Despite coming out of yesterday victorious, Kansas basketball head coach Bill Self was not pleased with his squad’s performance.
Bill Self has never been the type of coach to toot his team’s horn, but he was especially upset with the lackadaisical effort from Kansas basketball in its 73-55 exhibition victory over Division II Fort Hays State.
In the final scrimmage before the regular season begins on Nov. 6 against NC Central, KU continued its struggles from beyond the arc and played a sloppy game throughout the 40 minutes. They also fell to Illinois in Champaign on Sunday, 82-75. Although they didn’t count, KU hasn’t lived up to its title as the No. 1 team in the country in its first couple of showings.
Coach Self shares that sentiment.
“No, we’re not ready,” he responded regarding whether Kansas basketball is ready for a real game. “We’ll be better. But our energy, we played tired. Our energy, adrenaline levels, I think need to pick up in a big way. I think we’re tired right now. I think the Illinois deal, playing those guys that many minutes, which wasn’t smart in hindsight, and then practicing yesterday and playing today. I think we look like a tired team”
“We’ll take tomorrow off and then we’ll get three days to practice before obviously we open up on Monday,” Self continued. “But it’s here. And so, we got a lot of stuff we still got to get in. It’s going to be tight to get stuff in we need to get in before we play.”
“But the biggest thing with us, I would just like to see a little bit more energy. We’re not athletic enough not to play with great energy. The thing about what great energy allows good athletes to look great, or great athletes to look exceptional. But when you don’t play with energy and you’re not naturally as gifted athletically, you can look slow and I thought tonight we looked like we were playing in slow motion.”
Bill Self was also asked about his group’s poor 3-point shooting numbers across the two scrimmages. They shot just 3-of-12 from long range against Illinois and 6-of-28 yesterday. Additionally, only three of those makes have come from a player not named Kevin McCullar.
“If we don’t shoot it well, then we better make sure that our man doesn’t score easily. And that’s where we have to become because you can still have a terrific team and not make a lot of shots. But we can play inside out and we can do some different things. But you can’t not guard your man if you’re not, you know, producing, at least in some way, shape or form.”
Another topic he discussed was the fifth and final starting spot, which was assumed to be won over by Elmarko Jackson. However, neither he nor Nick Timberlake have done enough to prove they deserve to be a mainstay in the lineup.
“…It would be nice if Elmarko’s ready for that. But Elmarko is thinking so much he can’t play, he’s paralyzed. So he’s thinking so much and so you throw him to be the point guard and everything would probably make him and at least in his mind, need to think more.”
Kansas basketball still has plenty of work to do, and its first real test will come against Kentucky in the Champions Classic on Nov. 14.