Ben McLemore

Bill Self says Kansas was ‘just awful’ in aspects of win over Oregon State

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Despite losing key starters Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson to the pros, coach Bill Self has his Kansas Jayhawks back and looking like a team ready to make a run back to the Final Four.

Friday night’s 84-78 win over Oregon State in Kansas City might not have been the most dominating victory of the Kansas’ young season, but there’s no doubt that Self has a possible contender on his hands, come March.

But you’d never know it if you ask him.

“From an execution standpoint it was all just awful,” he said after the game. “We have a long ways to go, we need to improve. We got the win, I’m thankful for that but I don’t think anyone is leaving here feeling giddy about our performance here tonight.”

Redshirt freshman Ben McLemore led the way for Kansas with 21 points, along with 20 from senior Travis Releford and 17 from center Jeff Withey.

Withey, coming into the game leading the nation in blocks with over six per game, swatted (just?) three Friday night.

“They set a bunch of ball screens with Jeff (Withey’s) man. Jeff actually does a decent job it’s our guards that just can’t get over the screens,” Self explained. “We are playing against quickness and that’s tough for our guards. That’s disappointing and we need to start playing zone or do something different.”

Kansas has a week of rest and time for Self to work out some kinks before the Jayhawks return to the floor Dec. 8 against Colorado.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Knee injury temporarily sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.

Duke figuring out approach for this season

Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with the media about the Blue Devils' 2013-14 basketball season, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
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Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.

“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.

“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”

Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group.  Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.

As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.