Quick Takes: The concern for KU Hoops

The Jayhawks are one player shy from hitting their ceiling

In this Hearings newsletter:

  1. Quick Takes: KU-Kentucky

  2. Bill Self quotes that stood out

  3. Links from the Jayhawks’ win

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Quick Takes: KU-Kentucky

Before the takes, I really wanted to share this... 2008 National Champion Darnell Jackson joined the Could Be Wrong show last night. We hit on the expected topics like KU-Kentucky, Bill Self, Hunter Dickinson, Dajuan Harris, the famous Henry T’s meeting, and the 2008 Championship.

But then we went further into some of the triumphs and trauma in his life, captured in his book “Behind The Smile.” I just can’t believe how raw, open, and impactful Jackson was with us. I was emotional hearing it.

KU fans: I’m confident this isn’t gonna be like any other KU player biography you’ve read before. Please consider giving the podcast a listen and the book a read.

Onto the game: Quick Takes!

  • The two-guard spot for Kansas is a real concern. Elmarko Jackson will certainly improve, but he wasn’t ready last night. Nick Timberlake wasn’t there, either. While Johnny Furphy is gonna make an impact this year, I’m not sure if he’s a true guard to play alongside Dajuan Harris.

    • A shooter would help, but the Jayhawks will take someone they can trust to rebound and defend consistently. The player who can check those boxes is likely to get more playing time moving forward.

      • Freshman Jamari McDowell could be an answer. Bill Self took a risk by playing him late and it paid off, as the guard’s length and athleticism contributed to some critical defensive stands late.

      • I’ve Heard for sometime that McDowell was better than KU expected when he got here, but that he’d still look like a raw freshman at times. The Jayhawks needed his athleticism and length last night.

  • Kansas must space the floor better. Otherwise, any team with athleticism will cause headaches. Shooting is the easiest fix. Harris playing more aggressively like we saw in the second half is a good way to start.

    • The spacing issues led to some poor entry passes into the post. It’ll be fun to see that improve here in the next few games. I expect it’ll happen quickly.

  • Ultimately, most of these issues come down to depth and trust. There’s a reason KU is trying to add another player at the semester mark.

  • While the above takes focused on concerns, it’s because this roster is so close to perfect.

  • Once KU slowed it down and got things under control, it showed some borderline unstoppable offense. That’s a really good sign for the future. If one more guard steps up, the Jayhawks may just be as good as advertised.

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Bill Self Quotes that Stood Out

On Hunter Dickinson:

“[Hunter] didn't get as many opportunities I don't think at the basket that we wanted to get him… But he's a good player, man. He rebounded the ball better. He's a terrific passer. What he does, I mean, whether -- he's not a villain, but what he does is he takes pressure off everybody else by having everybody else focused on him.”

“Let's call it like it is, he catches some crap. Sometimes with good reason and many times with not. He catches some crap, but one thing he does, he doesn't run from it ever. So I think guys like that give teams confidence.”

On KJ Adams and Spacing:

KJ was great. It was a make shift lineup we're trying to play Hunter on one of their perimeter players and put KJ on the switch 4. It actually worked good, except we never switched up and they shot the ball behind the handoffs or whatnot or too many straight line drives. But I thought KJ was great. Other than his missing free throw, I thought he was terrific. 

You guys watched us play tonight. The court looked pretty crowded a lot of times. I think one thing that has to happen we got to have some guys make some shots. We made 'em the first two games, but it was a little different competition and different setting, obviously. I think that the thing that [KJ] can do in his own way is become a better short role guy and play Hunter away from the basket, things like that. So we got to figure out how to play him like we played him last year with Hunter in the game. I think that's a big key for us.”

On Dajuan Harris:

“He was the best player in the game down the stretch without question.”

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