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So Tharpe has a 22-0 assist to turnover ratio in the last 4 games. Where do we think he goes from here in his development?
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I think he transfers
Live to love, love to live
I worry about his D. It looks like he is finally becoming the shooter Self has claimed he is, and he appears to able to run an offense the last few weeks. But I have no confidence in him guarding a Marcus Smart, Myck Kabongo, Pierre Jackson, etc. He did well tonight guarding that #2 for American who was his size and had inferior athleticism. But unfortunately most of the opponents the rest of the way will have bigger and more athletic guards.
Me, too. Craft drove on him at will. But a nonscoring PG with nonscoring teammates made that a nonfactor. Travis and good switching took OSU's only threat out of Craft's choices.
We can do something to compensate with many teams. Pretty sure Releford will guard Pierre Jackson, with EJ or BMac on Heslip. Most importantly, Tharpe has greatly improved in the area of playing on. He doesn't follow a bad play on D with boneheaded play on O. He has settled into his strengths, which makes his weakness (lateral movement on D) much less of a concern, overall. Just when I thought his audition was ending, he stepped up against good competition and got his head on straight. He'll be a plus in most games - scoring, dishing, and letting EJ play some 2. He'll be good enough the other games.
I told you all I kind of liked his offensive game early on this year. Kid was raw but had some talent. We have enough other defensive talent we can hide him there as well. Second ball handler was by far our biggest need on this team after the first few games. The defense we can cover for by shifting people around. So few teams have 3 high level guards that can score. Many just have one.
At least Tharpe appears serviceable enough now that we can scrap the Kevin Young PG Experiment.
I think that was a brilliant motivational ploy by Self.
It was brilliant motivation for everyone it seems. Since that shenanigans about Young at point guard broke, Tharpe has improved his ball handling, Young has improved his ball handling, Releford has improved his ball handling, and heck, even WITHEY has improved his ball handling. Self is a freaking genius.
Tharpe's development from here will be interesting. It appears as thoug he's going to fit extremely well into what this team needs - a competent backup point guard who can shoot a little and isn't a walking turnover when he comes in - without being a liability defensively because he can guard the weakest small AND has Withey in the paint to erase a lot of mistakes (Craft wouldn't even attempt shots against Withey most of that game). After this year, however, I wonder how well he will fit into the rotation without a drastic improvement defensively. One of the reasons I think Frank Mason is going to play early and often next year is because he's far ahead of almost any freshmen defensively, and he's fairly comfortably ahead of Tharpe and Adams in his defensive intensity and ability, particularly on the ball. Tharpe's inability to guard the ball is going to become a problem for him without a serious shotblocker next year in my opinion.
I think I somehow missed the Young as point guard shenanigans.
On Mason, I worry we're building him up too much. He'll still be a freshman, and a freshman that while "underrated" is still borderline top 100. Tharpe, for all his limits, will have 2 years of D-1 play under his belt.
If Tharpe continues his development like he has there is no reason to believe he's not the starting pg at the beginning of next year. His defense and strength will continue to get better and a junior Tharpe will play over a true freshman Mason if I had to bet right now. It's not like Mason is this unbelievable get. He has holes too or he wouldn't be a fringe top 100 guy. He's actually ranked about how Tharpe was. Now as the season goes will see but experience at PG when the rest of the team is young will be important.
I think it was between the Oregon State and Colorado games when Self said they were getting so desperate for a backup point guard to be productive at all that they were running Young at the point in practice.
I worry a little that we are giving Mason more run than almost anyone else, but I also think we've backed it up with a lot of eyes who've actually seen him play. Also remember that, while he'll be a freshman, he's playing at a prep school right now, which puts him in the 2012 class agewise (and he originally committed to Towson as part of the 2012 class), so he's the same age as Adams and a year behind Tharpe in that regard.
Finally, I'm really growing tired of the "he's not even top 100" or "he was a top 10 recruit" stuff. Not all classes are the same, and comparing kids across classes based on ranking relative to guys in their class is just silly. The 2012 class was extremely weak, especially but not only at the top. The 2013 class is a monster class, and again, not just at the very top. But for comparison's sake, Ryan and I were chatting last night and basically concluded that at the very least, the Harrison twins, Wiggins, Randle, and Parker are each better than the top if the 2012 class. That doesn't even include Aaron Gordon, James Young, or Kasey Hill (a better player than prospect at this point) any of whom might also have been the top player in the 2012 class, or the fact that Noel reclassified (Wiggins was 2013, switched to 2014, and then switched back to 2013, while Noel was always 2013 until Kentucky convinced him otherwise). Kyle freaking Anderson is a slow, 6-6 forward who can't dunk and was 3rd in 2012. Just remember that when we talk about rankings, comparing 82nd in one class to 82nd in another doesn't mean much.
I agree that it looks right now like Tharpe would start next year. The difference in their rankings, not even considering the relative strengths of the 2011 class to the 2013 class, is that Mason is trending way up on boards, while Tharpe was falling pretty fast at this point in his last year.
I think you're undervaluing rankings. Of course 82 v. 83 doesn't matter and 82 one year is different than 82 the next, but when you look at tiers they're quite valuable. Mason could be a smashing success, but to expect him to come in and be a major contributor as a freshman, while it would be great, would be the exception.
