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Rock Chalk Talk Roundtable 4.21.10

Bensa Creeps up on the Roundtable.  In his first appearance the "RCT Roundtablers" force Bensa to sit in on a small stool in the corner as part of a hazing exercise.  After today though, he's paid his dues.
Bensa Creeps up on the Roundtable. In his first appearance the "RCT Roundtablers" force Bensa to sit in on a small stool in the corner as part of a hazing exercise. After today though, he's paid his dues.

The roundtable returns for round 2 of what will surely be many thought provoking sessions to come, but this time with a twist.  As part of the roundtable series going forward we will often extend an invitation to a member of this esteemed RCT community and get you the reader involved.

Today joining us is the one and only Bensa.  Seeing as it was Bensa who secured the commitment of Josh Selby this past weekend, it seemed appropriate that he should join in the discussion.

This week on the roundtable:

  • What does adding Selby do to the guard rotation in 2010-11?
  • With the possible addition of Terrance Jones, does Bill Self run the risk of gathering too many pieces?
  • What is the scariest game on the 2010 KU football schedule?
  • Super-conference separate from the NCAA...where do you stand?
  • What's your way-too-early prediction on KU's basketball team next season (Record, Big XII regular season finish, NCAA Tournament finish)?
  • What's your favorite time-waster between the KU basketball season and the KU football season?

Throw in your two cents, discuss and ponder. 

Also don't forget that Zach Peters is announcing his college choice today.  I expect we'll have something to talk about here at RCT around 2:40pm CST.  The rest of the week we have Kansas football player draft talk, spring game visitor summaries and spring game preview and a wrapup from one of our guys who will be on the ground in Lawrence.

Rock Chalk Roundtable

  • What does adding Selby do to the guard rotation in 2010-11? 

Denver - Can I don't know be an answer?  In all seriousness the guy is an athletic, game changing type scorer.  He creates, he pushes the tempo and I think he's going to be a big time asset.  With a player of his caliber and style I think Tyshawn can take a step in the right direction as our team just went from athletic to VERY athletic.  I guess if it were up to me I'd like to see Selby, Tyshawn, EJ...(checking notes because this team is so deep)...Tyrel at the guards.  I really think Tyrel needs to be getting more of Brady's minutes and maybe Tyrady Morningreed could just be one person anyway.  Regardless, I LOVE the ridiculous speed we bring to the table with the first three.

Warden - Guys that will be competing for the same minutes include Taylor, Johnson, Selby, CJ Henry, Reed, and I missing anyone?  With only 80 minutes for those six guys, a few aren't going to see a whole lot of time.  Elijah Johnson is a huge question mark at this point in time, we just don't know what he's capable of doing on the court.  Another part of this concerns Morningstar and Reed, can they really lose a lot of minutes when KU's losing 30 mpg with Sherron?  

Denver - I just have to feel like EJ, a 5*, #24 ranked player in his class, isn't going to ride the pine another year.  He simply ended up that way because of Sherron and because he was a freshman.  He'll break into the lineup.  CJ could end up the odd man out and Tyrady ends up sharing spot minutes between the two.  If not...EJ and one of the Tryady twosome switches roles. Either way I think the rotation ends up at five guards with Selby and Tyshawn seeing the most minutes.  Then a tossup between the other three.

Bensa -
I'll take another view on the rotation here.  I think Selby starts from day one, no questions asked.  He's that good, in my opinion.  Better size than Sherron, but a better shooter than Taylor.  I think the competition is going to be between Taylor and EJ to start alongside Selby.  We all know HCBS doesn't really peg his guards as a "1" or "2," so he's going to put the best players possible on the floor.  I think EJ can give Taylor a run for his money, especially with a good summer working on his game.  I'm not as high on Taylor as a few people on this site are, and I don't begrudge them that at all.  I think Reed and Morningstar's minutes (Morningstar's more than Reed's) have to decrease significantly for this team to be as good as I think it will be.  CJ, unfortunately, will likely get left out of the mix, but we'll see.  I see CJ as a kind of Jeremy Case-type player, but who knows?

KC -
I hate being the Debbie Downer, but I think this is the worst possible thing for Tyshawn (and subsequently the team, once again). I was super excited for him to blossom without Sherron, but now I'm just fearful of another year like this year from him. I won't harp on it more than I have already, so I'll leave it at that.


