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Apparently Self mentioned the possibility at today's press conference. Peters would be because injury has left him behind. Lucas will sit out at least one game while it's discussed. The Lucas one surprises me. It seems like Self typically requires players earn a redshirt year by showing potential as freshmen. We'll see what happens. Maybe Lucas has shown practice potential but really needs the weight staff.
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While its not a great topic of discussion to discuss transfer possibilities, Self does plan to sign at least 6, if not 7. I figured if McLemore returns, Lucas would be the most likely candidate to transfer if we get two bigs such as an Embiid and one of Gordon, Randle, Lawrence (I prefer to be overly optimistic) as he would see the writing on the wall. But if he redshirts this year it makes the transfer less likely.
This seems like a significant shift in philosophy. I can't remember a freshman-year redshirt under Self, but I can remember several sophomore ones (including Releford and Morningstar). I'm really surprised that this is a consideration.
This move is surprising simply because of the lack of legitimate centers that Kansas has on the roster. I was hopeful that these players, Lucas especially, would be ready to give meaningful minutes this season in backing up Withey.
More teams play without legitimate centers than have 2 of them on the roster. There are only a handful of teams in the nation that are so big that you would be better off playing a less skilled guy just because he was a legit 5 man instead of a 4. There are just not enough elite post players to make it as big of a deal as it used to be.
If you have a legit backup center who is one of your top 4 or big men then good deal. But I think Lucas is pretty clearly behind Ellis, Withey, Traylor and Young. Hell, we suffered a lot defensively against smaller teams having Withey on the floor at all last year when he was paired with Robinson. If the other team had a 4 who was comfortable with the ball in his hands we often ended up taking Withey off the floor.
I think the larger issue, though, is that none of these guys is an elite rebounder. Withey is pretty good, but without Lucas, who rebounds the ball when he's out? For all his strengths, Perry Ellis isn't an elite athlete or special rebounder. Young is more of a wing when it comes to rebounding, and not as good as Releford most nights. Traylor is under sized but might be our best bet to be a good rebounder. Last year, when Withey couldn't play, Robinson still went for 12-15 rebounds. I think Matt's point is that there isn't another guy on the roster you look at and see where we make up for those boards moreso than the points.
Rebounding help will have to come from the wings, of which we have a good number with good size to throw at the problem.
I think Matt's point strikes me as a bit behind the curve. Basketball is becoming smaller at the 4 and 5 positions and bigger at the 2 and 3 really. You can't get away with playing two centers at once anymore and while a backup center would be nice I don't see Lucas really being a decent rebounding guy for the team anyway because I don't think other aspects of his game will allow him to stay on the floor.
Honestly I think centers are dying breeds anyway. No one is playing guys just because they are big anymore. Teams, within reason, figured out that they are better off playing smaller with their most talented players than they are running some near 7 foot chump out there because of a misbegotten notion that we need to put a C next to someones name on the lineup card. There is in my opinion far more to lose by having guys who can't move their feet on the outside on defense and who are pretty useless on offense than you gain by having a bigger guy in there to rebound.
Hell, I would cite Cole Aldrich as a good example of this. Cole was a great center but man if it didn't make certain things very difficult for us against smaller teams. He could not switch screens, even for a second. We wasted a crap ton of possessions throwing the ball into him because he was our "big man" when the interior offense should have run through the more talented Morris twins.
I have spent a lot less time over the past 5 years or so wishing for another 7 footer to throw into the game than I have wishing we had some more 6'7" guys that can move their feet and guard big men from other teams that are comfortable playing away from the basket. It honestly does not bother me one bit that neither Peters or Lucas might play. I like what Young and Traylor bring to the table and think Ellis and Withey will do fine against 95% of the big guys we will see.
I hear what you're saying but my point is this, if Kansas wants to compete for a national championship this season, having one center on the roster isn't enough with the way Withey gets into foul trouble. Who will they have to beat in order to get to Atlanta and win it? 1) Indiana with Zeller, 2) Louisville with Dieng, 3) Kentucky with Noel, and 4) Michigan State - Payne and Nix. These are just some examples without getting into the fact that West Virginia will bring more size and toughness into the conference, Texas got bigger this past season, and both Kansas State and Baylor will have good size.
The bottom line is that they need to have the ability to rebound and defend the post when Withey is out of the game. Plus, with the fact that Kansas runs the "High - Low" offense they need a low post presence in the game at all times. Having this low post presence draws defensive attention which opens up the floor for easier ball movement, driving lanes, and 3pt shots. I'm sure Coach Self will adapt because he's one of the top coaches in the country but if you want to defend Cody Zeller, in a potential Elite Eight matchup, with Perry Ellis, Traylor, or any other post player on the roster other than Jeff Withey (assuming he gets into foul trouble) this team would be in BIG trouble.
I don't undertsand - do you think Lucas is a better option than those guys? Because I don't buy that at all. I'm even surprised he's getting mentioned with a redshirt, because I honestly figured he'd be a transfer candidate by season's end.
And you may be correct. I think Lucas brings more length and size than either one of those guys and could potentially be someone who can give you a few minutes. Just more reason that it hurts so badly missing on Tarczewski last year...
A few points.
1. Kansas runs the High-Low is vastly overblown. KU will get into a lot of high-low looks, particularly when we have the right guys to do it, but we also run a ton of other sets and motions in our offense. High-Low is something we like to do but there have been years where we have nearly abandoned it all together for long stretches when it is not working for us. It is not essential to what KU wants to do offensively.
2. I don't see Lucas being a viable High-Low guy anyway as he appears to lack a good soft touch. Having him lob balls into the first row of the grandstand won't exactly improve our offensive efficiency. I don't see him being strong enough to drive elite guys up the lane to create space either. I am not sure he adds this element back into our offense. It makes sense to play high low with Withey and Ellis and do something else with our other guys.
3. I am not sure how Lucas would help with most of those guys. I am not sure I want a traditional center guarding Zeller as he will play away from the basket quite a bit. I am damn sure I don't want a freshman guarding him most of the time. Behind him they run out a bunch of 6'9" guys.
Louisville has Dieng at 6'11" and then two 6'10" guys (one of whom was there last year and played like 4 minutes a game and another who is just picking up the game as an unrated freshman from overseas). They are going to see the bulk of their minutes in the post go to Dieng, Harrel (6'8") and Van Treese (6'9").
Kentucky runs out Noel and Cauley as traditional post players and that is about it. Wiltjer is tall but not a post. Everyone else is 6'7" or less.
Yeah it would have been nice to get Tarc and we would look more like a traditional Kansas team. But lots of teams with far worst post talent than KU is running out there this year have had big seasons and done big things. To say things like "KU always needs a low post presence" to runs its high low offense is just silly. Defensively there will be match up issues at times but those tend to work both ways as well. There are not a ton of teams that are going to run out more than one quality low post scoring threat. They just don't exist in that great of numbers.
One quibble - Wiltjer is a post. He can shoot the 3, but more in the way Raef could shoot a 3. Wiltjer is a fantastic post scorer.
Never saw that aspect to his game. He was always floating around on the outside when I saw him play last year. But you are probably right, I just don't recall seeing it. My main point is that I worry much less about height than I do about overall ability.
In Calipari's system, he had to float because they had Davis and Jones down low a lot.
He was a highly rated recruit because his skills in the post were outstanding.
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