The No. 2-ranked Kansas basketball team plays its first road game of the 2015-16 season, at San Diego State.
10 games into the KU season one of the biggest stories has been the Jayhawks’ 3-point shooting.
Kansas has hit 91 of 195 from long range — 46.7%.
And the guy doing most of the damage so far has been junior guard Wayne Selden: 30-for-54, 55.6%.
When Bill Self and his staff recruited Selden to KU, they thought he was a very good player. They didn’t think, though, that he would one day become such a good shooter.
Hitting nearly 56 percent from deep is kind of ridiculous, and Self said he hopes that continues for his junior guard.
“But the reality is percentages do balance out over time,” Self admitted, “but he's off to as good a start shooting the basketball as probably anybody in the country, and it's fun to watch.”
Best of all for Self and KU, Selden isn’t forcing 3-pointers. The coach said Selden wasn’t so wise in his shot selection his first two seasons.
“This year I think he's playing well,” Self said. “I mean, I could look at him and say, you haven't made shots but you still played very well because I think he's become more of a complete player.”
Perry Ellis is averaging 14.7 points and 6.1 rebounds 10 games into his senior season, but his coach thinks his best front-court player is capable of more.
In particular, Self wants Ellis playing more active on the glass and doing a better job of maximizing his drives when attacking off the dribble. KU’s coach thinks Ellis is capable of playing at an All-America level if he takes things up a notch or two.
Self talked a lot about the need for Ellis to step up last week, prior to the senior’s 18-point, 9-rebound afternoon vs. Montana.
“So what does an All-American type level play to?” Self asked. “Well, he can't do it at his size unless he's ultra aggressive. There's been times last year during a three-week stretch where I thought he was a First-Team All-American playing to that level. It wasn't because he's making all his shots or because everything he did was aggressive. He was driving straight lines; he wasn't driving side to side. He's so good at driving a straight line and countering off the defense's reaction as opposed to now he's not really driving it hard so there's no counter to be made.”
Self said Ellis’ yet-to-be-tapped potential is what excites him about this year’s team. In his mind, Kansas has been “OK,” but not great or at its absolute best.
More Bill Self talking Perry Ellis (from last week):
“But he's more than capable of playing at an All-American type level. If that's too much pressure, then that's too much pressure. That's why he came back to school. So to downplay that we don't want him to be that I don't think is speaking truthfully at all because we want him to be that. We need him to be that.”
Saturday against Montana was the first game this season Frank Mason didn’t score at least 10 points. The junior PG finished with 7 points on 2-for-5 shooting, only took 3 FTs (made 2) and passed out a season-high-tying 9 assists.
Hard to imagine Mason having many more single-digit point totals the rest of the season.
San Diego State has a few guys for KU to worry about from 3-point distance tonight, but the Aztecs are only shooting 31% from downtown this season.
- No. 12 Trey Kell leads SDSU in 3-pointers: 15-for-41 (36.6%)
- No. 42 Jeremy Hemsley, a freshman PG, has hit 13 of 34 (38.2%)
- No. 4 Dakarai Allen has made 13 of 45 (28.9%)
- No. 15 Ben Perez, who plays limited minutes off the bench, is 12 of 33 (36.4%)
The Jayhawks — and their revolving door of post players — should be more concerned about keeping SDSU off the offensive glass tonight.
- No. 3 Angelo Chol has 20 offensive rebounds through 12 games
- No. 00 Skylar Spencer, who lived on the offensive glass at Allen Fieldhouse 2 seasons ago, has 21 offensive boards
- No. 14 Zylan Cheatham, a freshman, has 16 offensive rebounds
I’m curious to see how KU scores inside tonight. The Aztecs have big, active guys in the paint, and we’ve seen many times over the past few seasons how Kansas can really struggle to score over length in the paint.
- Skylar Spencer is 6-foot-10 and has blocked 7 shots in the past 2 games
- Angelo Chol is 6-9 and active inside
- Zylan Cheatham also is 6-9 and Malik Pope is 6-10
So it’s not the biggest front line by any means, but SDSU plays with a defensive mentality because that’s its strength.
Teams are only shooting 35.5% vs. San Diego State this year. That means there aren’t many easy shots to be had.
Still over 3:00 to play in what I'm sure has been just a thrilling South Carolina vs. St. John's game on CBS Sports Network.
Spencer starting instead of Chol tonight. Probably a good idea considering he ate up offensive rebounds when SDSU beat Kansas 2 seasons ago.
Looks like a wild environment. And Self said he heard it was the toughest ticket maybe ever for SDSU hoops.
Good start for KU, forcing a turnover on defense.
Set play on KU's first possession gets Selden the ball on the right block and he takes a contested fall-away jumper. Not the best idea. Missed it.
Mickelson with 2 misses on one trip after getting an offensive rebound. His second look was the better one, off a spin move but couldn't get it to fall.
First KU bucket comes as Mason pushes in transition and Ellis crashes to tip in the follow.