  • With the possible addition of Terrance Jones, does Bill Self run the risk of gathering too many pieces?

Denver -
That's a risk you have to be willing to take as a big time program.  We've discussed whether Xavier was the right move or not, but imagine if Coach Self had said last year something like this..."We have so much talent, I think we're going to pass on Xavier."  Jayhawk fans would have gone nuts.  Self has done a nice job assembling talent.  He has three and four year players in the system and he's also inserting the top talent he can find when it's available.  Doing it in the late signing period is a great time because you can assess the needs, departures and what you have coming back.  He may gather too many, it's just his job to not let on to it to the rest of us.

Warden - It scares me for two reasons.  First, I'm not convinced freshman are going to win Championships.  Carmelo pulled it off, who else?  Second, dealing with top level guys that keep getting pushed behind the next incoming group will eventually rub a few guys the wrong way.  Not all recruits can handle doing what T-Rob, EJ, and Withey went through this year.  It's rare to have guys like Little and Releford take redshirts like they did this year.  That's all without mentioning the chemistry side of things.

Denver - Freshman alone are not likely to win championships, I'll agree with that.  Freshman as a piece to the puzzle can certainly do it.  That's the difference between what coach Calipari has done and what others have done.  Cal is all about building around star Freshman.  Self is trying to blend 3 and 4 year players with a spark from a freshman. 

Bensa -
I may regret saying this depending on what happens, but I could take or leave Jones right now.  Would another 5-star recruit look good on the top-10 recruiting class lists?  Sure.  You have to balance, though, whether having yet another possible one-and-done player is worth forcing you to sit a couple of more experienced players who may not have quite the game of Jones, but who've been in the system for a couple years now and are able to move the team forward more quickly in practices, etc.  That said, if Jones calls HCBS tomorrow and says he wants to come to Kansas, HCBS would be a fool to turn him down.  We've got the scholarship available, so why not take the kid, right?  I'm up in the air on this.  I think next year this is McMorris's team, hands down.  He should be the focus, and the rest of the pieces should feed off him.  Adding Jones may hamper that goal.

Denver - I'll say it again...Do you REALLY tell a top 15 recruit no?

- That's the toughest part of this.  If I'm HCBS, I don't push too hard for Jones, but if he really wants to come play with Selby, et. al., the door's open and the scholarship's available.  At some point, though, we need to distinguish ourselves as not Kentucky in that we have some semblance of continuity from season to season.  Too big an influx of talent could prove more trouble than it may be worth, if guys that were expecting minutes don't end up getting them because another OAD kid stops over in Lawrence for a season.  I'm not anti-Jones or anti-OAD, I just think you have to be careful to cultivate and grow your current roster so you have some consistency with your program.  Schools like Kansas and Kentucky don't get to rebuild over long periods of time.  You get one year maximum, and even that can be difficult (see North Carolina, 2009-10).  I just think there's more that goes into it than just taking on another top-15 recruit.

Warden - Such a tough question to answer...doesn't continuity (like Bensa is talking about) count for something?  Think about 2008, this year's final two teams, Michigan State always being there...

KC - Didn't we just make this mistake 12 months ago? Did we not learn?

Denver - Only if you consider Xavier Henry a mistake. I do not, he wasn't the reason we lost.

Warden - Have to agree with Denver here.  Xavier wasn't a mistake.  However, adding another piece like Jones could have some unintended negative consequences.

  • What is the scariest game on the 2010 KU football schedule?

Denver -
Georgia Tech.  I think that game has the potential to swing the season one way or the other.  A win and the fans get excited, the players gain some confidence and we move forward.  A loss and questions start creeping in.  No matter how much of a honeymoon Turner Gill receives, those thoughts will creep in to any Kansas fan who has been through a coaching change before.

Warden - The whole month of October scares me.  Maybe not scary in the sense that Georgia Tech is scary but in the sense that 0-4 is a possibility for that month.  Going to Baylor, then KSU and A&M at home, and then finishing the month at Iowa State.  None of those four teams are world beaters but they will likely be similar to Kansas in ability next year.  Do you know how uneasy/apathetic the fanbase would be following that?  I'm hoping for a couple of wins out of it to keep the energy alive. 

