Bill Self has had time to sit back and reflect.
More than six weeks after a season-ending loss to Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament, Self says he may have “changed too much” on the offensive end during a Kansas season that finished with a 27-9 record and an 11th straight Big 12 title.
In an interview at the Big 12 coaches meetings in Phoenix with Big12sports.com, Self discussed his team’s offensive struggles in 2014-15. The Jayhawks ranked just 36th in the country in offensive efficiency, the lowest mark since 2006, and they shot just 46.4 percent inside the three-point line, the worst mark of Self’s Kansas tenure. The low-post scoring issues plagued Kansas all season long.
“I probably changed too much last year,” Self said. “We became an inside-out team, and then obviously the last half of the season we were an outside-in-type team. We still wanted to play through our bigs, but not like we have in the past. I don’t think we ran near as good of offense last year, so hopefully personnel will allow us to do some different type things.”
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That personnel includes the additions of incoming freshman big man Cheick Diallo, a top-five recruit, and freshman power forward Carlton Bragg, a versatile four-man who earned McDonald’s All-American honors.
“We were thin up front last year from a production standpoint,” Self said. “And Carlton’s a very good face-up four-type man, and Cheick is kind of an energy guy that can do a little bit of everything, especially energy and rebounding.”
The Jayhawks, of course, also return All-Big 12 power forward Perry Ellis, who pondered a jump to the NBA but ultimately decided to return to Kansas. For now, with a month before freshman arrive on campus, Self says he’s excited to see what Diallo and Bragg can bring to the program.
“We think both will have a huge impact for us,” Self said. “And we got Perry Ellis back, Jamari Traylor, Landen Lucas, Hunter Mickelson — we’ve got some experience coming back, but it’s nice to have two athletes like this, because we were missing that last year.”
The Jayhawks also move forward without Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander, who each opted to leave for the NBA after one season. But Self said on Wednesday that he’s eager to see how some of Kansas’ other returning players progress entering next season.
“We lost Kelly Oubre and we lost Cliff (Alexander),” Self said, “but Cliff didn’t really sting as much because we had already lost him, because he was declared ineligible late in the season.
“We’ve got some guys like Brannen Greene and Sviatoslav (Mykhailiuk) and Devonte’ Graham that really haven’t had their chance, but are plenty good enough,” Self continued. “So I’ve looking forward to seeing them develop.”