Thursday, December 6, 2007

"Pound it Inside"

The Recap: Coach Bill Self told his guards one thing before the game: Pound the ball inside. That is exactly what they did all night long during their 85-47 rout of Eastern Washington. KU's post players had a big night and got everything they wanted. Darrell Arthur scored 15 with six rebounds, Darnell Jackson led KU with 17 and nine boards, and backups Cole Aldrich and Sasha Kaun combined for 13 and 10 rebounds. The usual barrage of three point shots weren't needed. Brandon Rush struggled offensively again, but grabbed a team high 10 boards. The full court pressure KU hit EWU with to start the second half was the key in the 18-2 run which really put the game away. Once again, the king of all walk-ons, Conner Teahan, buried a three pointer, moving his season shooting to 9-11.

The Whup:

Shady's post moves. We have been waiting to see the improved post game of Arthur since reading nothing but articles stroking his game during the summer. In the first half, Shady showed a bevy of post moves, including a McHale up-and-under that was very impressive. I know the competition was less than stellar, but these are the types of games he must have if KU is planning on winning it all.

I love me some D-Block. Seriously, I don't know how many more times I can express my love for Darnell Jackson's game, but once again he was the man for KU. With Kaun continuing to regress and Aldrich not ready for full time duty (or the Self move of not allowing him to do so), having a veteran like DJ stepping up his game has really been a godsend to the team. I've said it before, nobody wants it more.

Turnovers. After watching seemingly weeks of stupid turnovers, last night the KU guards were in much better control of the action, turning the ball over just 11 times. PG Russell Robinson didn't turn the ball over in 26 minutes, while the walking turnover himself, Mario Chalmers, only had one to go with eight assists in 27 minutes. Rod Stewart had just one himself. That's the kind of control Self wants out of his guards.

The Weak Beav:

Injuries. Self has thrilled to have Freshman Tyrel Reed back after missing three games with a sprained right ankle. He then went out and sprained his left ankle. He taped it up but came int he game. You can expect it to swell today. Hopefully he will be ready for Saturday's tilt with Depaul. KU is still playing about 75%. Sherron Collins is still out with his stress fracture, Brandon Rush is still slowed recovering for ACL surgery, and Kaun went down with an ankle tweak. Lets get these all out of the way now so KU can be healthy come March.

The Opponent. Man, was Eastern Washington brutal. They had just eight scholarship players and looked like a high school team. This was a glorified scrimmage for the Jayhawks. I guess having a preseason type game in early December couldn't hurt, but it didn't really help in my eyes.

Sasha's "mad" game. Every year I pick a whipping boy on the team early in the year and I ride him until he proves me wrong. Usually they don't. In the early 00's, it was always Eric Chenowith. Last year, I chose Russell Robinson until he stuck it right in my face while becoming the steady, heart and soul of the team. With the Tribe, it's always Casey Blake. This year, no doubt its the big Russian. Look up "regression" in the dictionary and there is a picture of Sasha Kaun next to it. With such a big body, its amazing he can play so soft. Self knows it too. A starter over the last two years, Kaun has moved behind Jackson for major minutes and rightfully so.

Game Quotes - Courtesy of

Darnell Jackson on focusing on getting the ball inside early: “That was just the main focus, just to get the ball in the inside, especially to Shady, because he’s our go-to big man, and when he’s out there doing good and making shots, it makes it easier for the guards to make outside shots when their guards double down on the bigs. We can throw it out and go set a ball screen and they can get to the basket and get easy layups.”

Darnell Jackson on offensive improvement from Sunday’s showing at USC: “When we watched the tape against USC, Shady, he was open a lot down there in the post, so coach Self said we have to get the ball into him more, because Darrell, he’s a great post player, he can make shots, he can dribble and make a jump shot. We just have to keep giving him the ball and make it easier for the other big guys, when we play against teams when they go double-team him, and he can throw it over the top for an easy layup.”

Darnell Jackson on getting ready to face DePaul after last year’s loss in Chicago: “Everything carries over to the next year, especially when we lost in the (NCAA) Tournament. We think about that everyday. When we lost against DePaul, we still think about that. Oral Roberts, we still think about that. We just have to go out here and play, and when the time comes, we know that we have to go out here and execute and just run plays.”

Darrell Arthur on his inside scoring: “I still have confidence in my outside game, but I’m taking more open shots and not trying to take those hard shots. Just starting off, I tried to get to the hole and just work from inside to out...;We were working on it a lot yesterday in practice. Coach made a big emphasis on getting the ball to the post and playing inside-out.”

Russell Robinson on working the ball inside: “We just wanted to feed them and get them going, get them some easy shots. Once we get them some easy shots, the defense kind of just sucks in there and it makes our job a little easier making shots from the outside. We had a size advantage, they were pretty small and we got what we wanted and they finished.”

Bill Self on getting the ball into the bigs: “I don’t think we were more open tonight than we’ve been other nights. I think we just got it to them...We’ll put them on the treadmill during practice - and everybody hates that - for every time they don’t throw it to the post when they’re open. You know, stuff like that. But we’ve just started doing that here recently, but that’ll be something that will continue. We’ve got to do a better job of getting the ball to them. But we talk about it everyday, we harp on it and tape shows them that. But in defense of our perimeter guys, our big guys can do a better job of holding their man off. But those guys are pretty good at getting in the lane for the most part. They just sometimes see the game differently in that ‘why do I, if the emphasis is to get the ball in the paint, well, I could throw it in there and he may be open, he may not be open, but I know I can drive it in there.’ And we just have to get to where we have more confidence throwing it in there.”

Bill Self on what he saw from Brandon Rush: “I didn’t think Brandon played his best tonight, I didn’t think he played his best obviously Sunday. But he did three things tonight that’s better than anything he’s done this year, if you go back and look at it. He got a rebound off two feet where he went way above everybody else in traffic. He got a dunk off one foot in transition, which he hasn’t done at all. And he guarded (Adris DeLeon) and No. 10 couldn’t get around him...Those are the three best things he’s done since he’s been playing this year.”

No comments: