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The Return of the RCT Mailbag!

LONDON - JULY 12: General views of the Olympic Village at the Olympic Park on July 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
LONDON - JULY 12: General views of the Olympic Village at the Olympic Park on July 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
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I've been caught up in summer for the last couple of weeks and have let the mailbag slip in that time. No excuses....but that's my excuse. However, as a result we have a nice batch of questions to attack this week so let's get to it.

Remember, if you want your question in there it's RCTmailbag at gmail dot com

Q: Are you an Olympics fan? If so, what events are you most looking forward to?

From John N.

A: I am a huge Olympics fan. In fact, if you could take them as a whole then the Olympics are my favorite sporting event around. For two weeks every two years I am glued to the TV (and recently, internet) and if I could pick a title to win personally in my wildest dreams it would be an Olympic gold medal by far. The events I'm most looking forward to are:

1. Swimming

I don't know if it's my favorite of the Olympic sports, but it's always one of the most compelling competitions around. This year there obviously is the Michael Phelps-Ryan Lochte duel, but we'll also get to see if Missy Franklin breaks out like everyone says she will, Rebecca Soni retakes her spot as the best breaststroker in the world, and how much the US will win the medley relay by.

2. Volleyball (indoor and beach)

The US men's indoor team are the defending gold medalists, but are currently only ranked 5th in the world with a bit of turnover from the 2008 games, including Lloy Ball, who was one of the best setters in the world. The women meanwhile are defending silver medalists and currently ranked 1st in the world. Hugh McCutcheon, who coached the men to gold in Beijing, is now the women's coach.

As for the beach, the men's team of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser are back and among the gold medal favorites, and while Misty May and Kerri Walsh are back yet again they will have to turn back the clock a bit to grab a medal. The US has seemed to perform a bit above their station at the past couple of Olympics in beach volleyball though, so I wouldn't count either team out.

3. Handball

Neither U.S. team qualified, but if it is on watch it. Trust me. It's also easily the answer to "Olympic sport the U.S. would never lose at if our best athletes played"

4. Archery

The U.S. has just 4 golds all time in the sport, but Brady Ellison is a gold medal favorite and the U.S. men's team has an outside shot at gold as well.

5. Gymnastics

I don't really like gymnastics to be honest with you. My thinking is if the entire way of determining who wins is by judging it's not a sport. But Jordyn Wieber has a chance to be the 3rd straight all around champion from the U.S. and that's pretty cool.

Q: I don't know if anyone has ever done this type of thing of RCT but hopefully this question will make sense. Its something I think about when ever I look at Paul Pettengill's website.

If nobody transfered, went to the nba early, etc.....What would be the best possible KU depth chart you could put together over a 4 year span?

Ex: If you start with the class of 09, you would get all the recruits in that class (X, Withey, Robinson, Elijah, CJ Henry), the class of '10, '11, and the incoming class this year (Ellis, White, Lucas, Adams, Peters, Doyle).
Note: You would not have Releford (class of 08) on this team even though he redshirted, its only the class they were recruited in or transferred in.

After that, There are two different ways you can look at the classes as well and I will leave that up to you which one you prefer.

1: Ideal scenario: All players on the team will be chosen based on their ceiling or best year at KU.

Ex: If you pick 05-08, you will get Tyshawn with the class of 08. In scenario 1: you would get senior year Tyshwan on your team.

2: Realistic scenario: Talent will be based how that individual preformed in the final year of your team. In my scenario 1 example 08 would be the "final year"

Ex: The first class (05) gets any of their best 4 years, second class (06) gets best year through junior year, third class (07) based on soph/freshman talent and final class (08) based on freshman year talent. In the second scenario, you would get freshman Tyshawn. You would also get Chamlers, Rush, and JuJu at their best abilities demonstrated at KU (even though none made it all 4 years).

Finally: talent and ability is only to be evaluated on ability at KU. NBA success or failure should play zero role in your decision.

From Cameron D.

Thinking about this made my head hurt. Let's start with the "ideal" scenario. This one is a bit easier to me because hey we won a national title right in this stretch. I was going to go 04-07, but at the last second decided to switch to 05-08. Let's take a look:

CJ Giles
Darnell Jackson
Sasha Kaun
Russ Robinson

Just for reference at the end.