I really think at this point Tharpe will be starting and he'll be backed up by Frankcamp.
The problem with next season is we're not going to see te kind of defense we're used to. No matter how much talent the incoming freshmen will be bringing in they're not ging to play defense anywhere near the level of this years team, or last years team, or the year before...
Coach will get next year group of guy to play defense
This ^^^ Some on here are expecting too much from Mason from the get go. I hope he's the hidden gem of the class, but expecting it will set you up for disappointment.
I'm probably just as guilty as anyone of pushing the expectations for Mason, but let's also remember that Tyshawn Taylor was rated in the 80s, entered with a similarly stacked class (though with almost no wings / guards), and joined a team that lost all five starters. Mason doesn't have to be better than the Harrison twins to see a lot of minutes at KU next year - he only has to be better than Adams to be in the rotation (and I'm quite certain he is), and he only has to be better than Tharpe to be in serious contention to start (and until two weeks ago, people were ready to run Tharpe out of the program). All evidence points to Mason exceeding the expectations of a typical 82nd ranked player, just like all evidence pointed to Ellis falling short of the expectations of a typical 25th ranked one.
Sounds like the argument that the NCAA makes for the RPI. My question back to you is how do you cutoff the tiers? The 82nd ranked player in the 2013 class could easily have been ten spots higher in 2012, just like Perry Ellis would be easily ten spots lower in 2013 than he was in 2012. Rankings absolutely have value, but cutting off the tiers is tricky at best.
Also, there are always guys who are misevaluated for myriad reasons. Gordon Hayward was completely missed by the experts because he never played AAU. Zach Peters was originally number one in his class, in large part because he's a year older (could have been 2011) and was competing down a level. Sometimes an evaluator sees a guy when he plays really well and never sees him when he's bad. It's a lot of guesswork on all levels, really.
Yeah, but the reason people were ready to run Tharpe out is that they are generally ill-informed fans who don't take a very long view to things.
The kid was basically playing in his first 10 games ever at KU this year, at least in any meaningful role. A little time to see how he developed was in order I think. What I will never get about KU fans is the players they elect to attack early on and the guys they will defend to the death. It was largely the same way with the Twins as freshman. Back on TFS I was given a ton of crap for saying after their Freshman year that the Morris twins would be better post players than Kaun and Jackson were for us. Then you would have a legion of KU fans who would defend to the death the contribution of Brady Morningstar and Christian Moody. There seems to be a strange dichotomy with KU fans. If a kid does not contribute right away then he is a bust and will transfer/be replaced. On the other side if a guy has a very limited skill set that is utilized from day 1 by the coach they tend to get built up beyond what they really are.
If I have learned anything under Self it is that players develop. It is not Scott Drew on that bench. Generally players with some skills (Tharpe has speed, shooting ability and really pretty good court vision) will get broken down, particularly if the team can make due without them on the floor for a while, to where they look like total crap and then be built back up. I think that on a lot of teams it would have been easy to just turn Tharpe loose and let him run up and down the floor where he would make some plays and look like crap on others. He was forced into a half court game and forced to be the stabilizing influence KU needed before he could get minutes. Now we are just starting to see some of his natural talents surface within the larger system.
The kid has some natural point guard abilities for KU and given the shooters KU will have next year that will be very important.
The big problem with Tharpe has always been that he's not a real PG. He's a shoot-first kid that has always played best in a ball-dominant way. He's turning into a serviceable backup, but I don't think he'll ever be consistent enough to run the team full time. His instincts are almost always for him to shoot before anything else, and I'm just not convinced yet that it will go away over time.
That being said, I think he's an ideal change-of-pace off the bench and it's working well in this dynamic because it allows Elijah to slide off the ball for an extended period of time.
I think one of the issues working against Tharpe is that while he's a good player, he's not good enough to be the type of player he is every game at Kansas. Tyshawn could get away with not being a real PG because he was such a phenomenal talent - Tharpe is not a phenomenal talent.
I think one of the reasons it's not ludicrous to expect Mason to play early and often is that he's exactly what Self's looking for in a PG - an athletic, tenacious defender that is a leader on the floor and a true PG. Next year, there's going to be more value in that for Self (I expect) than in having a shoot-first guard dominate the ball as a starter. The problem, then, is that Tharpe doesn't function well at all as an off-ball player - he has to play as a ballhandler working off pick\roll.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that a few too many fans get caught up in the numbers and the highlight videos and don't ask themselves how the rest of the team is going to fit together. What pieces does Self ideally want to have, and which players fit those roles the best? Next year is essentially going to be tabla rasa. Self can pick and choose who plays, because there will be almost no seniority. Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor certainly aren't warranting guaranteed playing time, and Tharpe has been discussed above. The only guarantee is that Julius Randle, should he choose KU, starts immediately. Personally, I think Conner Frankamp and Brannen Greene will play a bit earlier and more often than Selden does, but that's more educated guess than anything at this point (as is all of our speculation, really).
I do disagree that he won't be able to be shaped into someone who fits within the offense much better. I watch the kid pretty closely and it is apparent that his decision making and shot selection is already changed dramatically from the beginning of the year. In particular there was one play in the latest game where he had a semi-open three that would have gone up a few weeks ago, then he had a fairly open runner he would have taken a few weeks ago. Instead it ended with him making a pass for an easy bucket.
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