Rock Chalk Talk Roundtable

Actual Photo from the first RCT Roundtable. KC's the ratty looking one on the right.

Ask and you shall receive.  Not too long ago we asked you the people of the RCT community what you might like to see going forward.  Being a community by the people, for the people and of the people...we launch a new feature in The Rock Chalk Talk Roundtable today.

How often, how long, what the questions are and whose involved remains to be worked out.  For today Warden, KC and myself took a stab at 6 questions that have some timeliness to them.  Feel free to give your take on the questions in the comment section and if you have some ideas for improving, go right ahead. 

This edition of the roundtable includes:

  • Xavier Henry. should he go or no and why?
  • Josh Selby and Doron Lamb. How bad does Kansas need one or both to be a success next season? How far can they go without them and what changes with them?
  • Take away Marcus Morris, who's the best player on the team next year?
  • What's your biggest area of concern headed into spring football?
  • Do you think the Jayhawks have hope of addressing that concern?
  • Tournament Expansion...thoughts?

Without further ado...the Rock Chalk Talk Roundtable.

  • Xavier Henry. Take the blinders off, should he go or no and why?

Warden - I'll go first on this one.  After the Northern Iowa game, I was ready to be done with both of the Henry boys.  After thinking on it quite a bit the last two weeks, I wonder if another year would really help Xavier and Kansas. 

I'm having a tough time remembering a time where Xavier really forced himself into the game this year and I can't help but think that wasn't part of trying to fit in with Collins and Aldrich.  Maybe next year he would be the alpha dog and take more control of games.  Is that wishful thinking?

KC - Outta here. If he stays, CJ stays. CJ wasn't exactly a "locker room asset." I won't say cancer, but maybe a cyst. That and the fact that he stands no chance of improving his stock much mean he should go. If he's going to be a lottery pick like most expect, why stay?

Julian Wright was a lottery pick and went. It was the right decision - for both parties. He would have fallen the next year and the team likely, in my opinion, wouldn't have won the title.

Warden- I agree about Xavier's draft stock but if he could come back and show the ability to take over games without relying on his jump shot, it'd be good for Kansas and him.  Just not sure if he has that in him.  Even in the early games when he was lighting it up, the majority of the damage was from 3's.

Denver - I'll say for a variety of reasons he should go.  His head is pretty clearly already there.  Bill Self already gets knocked for not having a one and done.  The chemistry seemed off. 

He can go, get paid to play as he wants to.  Kansas and Bill Self look like a place where the one and done can succeed, and we get to turn the page on what I would call an awkward year. Successful but awkward.

KC - As I am going to bring up in coach Self's report card next week, I think that's Self's fault that a one and done can't succeed at Kansas. He tries to make every player a clone in the mold of his system. See Tyshawn. He's not a combo guard. He's not a 2-guard at all. He's been playing a combo 2-guard position for two year now. HCBS isn't perfect, contrary to what we like to believe sometimes.

Denver - I agree that it may be his fault and it's going to hurt his ability to continue recruiting at that level.  Xavier going now helps that cause.

KC - Helps how? Helps him to keep being stubborn and making every player, no matter how different, into the same?

Denver - Shows "one and doners" that they can come in to Kansas, start, compete and move on to the NBA.  Xavier wasn't quite the cure all we hoped, but that doesn't mean others won't be.  Bill Self let Xavier go for the most part; Xavier just didn't have much "go" to his game at times.

Warden- Xavier didn't show much "go", I'm not convinced he doesn't have it.  My off-season optimism is already kicking in.

KC -
Under the false pretense that he were to be a freshman next year, would you take John Wall next year then?

Denver - YES!! Anyone who says no is lying.

KC - OK, just wanted to make sure.

 

  • Josh Selby and Doron Lamb. How bad does Kansas need one or both to be a success next season? How far can they go without them and what changes with them?

KC -  Not a lot. I don't know much about Lamb. I've seen more of Selby and would obviously prefer Selby because of that. But with Tyshawn being able to run the point specifically next year, I think he will be wildly successful as I've said all year long. He won't have to play the 2-guard anymore and will be able to do what he does - run a team. He averaged only 7 or 9 points a game IN HIGH SCHOOL. He's Russell Robinson 2.0, with a little less defense. But, even that should be improved not playing against bigger 2-guards.

Warden- I don't have a clue about what to expect next year with new freshman or the guys that are freshmen this year. Selby seems like another Taylor, except with more scoring ability.  Lamb's a little bigger, right?  That's the kind of guy that Kansas can use next year because I don't like the idea of both Reed and Morningstar getting big minutes. 

