more of a threat, and the rest will chip in.
 
Kansas

Last night when KU got off to a hot start against St. Joes, I thought maybe just maybe this team was turning the corner. A bunch of missed free throws later, I realized they still some work to do.

1. I think the biggest mistake Self can make is relying on Brandon Rush to be Kansas's primary scorer. Yes, depending upon him to score will help them win/be in ballgames. It will also allow Brandon to accomplish what he plans to accomplish. NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION. At this rate he is not going to have any fun in Kansas this year, and we already know he has no loyalty to Kansas, as he choose them based on KU being the best place for him to showcase his ability for scouts. I'd love to see where this team is without him. Anyway, if they depend on him to score, then it takes that experience away from someone who going to be there next year. Although with the Jayhawks, you never know who is going to be there next year.

2. I thought that Darnell Jackson would make Kansas a better team when he comes back. I have waivered on that though, because I looked at his stats from last year and they are less than impressive. I think he will help, but if he comes back and they win over a decent opponent, I am not buying the fact from any KU fans that if they had him along they would be much better. 9 game suspension is ridiculous. $5,000. He knew it was wrong. Since Congress decided to step in and make baseball get tougher steroid policies, maybe they should step in and make the NCAA hammer out a fair process for determining punishments for violators.

3. Rush is being investigated by the NCAA now. I doubt they will find anything.

4. Anyone else feel that Lute Olsen and Bill Self should co-author a book together on last second shots?
 
BTW - Kansas is becomming an excellent example of how talent is not everything. I copied the following quote off a post on Phog because it cracked me up, and even they are seeing it now:

"The Flock (note: Flock is their own nickname for Phog posters) continues to be enamored with "talent" and "athleticism" as yet another pasty white guy who can actually shoot goes off for 27."

Pretty much sums it up...
 
Efrem:

I'm chalking it up to beginning of the season with all these newcomers at KU not knowing how to play together, and the coaching staff not knowing who to play with whom. That said, if it doesn't improve pretty soon, Self is going to have some serious heat on him.
 
Nut -

His biggest problem is becomming clear to me. He has recruited too many guys with mind blowing athletic talent, and too few guys with actual basketball skills. Couple that with the fact that Bill isn't the best guy at developing basketball skills and it's trouble for KU.

Micah Downs is maybe the best shooter on KU's team right now. And having seen him in HS I would say he's more of a scorer than pure shooter.
 
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