Earlier this season, Kansas head coach Bill Self voiced his annoyance with the media making a big deal about who he puts in the starting lineup. His argument was that it really doesn’t matter because it may not be indicative of how many minutes one plays or who finishes the game.
Last week at Texas Tech, Self opened the door to questions, as he finally placed freshman forward Cliff Alexander in the starting lineup. Following a good performance in a solid win, it appears that he’s there for good, heading into Saturday’s matchup with Baylor.
“Yeah, I thought he played fine,” Self said. “I don't know if you watched. If you saw the very first minute, he probably didn't start the game off the way you would hope he would. He had a hard time determining that maybe somebody in the fifth row wasn't wearing a Kansas jersey because he made two really bad passes. But, he was nervous. I thought he did fine.”
“I'm pleased with Jamari (Traylor), but we need something a little bit different,” Self continued. “We need some more girth, we need a bigger presence. Jamari has really done a nice job for the most part all year long in doing what he can do, but he's physically limited to be that small and to have to play the 5. I thought Cliff did well. Cliff will be in the starting lineup moving forward as long as nothing changes, but you just never know what's going on or how the ebbs and flows go. But I thought he played pretty well the other night.”
Perhaps the change will spark the Kansas offense, as it has become primarily a team of shooters and while they’ve been frightenely effective shooting the three ball, it could also lead to their downfall if they don’t start getting some consistency inside.
“We need to throw it inside more, but we can throw it inside more and be passers out of it than we can be scorers,” Self said. “You can play inside-out and shoot a ton of threes, just as long as the ball touches the paint. I think Cliff is an easier presence to throw it to because he's bigger and hopefully we'll get some points out of it.”