Skip to content

Wish List: Boards and wing defense top KU’s letter to Santa

Dec 15, 2012, 4:00 PM EDT

Colorado v Kansas Getty Images

Over the course of the next two weeks, College Basketball Talk will be detailing what some of the country’s best, most intriguing, and thoroughly enigmatic teams need. It’s the spirit of the holidays. We’re in a giving mood.

What do other teams have on their Christmas Wish Lists? Click here to find out.

Kansas plays Belmont at 7:00 PM eastern. Will any of these needs be addressed by then? Or is Saint Nick still on the hook?

Gotta have it list-topper: Perimeter defense 

Thanks to Jeff Withey and his friends, Jayhawk opponents are finding it nearly impossible to score inside. According to Kenpom, only 36.4% of shots inside the arc fall in for teams unlucky enough to face KU. Since everyone’s going to be bombing from outside, the numbers might skew a bit, but it’s currently a fact that Kansas has a very average three-point defense, ranking 190th in the nation. Bill Self’s teams tend to get better at defense as the year goes on, and this season’s version of the ‘Hawks is long on backcourt youth. If Johnson, McLemore et al can tighten up a notch or two, this team will be even more dangerous come March.

Stocking stuffer: Rebounds 

Jeff Withey has a pretty mild personality, but he is the center of this team’s approach. As Luke Winn pointed out this week, not only is Withey blocking an insane amount of shots, but nearly all of his blocks land in a teammate’s hands. Given that Withey is most effective on defense with his back to the basket, watching for low-hanging fruit to swat, his frontcourt mates must be the ones to watch the ball, box out and grab any altered shots that fall short. Slender Kevin Young has been KU’s clean-up guy so far this year, and performed admirably in that role against Colorado last week, but Self would no doubt love to see 220-lb. freshman Jamari Traylor fill the enforcer role this team is currently lacking. Right now, Traylor simply fouls too much to stay on the floor and perfect his craft.

Planning on re-gifting: Three-point shooting

Right now, Kansas isn’t taking many three-pointers. A very low 21.4% of KU’s points come from deep, and that’s fine for now, because the Jayhawks don’t need to bomb away when they’re dominating inside and scoring on breakaway transition opportunities. They don’t want a volume shooter, that’s for sure, but a team mark of 31.4% from behind the arc is a significant weakness to take into conference play, let alone the postseason. Elijah Johnson (38%) is the only starter who’s worthy of the green light right now, but 6’6″ freshman Andrew White III (4-10 on the season) has shown some potential as a spot-up shooter off the bench.

In a general sense, predictable roles must be established for KU’s bench players, who are largely raw and untested players, not quite ready for prime time.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

Latest Posts
  1. Former California commit headed to Oklahoma State

    Jul 1, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT

    Travis Ford Travis Ford

    Dillard becomes Oklahoma State’s fourth addition to the program.

  2. United States U19 team rolls past Argentina at FIBA World Championships

    Jul 1, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Nike Elite Youth Basketball League Getty Images

    Next up for the United States is Italy, and they could run into hosts Greece in the semifinals.

  3. San Diego State signee requests release from National Letter of Intent

    Jul 1, 2015, 8:10 PM EDT

    Steve Fisher AP

    Jones recently received his qualifying score on the SAT, only to inform SDSU that he wanted to be released from his NLI.

  4. Former Illinois women’s basketball players file lawsuit against athletic director, head coach and former assistant

    Jul 1, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    Matt Bollant (AP Photo) AP

    AD Mike Thomas stated in May that there would be an investigation into the allegations.

  5. Re-ranking the recruiting classes: Who are the 25 best players from the Class of 2006?

    Jul 1, 2015, 5:03 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    KD, Stephen and Russ lead the way, and two of those three weren’t even ranked coming out of high school.

  6. Three-star 2015 forward Roman Davis commits to California

    Jul 1, 2015, 4:50 PM EDT

    Cuonzo Martin AP

    Cal already has two members of its 2015 class on campus, and they added another to the mix Wednesday.

  7. Is a seven-foot Greek center considering playing college ball in the US?

    Jul 1, 2015, 3:54 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    He’s currently teammates with a soon-to-be Oregon Duck. Hmm …

  8. Cincinnati lands two commitments on Wednesday

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:53 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    That makes three commitments in 24 hours for Cincinnati.

  9. Penn State lands commitment from UConn transfer

    Jul 1, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Terrence Samuel was recruited over at UConn.

  10. Star Kansas freshman Carlton Bragg injured on trip to South Korea

    Jul 1, 2015, 11:24 AM EDT

    Kelly Kline, Getty Images Kelly Kline, Getty Images

    Kansas is in South Korea repping the USA in the World University Games.

  11. Minnesota coach Richard Pitino comments on Jarvis Johnson situation

    Jul 1, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino gave his take on the situation surrounding Jarvis Johnson.

  12. Missouri still without sophomore guard who is nursing injury

    Jul 1, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Missouri is missing sophomore forward Montaque Gill-Caesar from summer workouts.

  13. Mixtapes of Virginia Class of 2016 commits Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    2015 adidas Gauntlet Indianapolis

    Virginia has some talented backcourt pieces committed in the 2016 class.

  14. Bill Self impresses South Korean students with jumper (VIDEO)

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    150527_billSelf Getty Images

    Kansas head coach Bill Self had the jumper going before practice in South Korea.

  15. Cincinnati gets commitment from three-star big man in Class of 2016

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    Mick Cronin AP

    Cincinnati landed a big man target right before the July live period.

  16. Texas lands commitment from in-state Class of 2016 three-star guard

    Jun 30, 2015, 7:03 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Shaka Smart landed the brother of a recent NBA draft pick.

  17. 5-foot-9 Kentucky PG Tyler Ulis, dunking in slo-mo (VIDEO)

    Jun 30, 2015, 5:45 PM EDT

    Tyler Ulis (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Should I mention he throws the ball off the backboard to himself?

  18. Four-star Class of 2016 point guard commits to Butler

    Jun 30, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    (Nike) (Nike)

    One of the best passers in the Class of 2016, Howard Washington, committed to Butler on Tuesday.

  19. Rick Barnes finally addresses accusations against Texas

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT

    barnes Getty Images

    Rick Barnes spoke publicly for the first time about accusations levied against Texas.