Coach Self: I'm glad he decided to play the bench early and often. That is what this kind of game should be about. We didn't score 150 points, and the "stars" didn't pad their stats, but some kids got to play that won't see that many minutes the rest of the year. It helps their motivation and confidence, and they hopefully helps them realize how much their efforts in practice are appreciated.
The offense: Yes, we didn't finish as well as we needed to again at times. But we passed the ball around the perimeter and got it inside more. Padgett, especially, was good at then getting it back outside for the open looks. Again, I know it was probably easier getting the ball in against a DII team, but at least we were trying to execute it.
Rebounding: We got rebounds from our forwards - Langford and Giddens - which really helps out, especially with Wayne out. Those guys are leapers, and they should be able to get a few each game. Obviously, they like going to the offensive board to get follow-ups, but they were hitting the defensive boards as well.
Okay, props to a few individuals:
David Padgett: The guy fits the high/low. He was able to knock down the jumper from the top of the key, get the ball in low and pass it back out, and finish we he had the ball down low. It is pretty easy to see that he will only get better as his body matures and he gains the weight and strength needed at this level.
Omar Wilkes: Omar got an opportunity, and I thought he made the most of it. Even though he made the three, I was more impressed with his ability to move around his man and hit the 8 to 12 footer. Coach was right - surprise, surprise - he does need some added strength as he got muscled a couple of times. But it was really good to see him get court time and perform. Coach said in one of the articles this morning that he will be getting some time off the bench in the next couple of games and be given a chance to see what he can do.
Moulaye Niang: Say what you want, I like Moo. I love the effort he puts forth. He hustles on defense, he hits the boards, and he actually has a pretty nice touch on his shot for someone who hasn't been playing that long. When he left the floor he sat next to Coach D. , and you could see him nodding his head as coach was explaining something to him. The guy want to learn; and like all of them, he wants to play.
Nick Bahe: Nick got some minutes, and his three was a smooth stroke. It was really good to see Case get a couple to fall. Hopefully, that will get him started on a consistent basis. The rest of the bench guys contributed, and it was just good to see them get the chance.
I left out the rest of the starters on purpose. To me, this game wasn't about that. But Keith Langford and J.R. Giddens had solid games. I liked J.R.'s interview after the game. It sounds like he is really trying to get into the team concept. It was funny, however, in the article from KUSports this morning. He said Coach had told him that he was coming to the bench if he didn't take the open shot. He said he didn't have any problem with that.
One of the few games where I really didn't notice Aaron Miles that much. He did run the team early, of course, before the subs took over. I'm still of the opinion that David Padgett deserves to start instead of Jeff Graves. Jeff can be a big factor for this team when he wants. If he decides to get a rebound, then he goes after it with authority. Other times it seems like he goes through the motions and gets beat to the spot. He is having some problems holding onto the ball down low. He needs to get it back out immediately or go to the hole with it. I thought Jeremy Case maybe was a little over exhuberant about his shot - but I am sure that he wanted to take all he could to try to find a rhythm while he had the chance. Omar Wilkes, also, wasn't shy about looking for a shot. But he had to feel that he needed to impress while he was in there.
Again, it was great to see some of the other guys get a chance. It helps their esteem, and it certainly can't hurt the chemistry. Maybe Omar and Moo earned a few more minutes in the next couple of games.
Once again, it's a good day to be a Jayhawk............