For next year, I'm going to be happy with the team they have right now if Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson perform like we hope they can.  We also can't forget about Withey, though I'll be shocked if he plays more than 20 minutes a game.

KC - I'm contradicting myself in regards to Tyshawn by wanting Selby. Selby would likely play the point a lot. We need a true 2-guard. Combo guards are great, but for Heaven's sake, everybody can't do everything. You can't get your STD cleared up by a pediatrician. Sometimes you need a specialist.

Warden- Seems like Lamb is that guy but from what I've read, he has Kentucky written all over him.  Anybody read anything that contradicts that?

KC - Basically, Kentucky is going to sign recruits 1-9 nationally this year. We and the rest of the country get to fight for the rest. If Calipari wants him, he will get him. Look at all the minutes (coughand$$$cough) that he has to offer him right now.

 

  • Take away Marcus Morris, who's the best player on the team next year? Why?

KC - That's tough. Really tough. Most will probably say Thomas Robinson or maybe even Markieff. I'll take a wild card and elect Tyshawn. I'm big on him, I guess. As stated already, I just think he's going to be donkey nuts as a true point guard.

Denver - You really think many would say Thomas Robinson?  What are we basing that on?  Markieff would seem far more likely based on experience and what he's shown on the court. Robinson might be the most improved, but the Morri will be the duo that defines this team.

KC - I think a lot of people are going to expect a Marcus-like improvement from Thomas from this year to next - fair or unfair? That's a statement and a question, by the way.

Denver - It's unfair.  We didn't expect it from Marcus, going back a year further we didn't expect the improvement from Cole.  When you get it, it's a great thing and helps the team tremendously, but I would never expect it.  For every Marcus, you have a Tyshawn.

Warden- Tyshawn Taylor?  Me and KC may be the only ones that are predicting a great season from him due to moving to point full time.  His ability to get to the basket and find teammates should work out great for MorningReed and the Morri.  We're going to have to deal with a few turnovers but that won't be something we haven't seen the last two years.

KC - We shall make "Tyshawn The Great (PG)" t-shirts, Warden.

Denver - I'm hopeful that we'll see Tyshawn hit that level, but not overly optimistic.  It's the mental side of things where he seems to struggle and it's hard to say when the light turns on.

KC - In my opinion, Tyshawn struggles in those "mental" situations because he's out of position. He's unsure of what he's to do because, as I've said, he is a point guard.

 

  • Switching gears to football, what's your biggest area of concern headed into spring ball?

KC - Everybody's going to say linebacker, and for good reason, so once again, I'll go the next likeliest, which is quarterback for me. I know Kale Pick played some last year, but he really did little. It looks like he'll probably be the starter, so I'll address him.

We saw what happened last year when a quarterback (an all-time great, at that) struggled. And, he wasn't even THAT bad. Todd's numbers were fairly on line with those of his junior year. It'll be interesting to see, though, how the coaches defer some of that pressure of breaking in a new starter at quarterback by using the run or different formations we're not used to.

Denver - For whatever reason I'm just not horribly concerned with the QB.  At LB I think Springer and Richardson are looking good in spring ball so far.  Combine that with a perceived strength at defensive tackle and I think we can hide some of the problems at LB. 

I'm going end, defensive end.  If we don't get a pass rush it won't matter what we have elsewhere because you can't cover or defend in open space forever.

Warden-  Umm...offensive line?  To be honest, I'm still in the dark on a lot things concerning Kansas football.  Seems like Gill wants to run the ball and I'm fairly confident in the guys in the backfield from what I saw last season, can they line create holes for them?

Denver - Wake UP Warden...we're a football school!!

Warden- Give me a chance, I'm still warming up to the "football school" stuff.  Take it easy on me Labba.

KC - Defensive end was my second choice. We have a lot of numbers there, but how much of it is real talent?

Denver - We don't even have numbers there.  We're playing quite a few "tweeners" after Young, Laptad and Woods.

 

  • Do you think the Jayhawks have hope of addressing that concern?

KC - I do. Like I said, the interesting thing will be to see how the coaches "mask" the perceived weakness at quarterback and come up with ways to help shoulder the load. I'd REALLY love to see some sort of an option attack, assuming the offensive line can grasp that and make it work.

Denver - That's the biggest reason I feel good about QB is exactly the reason you eluded to.  I think we have plenty of options offensively to help balance things out and take the pressure off.

