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What a collapse....but still, for me at least, a great year that about met my expectations. Given what we lost from last year, I'm pleased with the overall season. Our inconsistency at point guard did finally bite us in the arse down the stretch. Trey Burke just was nails at the end. EJ set himself up for a bad night with that idiotic flagrant foul and his TOs at the end cost us the game. That doesn't justify the way he's being crucified right now. As I said, at times I really don't care for our fanbase much.
I'm disappointed. Y'all killed my bracket and lost to the school I hate most.
Well, that clearly puts it in perspective for us. Sorry we killed your bracket, homey.
Johnson was a great Jayhawk player, and I hope he continues to be a part of the KU community. I hate that we eat our own so thoroughly. He had some incredibly boneheaded plays tonight for a senior point guard, including passing to the least talented player on the floor with the game on the line, down two in overtime, but that's no reason to crucify the guy.
The bottom line is that this team hasn't been a ton of fun to watch for about 6-8 weeks now except in small stretches: most of the KSU games at AFH and the Sprint Center, the ISU game at the Sprint Center, the second half of the Carolina game, etc. For the most part, it was a pretty brutal stretch run for us, or at least for me, to watch. We achieved just about everything I thought we would, but I was hopeful we would return to a Final Four. I judge our performance on the entire season, though, and not just the end, so I would say it was a good year. A real choke job to end it, but a good year. I never really thought we could win the entire thing, so I guess this is about where it needed to end.
Not getting the ball accross 1/2 court was pretty much the begining of the end. McLemore didn't take a shot late that I remember. He was covered pretty well on the last play, there was no way they were going to let him take the last shot... Johnson had the best chance to finish but drove too far behind the backboard and threw a bad pass to Tharpe. If Tharpe had been in rythm he might have made the shot... but at that point he really was the only guy open.
Now having said that, I don't like the way we lost, but I'm proud of the team. They did a lot better than anyone gave them a chance to. Unfortunately he's going to be looked at like Langford was for a few years, and then after that most everyone will remember him as a pretty decent Jayhawk.
Live to love, love to live
Yeah, this team pretty much hit its ceiling. We might have eeked out a Final Four run just because college basketball is down right now, but it was pretty remarkable we even won the league. The guard play was spotty, and while Jeff is much improved on offense, we couldn't always reliably score inside either.
We had to win with defense and rebounding, and this game we let down on both in the second half. Basically, this seemed to be payback for the ISU games when we played bad defense but managed to pull them out.
We won the league and the league tournament and 31 games overall without a real post scorer, without a third post PLAYER, and without a point guard. It's not Elijah Johnson's fault that Bill Self (and staff) didn't land a point guard, and if we traded McLemore for a legitimate POINT GUARD, Elijah Johnson is the all Big 12 first team shooting guard, if not conference POY. We won 31 games and get to hang two banners (and got yet another one seed) on grit, defense, guts, and guile. Let's point this out again: we won THIRTY-ONE GAMES! Some perspective is in order.
Not surprisingly, I fully agree with this.
This post was edited by Stormchaserhawk 13 months ago
I agree for the most part. It's weird though because I'm not sure what our PG answer should have been though, even from the recruiting trail. We obviously thought we had Turner locked up, but I'm not sure he would have somehow been substantially less of a headcase playing for KU versus Arizona. What we needed I guess was for LJ Rose to have accepted his early scholarship offer from UNC so that Roy never landed Paige. But does Paige really play more than Tharpe did?
The largest problem is for scoring without a low post threat, you really wanted EJ, McLemore and Releford out there as much as possible. I don't know if the answer should have been to play more small ball with Tharpe as the primary ball handler, but then our offense benefited so much from KY's interior passing and scrappy points.
I guess that's the issue-it's too bad McLemore wasn't a top flight PG instead of SG. The funny thing is, going into this season I thought EJ would make the transition reasonably well and we'd actually take care of the ball better than we had the past few years because EJ would make better decisions than Tyshawn.
And, by the way, it's pretty difficult to lose to higher seeded teams when your seeds are: 1, 2, 1, 1, 3, 1, and 1. No one wins the whole thing every year, so if you don't want to lose to a lower seed, we better start losing some additional regular season games.
The point guard answer (and I'm pretty confident the staff agrees) would have been named Trevor Releford. I think Self agrees that's his biggest recruiting miscalculation at Kansas.
The way I always look at it after tough losses is that no matter how upset I get, how much I yell, or how hurt I am after a game like tonight's I am never going to be near as pissed at Elijah as he is at himself or as hurt by a loss as the players are in that lockerroom. They wanted to win 100x more than I ever could and the loss will stick with them far far longer than it will with me (go look up the Morrii's recent interviews, still a lot of bitternss over that VCU loss).
