“I don’t think [Kansas State] is very talented. I’ve seen them practice and I’ve watched them play. Everybody talks about them having a lot of talent; I don’t think they’re a very talented team at all. I think with that said, Bruce Weber’s done a very good job. … I don’t think they’re that talented. I think Bruce has done an exceptional job. You say he’s got a lot of talent, I disagree with that. When I went and watched them practice, I was shocked! People were saying they’ve got a lot of talent. I was like, ‘No they don’t! They don’t!’ They do not have a lot of talent.”
Matt Doherty, former KU assistant and former UNC head coach, in an interview with Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: A couple of things jumped out at me during Doherty’s analysis of Kansas State’s basketball team. 1) He doesn’t think K-State is very talented. (It might have been the fact he mentioned it over and over and over…). 2) Coaches will defend each other to their last breath. It’s never the coach, it’s always the players, administration, fans, etc. Coaches are kind of like teachers in this regard – if you dare criticize one, they’ll attack everything but the actual problem.
“All those starters – none of those starters would start at Kansas. McGruder was a preseason All-League. I don’t think he’s that talented. He doesn’t have three-ball range, He’s an average athlete. … McGruder? He wouldn’t start at Kansas.”
Matt Doherty, 810 AM
GH: I like a no-holds-barred name analyst like Doherty who is willing to make bold statements in the backyard of those who he is critiquing. But his take on McGruder is far different from mine. I think McGruder is a slam-dunk All-Big 12 selection and deservedly so. How many “not very talented” athletes fit that designation?
“K-State’s RPI is in the 140s. So if the [postseason] field was selected today, I don’t know if they’d be in the NIT.”
Blair Kerkhoff, college sports columnist for The KC Star, 810 AM
GH: I agree with Kerkhoff – so is that a talent problem or a Bruce Weber problem? Frank Martin sure knew how to get this team into the NCAA each year. Almost any coach can get a team full of talented studs into postseason [see Baylor). It takes a coach to adapt his scheme and style to fit his talent. I think Weber can do that – he just hasn’t yet. January and February will be interesting months inside the Octagon of Doom.
“I hope our fans show up and cheer us on.”
Bruce Weber, on the Cats/Florida game at Sprint this Saturday
GH: Weber made this comment in his on-court postgame chat after KSU unimpressive 78-69 home win over Texas Southern. It might have been a simple throwaway line but I read it as more than that. Weber is running into the same problem at KSU that he had when he replaced Bill Self at Illinois – fan fatigue. Wildcat Nation is pining for their cowboy boot-wearing, Cuban-swearing Frank Martin. Maybe Weber needs to hold another mock funeral.
“It will be as tough of an environment [at Ohio State] that [Kansas] will be in all year long – including the Big 12. If they can survive this environment, they are one of the elites.”
Blair Kerkhoff, on KU’s Saturday 3:00 PM (CT) tip at Ohio State, 810 AM
GH: If you are a college hoops junky living in the great Midwest, Saturday offers some choice alternatives to holiday shopping with KU/Ohio State at 3:00 (CBS), MU/Illini at 5:00 PM (CT) (ESPN2) and K-State/Florida at 7:00 PM (CT) (ESPN2).
“When he goes to talk he sounds like a kindergartener.”
Danny Clinkscale, on the high-pitched, scratchy-throat sound of Bruce Weber’s voice, 810 AM
GH: What a change from the booming bass of Frank Martin’s pipes to the little-girl whimper that comes from Weber’s lips. You have to hand it to Weber to have overcome that pipsqueak voice and become a millionaire college coach.
“Who would’ve guessed that Missouri left for the better basketball conference?”
Carrington Harrison, @cdotharrison, Twitter
GH: Texas knocked off Roy’s Boys in North Carolina, so maybe there is some hope for the Big 12. But it is far more likely that UNC is a shadow of their former selves. Will the SEC place more teams in the NCAA tourney than the Big 12? Right now I’m having trouble finding four worthy Big 12 teams.
“I’m not sure there are that many great [college basketball] teams out there. I think everybody’s really good. … The best players [in the country] are young. I think it’s hard to be a dominate team [with young players].”
Bill Self, Hawk Talk
GH: Self named Indiana as the best team in the country, along with Duke and Florida. He stated there are no dominate teams like Kentucky from last season – which possessed both youth and dominance. This past weekend’s upsets would support his theory.
“I don’t know what our upside is but I think our upside is comparable to most teams in the country. Why can’t our upside be as high this year as it was last year?”
Bill Self, Hawk Talk
GH: Self made this comment in response to a KU fan who called in to say he didn’t see this Kansas team as a Final Four contender. It appeared to tick Self off a bit. Coaches like to downplay their team’s talent and chance for success right up until someone questions their team’s worth.
“They know how to win. I’ll say that about our kids. Knock on wood, they know how to win. … I think there’s some potential there without question.”
Bill Self, Hawk Talk
GH: Anybody paying attention to this season’s Jayhawks knows that Self likes this team a lot. He thinks he’s got some defensive warriors who battle. He’s also got some of the most athletic high flyers that have worn the crimson and blue in some time. Kansas is good. Damn good.
“Nothing Kansas basketball does is surprising except lose. When they lose, it’s surprising. Is the expectation for Kansas a Final Four? Absolutely! I don’t care what they lost last year!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
“Look, this [Big 12] conference is so bad but Kansas will still lose more than two games.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
“He played great. He was 1-for-7 from three, that doesn’t concern me because I know he is going to make threes. What Jabari brings is basketball I.Q. He moves well without the ball, plays unselfish, he passes the ball and is patient. I think that is something needed on this team.”
Frank Haith, on the debut performance of MU’s Jabari Brown against outmanned Tennessee State, MU press notes
GH: Mizzou is still a question mark to me. Are they great? Are they just good? Are they in the early stages of becoming a national power in the SEC? MU’s TV schedule has been iffy unless you are a Time Warner subscriber and have access to Metro Sports. I need to see the Tigers more to make an assessment of how good Frank Haith’s club is going to be. I’m hoping they have the opposite experience of what the Tigers had in SEC football.
“Jabari is a great overall player – most people see him as a shooter, but he’s a great passer, a great rebounder and great for his size (in the paint). He’s a great player; he’s not always looking for his shot, he’s looking to get other people involved. On this team we have a lot of guys that can score the ball, so with him being a passer, it makes the team a lot more comfortable and shows how unselfish we are.”
Earnest Ross, MU guard, on Jabari Brown, MU press notes
GH: I keep hearing that Jabari Brown is not a replacement for Michael Dixon – despite the fact that he looks like exactly that player to make MU forget about Dixon. He might be the most important person on MU’s campus this winter outside of Phabulous Phil Pressey.
GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24