After Sunday evening’s much tougher than anticipated victory over Washburn, you can be sure that the intensity level will go up a notch during Monday afternoon’s practice as Kansas prepares for Vermont. You can also expect that Bill Self will spend a little time reviewing the Washburn game and we’ll do the same.
Head Coach Bill Self
Comparing Russell Robinson to Cedric Hunter:
“He reminds me a lot of Cedric, Cedric’s stronger and Russell may shoot a little better. Cedric was a great point guard, great, and Russell’s not near as good creating for others yet and that kind of stuff although I think he can get there. Mario Chalmers is going to remind you a lot of Ced too, we’re going to have two guys back there hawking the ball that at least physically look like Ced with their long arms.”
On the Washburn effort:
“I thought Washburn was great, they played hard and they're well coached. They played with a purpose and they played really well early but we also came out and we probably didn’t have the energy level and intensity level early and they get a nine point lead. Then all of the sudden they think they can play with us and win the game and certainly that was the case. That was a good basketball game, we went up 13 and had a chance to crack it open but we didn’t play smart at all the last four or five minutes, but give them credit.”
On Wayne Simien and his troubles passing out of a double team:
“They really didn’t double him in the second half much but in the first half they did and we knew they were going to. But, a lot of that is my fault because we haven’t emphasized that in practice. We just put in doubling the post a couple of days ago, we know people are going to do that so we’ll spend a lot of time on that. We’ll do some things not so much for Wayne to score but for Wayne to find open receivers out of double teams and then repost.”
“Well, you know we played to win the game and I would of loved to have played everybody, but wasn’t how the game played out and Bahe only got two minutes. If in fact I would have substituted in the second half outside of those five I would have put Nick in there because Nick has played the best. Hopefully, those guys have to stay ready but tonight we were trying to win the game so that’s why that occurred.
Senior guard Aaron Miles
On how Russell Robinson changed the game:
“A couple of our freshman did pretty good aside from fouling, you know Russell Robinson stepped up and he changed the complexity of the game with his defense and some of his decision making so that was great.”
On whether or not he expected such a tough game:
“When you’ve got a scrappy team that competes and plays hard they are always going to give a fight. You know, we didn’t get into a real groove but there’s going to be times where you’ve got to scrap them out and dig them out.”
Freshman guard Russell Robinson
On whether or not Kansas may have overlooked Washburn:
“I don’t think that we looked down on them, but it is just that they came out with a lot of intensity and held it on for the whole game. It made for a good game today.
On what the coaching staff said after the game:
“You know coach was like this is a good test for us, we’d rather have it happen today than next Friday against Vermont, because Vermont is probably a better team. So now we’ve got our first test of the preseason, it’s gone well to this. After the game started we noticed that they weren’t backing down so we had to do what we do and try to do it right and we did, but the just stayed close.”
JUNIOR BIG MAN TAKES IN GAME
Nobody is going to confuse tiny Viborg (SD) High with a basketball factory. However one of the school’s 101 students, Ross Verhuel a 6-9 BF from the class of 2006, is attracting the attention of basketball programs from the Missouri Valley, Big 12 and Big Ten.
Verhuel was in attendance on Sunday evening for an unofficial visit. He’s a skilled big man with range who runs the court well but needs to add more muscle mass. Look for him to continue to be evaluated through the spring by programs on the upper mid major to high major level this winter and spring.
The Kansas win over Washburn may not have gone exactly as hoped for by the Kansas faithful but there were still some positive signs. Russell Robinson was absolutely fantastic on the defensive side of the ball and his ability to create shots is going to be a key factor as the season progresses. The 6-1 freshman isn’t a full time PG yet, but he is one of the few Jayhawks capable of creating space to get his own offense in any situation. His quick, decisive and aggressive drives are going to result in some turnovers down the road, but his ability to get into the lane at any time will make things much easier in the long run. He won’t be a primary option, but Kansas fans should continue to expect him to be an opportunistic scorer with a penchant for hitting big shots during his rookie campaign.
Christian Moody drew some serious heat from Bill Self for failing to corral a rebound with just under 16 minutes to go in the second half. The 6-7 junior had just executed a good box out on a missed free thrown but forgot to go and get the ball giving up an offensive rebound. He was immediately yanked and after that play and was aggressive in going and grabbing rebounds rim high after that. The Kansas guards need to follow suit and offer up a little more help for Wayne Simien on the glass. Keith Langford has proven he can board, but J.R. Giddens is too long and athletic to not be offering more help.
Foul troubles aside, it doesn’t take C.J. Giles long to show how much promise he has for the future. He’s long, lean and probably the most improved Jayhawk over the course of the last year. His catch of a first half lob was a big time play even though his dunk finish rattled out. More impressive were his reflexes that allowed him to gather his own rebound and go right back up with it. Not many freshman in the country are capable of making that play.
Pay close attention to Giddens after he releases his jump shot and you’ll probably know whether or not the shot is going to go in. Even though his style is a bit unorthodox, Giddens creates a nice balanced base with his feet and his release is high with plenty of arch and rotation on his shot thanks to an excellent follow through. However, Giddens has a tendency to fall backwards as he comes down to the floor when shooting off of the dribble or coming off a curl which results in some errant shots. If he goes straight up and down, he’s as talented a shooter as there is in the country.
Play of the game? Had to be the rugby scrum that resulted in nearly every player on the court eventually hitting the deck and catching an elbow in the process. Washburn’s undersized wild man, forward Travis Robbins certainly loved it and literally started barking on the sidelines after the play. Robbins also did plenty of woofing after Simien sent guard Adam Head flying several feet in a violent collision. Only on this occasion the 6-5 Robbins went Cerano from the movie Major League on Simien, and actually everybody in the building, pleading him to “bring that #$%^ to me”.