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A Mini Mailbag: Landen Lucas, Zone Defense, Recruiting

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To finish off the week let's answer some twitter questions

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It's often said that doing a mailbag is a pretty lazy way to write. Then again, today is Friday and we all deserve to be lazy on a Friday. Once per week I would like to do at least a mini mailbag answering questions that have been e-mailed, tweeted or asked in the comments. Today's questions come mostly via twitter (@rockchalktalk or @fetch9).

There were a couple questions about Lucas, and it's easy to see why. The redshirt Freshman dominated high school basketball in Oregon and while he is just a three star recruit he received offers from schools like Arizona, Georgetown, NC State and Stanford. I have only gotten to see him play in the exhibition games (obviously) and then have been relegated to watching him during warmups, but he looks like he has gotten a lot more athletic and gotten in better shape just over the last five months or so, so I am really excited to see what he ends up turning into.

Just based on limited viewings, his offensive game looks to be a bit behind, but that is to be expected. He's got all the tools to be an above average rebounder, and flashed those skills in the exhibition season. I think Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor are going to develop into good interior defenders (and have already started to) so if Lucas comes along as well Kansas could be set in the post.

The short answer here is yes. The problem, of course, is that I doubt Kansas really practices zone too often, and I know Self doesn't love to play it in games. The other issue is personnel based: it really isn't going to work with a team who can just shoot over the top of it easily (e.g. Indiana), but at the same time it would be nice to do with teams who have big men who can shoot so that Withey can stay in the paint where he is most effective defensively.

I have a hunch, and this isn't based on much evidence, that we will see a lot of junk defense in the tournament like we did last season. I think Self knows that the team is good enough to win the league playing straight up and he didn't want to give any potential opponents in the tournament an opportunity to get a good look at a lot of zone or box and one or what have you on tape or have the opportunity to talk to opposing Big 12 coaches about it.

I think there really is only one change in the starting lineup (longterm) if Randle comes vs. not, and that is you sub Traylor into the starting lineup for him. With him, I see it like this:

Tharpe

Selden

Greene

Ellis

Randle

Though I do see a possibility that Frankamp starts as well and Greene comes off the bench, but I think Self will want the extra ball handler to come into the game off the bench. This gives Kansas a couple guards to slash into the lane, a potentially elite three point shooter, and two bigs who can play both inside and out (assuming Ellis develops his body like we all think he will). It's a mostly unknown group, especially with the key reserves here being Frankamp, Lucas, Rio Adams and Andrew White, but it is a potentially deep and versatile group and if they can overcome their growing pains it should be an exciting group as well.