KC - Perhaps then I'll go with your answer of defensive end. What's our four-deep look like there?

Denver - Four deep at d-end?  Right now I believe Young, Woods and Laptad are our three prototypical ends.  Travis Stephens is getting reps, as is Tyrone Sellers...both are a bit on the tweener side of things as I mentioned.

KC - So, assuming Woods and Laptad start the season as starters, who's the second string guys? Young and Stephens? I don't feel terrible about that.

Denver - It's just relying on several unknowns in an area where we haven't recruited or developed talent consistently for several years.  I'm cautiously optimistic about the ends because I like those guys, but I'm far from confident.

 

  • Tournament expansion...thoughts?

Warden- Besides hating the idea of bringing in more mediocre teams, I really, really HATE what was discussed last week by the NCAA.  Ignoring the point made by John Feinstein about the players missing class for a week (it's not like these guys are in a lot of class in March now), how about playing the round of 32 on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Then still starting the Sweet 16 at a different site on Thursday and Friday!  How idiotic is that? 

Take this year's Kansas team on that schedule, a game on Saturday and Tuesday in Oklahoma City.  Then they'd have to go straight to St. Louis for a game on Thursday?  How is that not a terrible idea?  The only reason to squeeze those games in between the first weekend and the second weekend is because they're scared of screwing with conference tournaments.  We know it's all about money and they don't want to give up conference tournament money, so they're cramming it into the existing schedule.

KC - That's not the only idiotic part of that plan, the first day that we all love now...will feature #9 vs #24 and #16 vs #17!  How many people are going to skip out of work on Thursday or Friday to watch those games?  Not very many, especially when those games aren't likely to be included in most bracket pools. 

They're going to expand, fine.  Throw those games on Tuesday and Wednesday of the first week and keep everything else as is.  But no, they're going to screw with everything in the first week.  No way they can f*** it up that bad, can they?   /soapbox

Denver - I'm going with retraction.  Against all odds, the tourney should retract and give the best teams the chance to play.  I convinced myself this morning.

KC - If Butler in the championship game isn't enough argument against adding teams, I don't know what is. Make a potential Cinderella team that could make a run play another game and possibly lose because of it and you're just going to get more 1's and 2's in the Final Four all the time. Then again, that means more Kansas. Regardless, it's a terrible idea.

Denver - Butler is a five seed! Hardly a Cinderella.  Kansas in '88 was more of a long shot than Butler.  Plus I'm ok with more 1's and 2's in the Final Four.  I like the round one, first weekend upsets...but at the end of the day, I want to see great games from the sweet 16 on.

KC - I know Butler is a 5-seed. What about George Mason? They were what, a 12? Make them play seven games instead of six and they could be gone in the first-first round. I just think it's a terrible idea to mess with someone that's so great already.

Denver - George Mason was a fluke.  A five seed making the title game...not a fluke.

KC - Call it a fluke, but it happened. And, it was a good argument against expanding. Why would you expand? Because you think you can make it better, right? How much better can you really make it? You want more teams to have a chance to win it? Having runs like George Mason or Butler to the Final Four or title game shows that there's already enough damn teams that can win it all.

Warden- Don't forget Butler was a preseason 10/11 in both major polls.  Would we be shocked at any other preseason 10/11 being in the Championship game?

KC - If say, Duke were a 10/11 preseason, no. If it's Ohio State, no. But, if it's a considered "mid-major," then yes.

Denver - Then why are they ranked 10/11? Because it's cute? If they aren't that good and they are going to be such a Cinderella...then rank them accordingly. 

KC - If I had told you at the beginning of the season that Butler was going to be in the national title game, would you have believed me?

Denver - I'd have thought you were a little crazy at first.  Then I would have looked at Butler, said hey these guys are ranked pretty high.  Not unbelievable to say they could play for a title.  They're basically the Gonzaga of the Midwest.  I've believed Gonzaga could make it several times in the past.

KC - Then the system works. Realistically, how many teams going into the tournament have a chance to win it all? 10 or so? Less in some years, more in others. Butler was an exception to that rule, obviously, but what are adding another 31 teams going to do? Those 31 teams have little to less than no chance to win it all? Why waste the time and money putting them in? Because it's cute?

Denver - Are we arguing the same damn thing?

KC - ...I think so. I just wanted to be seen as the victor.

Warden- Expansion's happening.  Now it's our job to advocate for them not screwing it as they described last week.

 

 

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