First, how many of you would have believed after the first 12 minutes that we would score 90 points? I was ready to explain that scoring in the 60s was not Coach Self's offense, but just the fact that we couldn't make anything.
Coach Self: I was really pleased in watching him. I thought he made some good adjustments; including in the line-up, called some timeouts at times we needed them, and handled himself very professionally on the sidelines. I noticed a couple of times after mistakes that players looked towards the bench - probably out of habit. I don't know if anybody was yelling anything at them or not. I would assume not. It was "play on".
Keith Langford: The guy never ceases to amaze me with how "quietly" he picks up points. When they first said he led the team with 13 points, I was saying "no way". I did think that on the last two drives on the baseline the calls could have gone either way. It appears that the Mocs were well coached in that, and they were ready for it. I also found it interesting when he and Giddens were both in the game that Piper said, "neither one of them has the mindset of a #2". Keith had a heck of a game, especially considering all that had to be on his mind.
Wayne Simien: Okay, I closed my eyes too after the falls. If Wayne had any doubts about how tough his shoulder would physically be, this ought to give him some added confidence. It took us awhile to get the ball into him, but once he got going he was a consistent force inside. He also hit a couple of nice jump shots - I really like his "touch".
Aaron Miles: Another really good "floor" game. It was also good to see him hit a couple of perimeter shots - although we do need more consistency out of the entire team in that category. His shot looks fine when he just relaxes and takes it. When he rushes then it looks a lot flatter. Played very nice defense. The press concerned me a little as we had a hard time - at least harder than we should - with it. That's not all Aaron's fault; somebody has to help him out.
David Padgett: What can you say? I believe he has earned his position in the starting lineup now, and he is going to have to fall on his face to be taken out. What a performance! The thing that reminded me of Collison was David's ability to run the floor. Not only did he get breakaway hoops, but he got back to the other end for defense. The blocked shots were a great weapon to have! He's going to have a tremendous career at KU.
Michael Lee: He did a lot of little things, but he seems to be finding his way a little in the system. He is a player that we have to have contribute, and I have strong faith that he will do just that. Coach commented in his post-game show that Lee and Hawkins combined for 27 minutes tonight, but in some games they would combine for 40. I like the way Coach played the match-ups.
Jeff Hawkins: J-Hawk looked a little nervous on offense to me. Of course, he was playing a big role for the first time in front of a big crowd. He'll be fine. He is still a little buzzsaw on defense.
Jeff Graves: Big Jeff didn't play much - I assume mostly because of his knee. However, to be honest, his game didn't match up with the Mocs too well. I thought Nash's athleticism was better in this situation..as well as playing Langford and Giddens at the same time. Jeff did a couple of nice things in his limited action. One was the bounce pass to Langford for the dunk. We need the big man.
J.R. Giddens: I thought J.R. did a nice job in his debut. He played extended minutes in the second part of the first half, and I thought he brought a lot of energy. Obviously the guy can "sky", and he plays with emotion. At times he will have to learn to contain himself. I liked that Wayne went over and grabbed him when he started to complain about a call that went against him....the leadership we expect from Wayne.
Bryant Nash: Nash played some good minutes for us. He had a good runner down the lane and a great dunk off the baseline. He matched up better with the size and speed of the Mocs. I thought Piper was correct when he said that "Nash just needs to learn when NOT to shoot". He just gets so excited and forces so much offensively. I did think he looked a lot more comfortable playing as one of the "big" men.
Jeremy Case: I thought Jeremy showed some good floor presence in his time out there. He did look a little nervous, especially on his shot. He did get some time, though, and I think he might get some more as the year goes on. However, Coach did emphasize in the post-game show that he was very serious about the 9-man rotation. Right now it looks as though Jeremy, Omar, and Moo are the 3 men out. Besides the top seven that Coach listed, I think JR is definitely to be included. Nash would seem to be the 9th as Coach said he could use him either on the perimeter or inside - so that helped out the rotation.
And, finally, I want to give credit to the Mocs. I was really impressed with their team. They came ready to play, they weren't intimidated, and they were very athletic. They are going to win a lot of games this year.
All-in-all; a great start to an interesting and exciting year.......