Mario Chalmers
Micah Downs
Brandon Rush
Julian Wright

Chalmers was one of the best all around players ever to put on a Kansas uniform, as he combined sky high shooting percentages with good assist rates and low turnover rates, and also was one of the best perimeter defenders in the country, even leading the nation in steal rate as a Freshman. In fact in 2008 probably the only guy better than him was his backcourt mate.

I'll not count Micah Downs for this exercise, but he developed into a pretty good role player at Gonzaga

Like Chalmers, Rush was a dynamite defender when he wanted to be and shot very well, but I do think he gets a bit more credit for being a complete offensive player than he was.

Julian Wright had fairly pedestrian numbers at Kansas, but as a spark plug off the bench I don't think you could do much better.


Darrell Arthur
Sherron Collins
Brady Morningstar

Arthur took more shots than anyone on the 08 title team, and had a 54.6% eFG.

Sherron's best year was as a Junior when he was Superman for the surprise Sweet 16 team, but on this team he'd best be used as a change of pace guard off the bench who could create havoc on offense and defense.

While it's tempting to say Morningstar would be an odd man out on a team like this, he was a versatile defender who shot 41% from three as a Senior


Cole Aldrich
Tyrel Reed

A lot of people (rightly) remember Cole for how great of a post defender he was, but he also quietly had two of the better offensive seasons this decade. He was a lot better in 09 than 10, so I would probably make 2009 Aldrich the hub of my offense


A lot of people, but the three key ones are the Morri and Tyshawn.

With this group, I'd set up the team like this:


Arthur and Alrich are perfect compliments inside, and while there isn't really a true point guard on the floor Rush could work as a point forward type. The Morri would come off the bench together to be the focal points of the second unit, and Morningstar and Reed could be brought in for three point shooting, with Collins and Wright the X factors.

The final year scenario is a lot murkier and makes my head hurt. So I am going to be lazy and leave it up to the rest of you.

Q: What if something like Penn State (more interested in the cover up angle) happened with KU basketball? What would you say as far as penalties go?

From Paul M.

A: Uff da. That's a tough one. Obviously I'll put out the disclaimer that I don't think anyone at KU is doing anything remotely like this, but let's deal in hypotheticals. IF a longtime assistant was doing terrible things to young boys and Bill Self found out about it and covered it up, he and anyone else involved should be in jail. That's obvious. But the penalties talk is a bit more of a discussion. It's easy for me to sit here and say that I think KU basketball should get the death penalty if something like that happened, knowing that such a scenario is extremely unlikely, but I do know that I wouldn't be crying foul no matter what happened. Speaking of, if you want an excellent take on the Penn State sanctions and whether the NCAA had jurisdiction, overstepped its bounds, or whatever else, I give you the best take I have read on the situation, courtesy of John Gasaway.

Q: You mentioned Conner Frankamp might be talked about at Boschee like levels when he joins the team. Who are your favorite few Jayhawks in the past 10 years or so?

From Eric A.

Excellent question (that I had planned on making a post at some point, but I'll condense it down)

1. Jeff Boschee

Duh. For more, read this.

2. Mario Chalmers

Kind of has to be him thanks to 4/7/08 and the shot. Without him Kansas wouldn't have a national title in 2008 and I wouldn't have cried like a baby (also while his career has semi understandably been boiled down to one shot he was one of the most complete players in America both his Sophomore and Junior years)

3. Tyshawn Taylor

It started because Tyshawn was so unfairly criticized, but the more I watched him and paid attention to how he played the more I liked him. Sure he was immature at times and he had some off court issues but he loved playing basketball and loved being a part of Kansas. There are a lot of guys who seem to take playing D1 basketball for granted but Tyshawn was never one of them.

4. Cole Aldrich

Fran Fraschilla said it best (paraphrasing) his Freshman year when Cole had a block in one of his rare stints on the floor "that's why he was Minnesota's defensive player of the year" and then the next offensive possession he looked...well, like Freshman Cole and Fraschilla said "and that's why he was the Minnesota defensive player of the year." Cole went from that to posting offensive ratings of 123.9 and 116.4 in his Sophomore and Junior seasons. He also dominated Tyler Hansbrough for a short stint in the 08 Final Four and really saved KU from some major foul trouble.

5. Russ Robinson

Robinson was the first player I ever interviewed (and couldn't have been a nicer guy) and was the total glue for that title team. He didn't shoot well from the outside and turned it over more than most people remember, but he moved the ball well and was a smart player, as well as probably the best perimeter defender in the country.