Kansas’ record-setting three-point shooting in Tuesday night’s 114-71 rout of Texas Southern remained a hot topic of discussion 24 hours later on coach Bill Self’s weekly Hawk Talk radio show.
“We made a lot of shots last night,” Self, KU’s 15th-year coach said Wednesday night in answer to a question to open the show. The Jayhawks canned a school-record 19 threes in a school-record 36 attempts. “Hopefully we can do it when we really need to.”
He noted that the Jayhawks’ 52.8 percent shooting from three actually calculated to 60 percent when only including KU’s scholarship guards. Forward Mitch Lightfoot, who won’t be shooting many threes in important games, was 1 of 3 from beyond the arc, while walk-ons Clay Young and Chris Teahan combined to go 0 for 3.
“Other than the Kentucky game, we’ve shot the ball pretty well this year,” Self said.
The Jayhawks (4-0) hit 8 of 28 threes for 28.6 percent in a 65-61 win over UK on Nov. 14 in Chicago. For the year, KU has canned 43.7 percent of its threes and 52.4 percent of its shots overall.
Self didn’t spend his entire Hawk Talk show discussing made baskets. He said KU’s defense and rebounding against Texas Southern “wasn’t very good. We’ve got a lot of things to improve on there. I think when you make shots, sometimes you have the tendency to relax. My best defensive teams historically have always been my poorest shooting teams because they knew they had to guard because we didn’t score.
“The great teams are the ones that can do both, like the ’08 team could do both, the ’07 team, the ’11 team, the ’12 team. Those teams could do both. This team isn’t near as scrappy or tough defensively or rebounding the ball.”
KU outrebounded Texas Southern, 51-35. Guards Lagerald Vick and Marcus Garrett led the way with 11 apiece. Center Udoka Azubuike, who scored 20 points, totaled nine boards.
“We need to try to win each possession and play the right way each possession,” Self said. “We need to play the entire game without knowing the score. We shouldn’t change how we play based on the score until later-game situations, certainly not the first 30 minutes of the game.”
Back to the threes … KU’s 19 threes eclipsed the school record of 16 set against Baylor on Jan. 25, 2005 in Waco, Texas. The Jayhawks had a ways to go to set an NCAA record for three-point makes. Troy converted a record 28 treys against George Mason in 1994. Davidson hit 26 threes, two shy of the record, in a win over Charleston Southern earlier this season (Nov. 10). The Wildcats had 53 attempts for 49.1 percent.
Silvio De Sousa update
KU hopes to have Angola native Silvio De Sousa in the big-man rotation sometime in December. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound senior from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., who is ranked No. 25 in the recruiting Class of 2018 by Rivals.com, is slated to graduate high school in December.
“I’m personally pretty optimistic about it,” Self said of De Sousa playing in games for the Jayhawks’ second semester this season.
“He has to graduate. There’s no question about that because of the eight-semester rule (he’s in his eighth and final semester of high school). The (standardized) test score just has to line up (with his performance in core courses).
“The thing about it,” Self added, “when you recruit and take in international kids and the transcripts are being evaluated, you still have to make sure everything transfers the way you view that it does. We are working hard with the NCAA to make sure it (transcript) is being looked at and being viewed the same way as we view it. People may say that’s easy to do. It’s not easy.”
Self added: “You have to have so much core content, instructional content on your core classes. You are taking classes in Angola not offered in the U.S. What is that the equivalent to? Things like that. There’s more to it than what a lot of people think. We’ve only known for a while this was a possibility. We’ve been on it and our (compliance) team has been on it hard since we’ve known this thing was a possibility. We haven’t got all the answers that we need to get in order to lock it all in. I’m optimistic (but) certainly in no way, shape or form has he been cleared by any stretch.”
Self praises signee Grimes
Self commented Wednesday on KU signee Quentin Grimes, a 6-5 senior combo guard from College Park High in The Woodlands, Texas, who signed with KU on Nov. 15, the last day of the early signing period.
“My personal opinion, I think he’s the best guard in the country. Now the recruiting services may not feel the same way I do. Hopefully he’ll play to that,” Self said.
Grimes, the No. 11-rated player nationally by Rivals.com, is rated behind these guards: No. 1 R.J. Barrett (Duke), No. 6 Romeo Langford (undecided), No. 7 Tre Jones (Duke) and No. 10 Immanuel Quickley (Kentucky).
“He’s 6-5, a kind of a do-everything guard. He has point-guard vision, handles like a point, but he can score the ball and really shoot the ball. He’s very explosive, big enough to defend a 3, quick enough to defend a 1. You talk about all-around players, he’s probably about as good an all-around player as we’ve recruited here,” Self added. “You think about, can he shoot, score, can he make others better, is his vision good, is he smart? There are a lot of positive things about him that should give him a chance to be a terrific player.”
KU also has signed No. 17, Devon Dotson, 6-1 point guard from Providence Day High in Charlotte, N.C.
“He’s a terrific athletic point that is so explosive,” Self said of Dotson. “He reminds me of Frank (Mason) except he’s more a true point than Frank. Frank was more a scorer. He’s 6-1, 6-2, explosive and we also have 6-5 Quentin. Of course the bigs we signed (De Sousa and David McCormack, 6-10, Oak Hill Academy, ranked No. 33 by Rivals.com) are pretty good prospects. We’re one player away from having a really nice class,” Self noted.
KU’s players and any family members in town will dine on Thanksgiving dinner at McCarthy Hall on Thursday after practice.
“There are a lot of things to be thankful for: certainly family, health, the opportunity to be around young people on a daily basis. They do their part keeping me relatively young,” Self said. “Having an impact on some of their lives … that’s what we live to do, all coaches. Certainly we are proud of that and thankful we are able to do it.”