Seth Davis Doesn't Believe In Tempering Expectations

On the basis of three workouts and an exhibition game against the Chinese team, Seth Davis from the U19 trials in Dallas:

"[Darrell] Arthur looked more serious, poised and confident than at any point during his freshman season at Kansas. During 5-on-5 play, Arthur did most of his damage on the block, but he showed impressive shooting range during drills. I expect him to be an All-American next season at Kansas before becoming an NBA lottery pick."

Davis also comments on future Kansas State Wildcat Michael Beasley:

"Though Beasley is strong for his age and has some impressive moves around the basket, his effort level and body language was not very good during the three workouts I watched in Dallas. As evidenced by his play against China, Beasley usually turns on the burners when game time comes, but to succeed in college he will need to develop a more professional approach overall."

and Texas A&M's incoming freshman DeAndre Jordan:

"DeAndre Jordan is listed at 6-10, 215 pounds, but with his wide shoulders and long arms he looks even bigger on the court. He runs the floor well and is a strong finisher, and, in the half-court, he moves with an awkward gracefulness (or a graceful awkwardness, take your pick). He suffers a bit from stone hands and his shooting range is limited at this point. But there was no one in Dallas with more upside than Jordan."

The U19 World Championship begins July 12th in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Jayhawks need to get their "buts" in gear.

I'm generally not a big Seth Davis fan, but his latest Hoop Thoughts hits the nail on the head with regard to the Jayhawks:

This is still a Bill Self-coached group, so you know they play some mean D. ... There is also something to be said for having a variety of different weapons to keep opponents off balance. ... But in order to win an NCAA championship, a team at some point will need a great escape. (Think Danny Ainge, Tyus Edney and Christian Laettner.) When that critical moment comes, be it in the first round or the Final Four, whom will Kansas turn to?

Then he goes through the potential candidates.

Brandon Rush?

...has been shooting pretty well the past month, but the word is out that he is not a good ball handler. That makes him easy to defend in the half-court -- and he knows it. Plus, Rush does not have the mentality to take over a game in a tough spot.

Julian Wright?

a dynamic athlete, but his forte is passing and he does his best scoring in transition, not in the half-court.

Russell Robinson?

mentally tough, but he is averaging just 6.8 points ... and making 41.1 percent of his shots

Mario Chalmers?

has the skills to take over ... but apparently lacks the moxie to demand the ball like [Acie] Law did [on Saturday]

Sherron Collins?

The one player with the skills and the moxie to be a go-to guy ... But it's hard to imagine a freshman taking on that role, even if he is from Chicago.

Out of all of these choices, Chalmers and Collins have the least standing between them and "go-to player" status. They have the skill sets, they just need a little attitude (Chalmers) or experience (Collins). There's been a growing sentiment on this site that Collins needs to be the man with the ball in his hands at the end of the game, and I'm beginning to agree. From the looks of it, I think Seth Davis is as well. (Now if we can just get Bill Self on board...)

A little preseason rankings roundup..

From the LJW today.

Meanwhile, college basketball writer Gary Parrish of, who caught up with KU coach Bill Self and players Russell Robinson and Sasha Kaun at last week's Big 12 Media Day, taps the Jayhawks second nationally behind Florida.

Street and Smith also has Florida ranked No. 1 and KU 2, followed by North Carolina. Athlon has KU, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina reaching the Final Four, with the Tar Heels winning it all for the second time in three years.

Of course, as mentioned three times on Phog Blog last week, the Mercurial Seth Davis conjures us at number 1, both now and 5 months from now. This is the same Seth Davis who in late February still considered K State a bubble team, so you might be building your house on the rhetorical sand if you put too much faith in his prognostications.

Still, a broken clock is right twice a day, so I won't be disparaging him or anyone else anything if I find myself dancing like a madman in Atlanta 5-6 months from now.

Vulnerability in the time of Bill and Roy

UT is a good team, but as Mark pointed out, they are a vulnerable team. This strikes me as an important point and one that I should have considered more. Last year, we were a good team, but we were an extremely vulnerable team, particularly once JR started going cold. Indeed, a lot of Roy's teams were vulnerable - to athleticism, to cold shooting, to slobberknocking fisticuffs. I hadn't considered it before, but Self seems to want to build teams that don't have these vulnerabilities.

Using one primary ballhandler leaves you up a creek if he gets injured or foul prone. Self's solution: have two to three guys who can handle and dish the rock. Not only does this work as a sort of insurance policy, but it also makes it harder for opposing coaches to prepare for you.

Having guards that can penetrate and create offense leaves you much less reliant on warm shooting. Heck, on Monday we shot 1/7 from behind the arc and still won by 15 on the road in Stillwater to a team that owned UT (and by the way, OSU may have played better on offense against UT, but I think you have to give credit to KU's defense for that).

And in slobberknocking fisticuffs we've shown ourselves more than capable of knocking more slobber and cuffing more fists. Want to slow up the game and keep it ugly? Fine. You'll be tired at about the 8 minute mark and we'll run you silly from then on out.

I've been a big Self supporter, but I think that was more a result of my dovish personality towards KU hoops than any keen understanding of exactly what he was doing. But now his vision for the program is coming into focus for me, and I really like what I'm seeing. This Self team is tough, athletic and enthusiastic, and I love it.

And this team is not very vulnerable, at least not in the Williamsian sense. Our key vulnerabilities are probabably intense ball pressure at the guard spots and really hot three point shooting (but for whom is this not true?). I would add cold free throw shooting as well, but we've really excelled at that over the last 8 weeks, so I don't think I can.

I just love where this team is going. I got to watch a lot of college basketball this weekend and I must echo the comments from Jayhawk fans everywhere - when national media folks ignore or denigrate Kansas, they shine a harsh light on their overpaid ignorance. The Seth Davis OU thing was perfect. We'll probably beat OU in the league by 2-3 games and a tiebreaker, and they're the threat?

That's rich. This is the same guy who ELEVEN DAYS AGO called KSU - with UT, CU, OU, TT and KU still left on their schedule - a possible NCAA tournament team.

Seth, bubby! Tell me you don't believe the things you say on TV!

KU is up to 18 in the ESPN/USA Today poll as well.