This is an opinion column sent to Rock Chalk Blog by Brad Hope. If you would like to share your opinion with the RCB community, tweet @RockChalkBlog with your idea!
By Brad Hope
There are some hard decisions coming in the next month for Bill Self. While the loss to Wichita State is still very fresh in everyone’s mind, Self now has to focus on what has to been done for the good of the program. In the next month, Self will determine if KU can continue at the level we have become accustomed to.
The biggest offseason question comes from the February suspension of Kansas assistant Jerrance Howard. Howard was arrested for marijuana possession in his hometown in Illinois. According to quotes from Self following the suspension, he did not know about Howard’s arrest until nine months after it happened. After calling his attorney, Howard’s second call before he put his phone away should have been to Self. To hide his arrest is a breach of trust. I expect that Self will find a spot for him somewhere, but he should be off the staff soon.
Howard’s expertise is supposedly his ability to recruit Chicago. I will hand it to him, he got Cliff Alexander to sign on the dotted line. But frankly, finding recruiters to sit next to Self and chart fouls is a dime-a-dozen deal. There are many assistants that could do this job, and I believe that there are plenty of folks that can recruit to KU if given the resources.
Beyond Jerrance Howard, I believe that some players will receive their walking papers from Self during their after-season debriefing. Looking at the roster, Kansas has 11 scholarship players. For purposes of this column, I am assuming Oubre and Alexander will be leaving to the NBA. Nobody else will choose to leave. However, some will have that decision made for them.
I believe the two players most likely to be told to move on are Jamari Traylor and Brannen Greene. The case to boot Traylor isn’t that difficult to build. He has gotten crosswise with Self multiple times in his time in Lawrence, including missing a game due to an arrest this past season. There is a talent issue as well.
Greene has been on the cusp of starting multiple times this year, only to get suspended in early March for “not being very responsible,” according to Self. He had one high-level skill: his three-point shooting. But as we saw through the last four weeks of the season, he becomes rather ordinary (and terrible defensively) if his shots aren’t falling. Luckily for Self, his replacement is already on the roster in Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. Svi also plays defense and has the ability to dribble and pass in a way that Greene cannot.
There is a hint of staleness around Lawrence. Sometimes you have to get rid of guy or two to keep the others on their toes. Canning an assistant and running off two upperclassmen would send the message that being a knucklehead in the Kansas basketball program is unacceptable.
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