Denver - We could also win all four of those games.  Then things are looking up.

Warden - Definitely could win those games and build some huge momentum for the program. 

Bensa - Here, I'm a bit out of my element, as many RCT regulars know.  I'll go ahead and second what Denver said, just because if we get crushed against GT, people might bail on the season.  I do have to say I like seeing GT on the schedule a heckuva lot more than I liked seeing Duke as the lone BCS non-conference opponent.

Denver - +1 to that.  It'll be an exciting weekend in Lawrence in September with GT coming to town.

Bensa - I think the biggest question I have is whether we'll be able to compete for a Big XII North title next season, the 2nd of the "easier" conference schedules (no Texas or Oklahoma on the schedule).  Next season we'll have the same schedule we had during the 2008 Orange Bowl run, and if Gill can get this train rolling, could we see a similar end to next season?  Maybe it's too soon...just throwing it out there.

Denver - I'll say it's too soon.  The defense would have to surprise the hell out of me.  I do think we'll be better than the bottom, which is where many are picking us, but to go for the North title...I'm skeptical.

Bensa - Let me clarify, I don't mean the 2010 season, I mean the 2011 season.  I'm not expecting much this season (I think 5-7 or 6-6 would be quite the accomplishment), but the following season we get the same easier schedule and that's where I think HCTG might make some serious hay.

Denver - It's possible.  Most of the really talented classes that Mangino brought in would be Juniors/Seniors.  If we find a suitable QB replacement and can manage to develop some LB's and DE's it's definitely possible to compete for the North.  The Tigers continue to look built for the long haul though so that will be a challenge.

KC - Just to be different, I'll say Baylor. Robery Griffin will be back and he'll have a field day against our front seven when they can't pressure him and he has all day to run around. Eek.

  • Super-conference separate from the NCAA...where do you stand?

Denver - Personally, I love it.  I think it's one step closer to the reality of college athletics and that's the fact that these guys are going to school to become professional athletes.  It's not about being student athletes anymore at the top level.  You are preparing yourself for a future pro career.  Now granted not everyone is cut out for that so obviously these guys will also be receiving a free education, but it still puts the best of the best on an elite level competing with the absolute best and preparing for their shot at getting paid.

Bensa - I'm not convinced it's a particularly good thing.  The fact of the matter is that, even though a bunch of players from BCS-type schools leave to go to the NBA every year, the vast majority do not and actually do go to school to get an education, so anything that further detracts from those players' ability to do that is not a good thing, in my mind.  That said, if the NCAA keeps doing things to upset its marquee members, what else can those members do to maximize their influence?  It's a tough market out there for revenue, and every school thinks it deserves a bigger slice of the pie.  If the 73 or so schools that make up the BCS conferences think they can do better by leaving the NCAA and forming their own super-league association, I don't think there's any compelling reason for them not to do so.

Warden - It comes down to revenue, I guess.  The schools all think they need more money for fancier facilities to impress recruits and boosters.  Maybe it's a slippery slope and I know amateurism is already dead (at least in big time D1) but I just wonder what would separate these institutions from the professional leagues in this instance? 

Bensa - In one sense, it's no different from the difference between D-II and D-I, I guess.  I suppose you can say it's a step closer to "professional" athletics, but they're still not paying the players, so the only real difference would be (presumably) the amount of money the schools are getting.  I don't know, really.  I like the NCAA, but I can't stand what they're doing to the tournament, so maybe if the big conferences threaten to leave, the NCAA will change the way they're doing things to keep their cash cows happy.

Warden - Good point about the NCAA already reaching for more revenue with the tournament.  Can't blame the schools for wanting the revenue they're generating to stay with them.

KC - I didn't know there was any problem with the current alignment?

  • What's your way-too-early prediction on KU's basketball team next season (Record, Big XII regular season finish, NCAA Tournament finish)?

Bensa - I'll go with 32-5, tie with Baylor for the Big XII regular season title, and make the Final Four.  I know I'm a homer here.  I get it.  I'm not ashamed of it.  I think we'll be a better tournament team next season than this season.  I just don't see a whole lot of other teams across the country that are going to be that much better than KU next year.

Denver - I'll say we win the Big 12, make the Elite 8...after that all bets are off.  30 wins is happening though. 