Thats why (after the initial moment of anger) I won't ever vent my anger on a player on twitter (or elsewhere). It was a tough way to go out but it was a great season. Can't let a bad loss (to the POY no less) taint another Big 12 championship and tourney championship.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by brn0906 13 months ago
I agree. This team has not been one of the more fun KU outfits to watch. They grinded out victories with great defense and enough patchwork offense to get by.
I think next year will be a re-building one -- where will they get post scoring? Will it be Perry who becomes the All-Big 12 performer Kansas needs?
The freshmen will be fine, but will have growing pains. Unless Mason flashes major potential, getting a PG like Tyus Jones and another high quality post player puts Kansas in the hunt for a title in 2 years.
This post was edited by Banky 13 months ago
I thought this years team was great to watch, I think I saw all but maybe one game. 31 wins is incredible for this team. They played great defense, sometimes they scored at will, sometimes they couldn't score at all. I know Withey will be one of my all time favorite Jayhawks, Releford too.
Now it's tme to move on to the next version of the Kansas Jayhawks. Just from an overall talent level I think this next group is going to be the most talented since the 08 team... they will just need some time to put it together. It might be rough at first... I still think we're an elite big man from having all the pieces.
I'm hoping Ellis comes out showing a lot of improvement, he's got good low post moves and good handles for a guy his size... this year we scored primarily in the paint, next year we're going to have to get a lot of scoring from the back court.
This post was edited by Tralfaz 13 months ago
I will be honest - I have a hard time saying anything good about Elijah after that display. That was the dirtiest play I've seen from a Jayhawk that I can remember. I can't bring myself to say I like Elijah after that.
I can stomach poor play, etc. I can't stomach dirty, stupid plays like the one he did. He should have been thrown out.
I do agree with that. What he did was...so wrong. We don't play like that, and we don't win like that. HCBS said that after the game, basically, as well. He should have been ejected.
The more I think about it, the more I wish Elijah had just been ejected. That's just not who we are or aspire to be.
You're right, if we as a fan base are going to critisize anyone for being dirty, be it Cal, Drew, any player than we have to critisize our own for the same thing.
As far as the play goes, I think the most infuriating thing was the weak passes into the post that allowed their big man (his name is escaping me right now) to step around and steal the ball. Lazy soft passes has been a problem with this team all season and one of the reasons we had so many turn overs.
Jonathan Givony from DraftExpress.com tweeted last night that KU failed to let Elijah know he was invited to the Portsmith Invitational until after the acceptance deadline. And that Elijah's dad had to beg for him to get on the alternate's list.
I think the implication is that Elijah had checked out as a result.
I just don't see that happening, really? Elijah was ticked off at KU so he punched McGary (?) in the nuts?
You know, I haven't been to TFS since I watched the game... I recorded it and watched it when I got home...
I just can't force myself to go over there... I can just imagine how bleak it is.
I somehow doubt the validity of this story that said it won't matter. Elijah has no shot at playing pro ball in the states. As far as last night's game, that was one of the poorest performances coupled with a downright dirty play I've seen from a single player. A lot of plays make up a game, good and bad, but it can be strongly argued that Elijah's overall turd of a game almost single handley cost them that game last night.
I stopped by last night to read it while I was drowning my sorrows. With the right perspective, it's really quite humorous.
If any of you have followed Elijah since before he got to KU, then you know he's been....ahh...hard to motivate in his career.
It wouldn't surprise me at all if he just didn't even bother with the invitation.
The team pissed the game away, players and coaches, and that is what is hard to take. Yes, we aren't as talented as we have been. But college basketball is down relative to other years. Given that BMac is the likely #1 pick in the draft shows how down college basketball is. Even if BMac came back and improved his game he wouldn't be in the top 5 in next year's draft. This team this year had a lot of flaws but was certainly good enough to win it.
Sorry to re-animate a thread on a subject that everyone else has moved on from but it took me a few days to collect my thoughts. I largely agree with Bham's thoughts here. I was just appalled and had a bad feeling the whole game unless we put them out because of what EJ did. I have never been more angry with a KU player than I was with him at that moment. Watching the end of the game was strange because it seems like he got what was coming to him...
That being said, while I feel far worse for his teammates that he let down, I do feel for the kid.
I doubt he came into the game saying I am going to nut punch someone. He made a dumbass, bad decision that could have hurt his team. Then his poor play cost his team the game. Regardless of what I think about it I can't imagine having to face my teammates (and friends) after that. Not that he didn't bring it on himself but that had to be awful for him.
A shame to see it end that way for everyone involved.
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