Warden - I don't have a clue.  If things go right and Selby turns out as good as advertised, this team could be almost as good as the 2009 squad.  Losing Aldrich on defense will definitely hurt but that can be partially covered up with more athletic big men and more pressure on the ball.  Not to mention, Bill Self has shown defense is never a weakness for his teams.  Offensively, I think this team could easily be as good as the 2009 squad.  Of course, the other side of that is Tyshawn Taylor not improving and the Morri continuing to commit too many fouls. 

KC - 31-6, 7th straight Big 12 title, Sweet 16. I'm a realist. Until HCBS becomes less stubborn with his players, (Tyshawn) prepare to be the same team over and over. Sorry.

  • What's your favorite time-waster between the KU basketball season and the KU football season?

Denver - Starting to enjoy a little Rockies baseball.  Big no-hitter this past weekend.  Also it's a time for me to get things done that I put off from August-April...yep, that long.  Can't help but get to a few beer drinking events here in Colorado over the summertime as well, it's just too perfect.

Warden - Besides molding the minds of our future leaders?  I do my best to support the Royals but it's getting harder every year.  Here in a few weeks, I'll be spending five days a week at the golf course and spending some time on the bike or kayak at the lake.  It's really tough to beat summer. 

Denver - Golf FIVE days a week?  I no longer have sympathy for teachers who complain about salaries.  I'm declaring it a lifestyle choice. :)

Warden - Oh, you'll never hear me bitch about my salary.  Work a little over 185 days a year...and have two months off during golf season?  Yeah, that works for me.  The worst part about it is I really believe our students and schools would all be better if we went to school through the summer.  But as soon as it happened, I'd likely be off to find a new job that did pay better.  If I'm going to lose a huge benefit, the compensation better reflect that.

Bensa - Well, I'm taking classes at law school all summer, so I'll be busy doing that, but nothing beats watching my Cubbies play ball during the summer.  I just with I had an ounce of hope for them this season.  Other than that, any time I can be with my 2 year-old son (and future KU basketball commit) is time well spent.  I also enjoy a little bit of disc golf here in Lawrence.

Warden - Is being a Cubs fan worse than being a Royals fan?  You've got Wrigley and WGN...but the Royals have won the World Series in the last 30 years.

Bensa - This is a no-brainer.  Yes, being a Cubs fan is worse than being a Royals fan.  It's not even close.  When I was a kid, all the games were on WGN.  Now, it's not even half the games, and I don't get WGN in HD, which is horrific.  The Royals have the exploding salaries of the mid-1990's to thank for their descent into the baseball doldrums.  The Cubs have no such excuse.  The Cubs should have won in 2003 (up 3-1 in the NLCS before the Bartman incident).  They should have won in 1984 (up 2-0 in the best-of-five NLCS against the Padres).  They just keep on crushing my hopes like so many paper beer cups.  And then I went and had a kid and pretty much condemned him to a lifetime of baseball misery by basically forcing him to become a Cubs fan from the moment he was born (not kidding here...his first pictures have him in a little Cubs hat).  No, being a Cubs fan is much worse than being a Royals fan.  Speaking of cursed professional sports franchises, I'm also a Vikings fan, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.  Oy.

Warden - That's a fair point but I'd counter with at least the Cubs have had hopes in the last 25 years.  The Royals just do so many things backward and half-assed that it gets really tough to continue to be a fan sometimes. 

Bensa - Yeah, but at least you know what to expect every year.  I guess Cubs fans do too, to an extent.  We just expect to get our hearts ripped out in increasingly painful fashion every time it looks like we could get somewhere.

KC - Two things. Bensa, being a Royals fan is the worst thing in the world. Try going into every season knowing that it's over before it starts. We were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs retroactive to last December. Why should we even care? I'd rather be fooled into thinking they were good. (2003) As for my time-killer, this is going to be the epicest of all epic summers. Two words. World. Cup. And, Kansas City Wizards. Actually, I heard of this really great little blog that just started up by some guy that's spending all summer watching soccer and blogging about it. Crazy thing is that he's a Wizards, Manchester United and USA fan - not unlike myself. It's called Summer of Soccer. /shameless self-promotion.

Denver - I wondered where you'd been.

Warden - He was looking up how to spell "epicist".