Chalmers tells Kansas’ players: ‘You don’t guard anybody’


There’s nothing wrong with Kansas’ offense. The defense, however, needs work.

But don’t just take my word for it. Mario Chalmers says the same thing.

The former Kansas star – and NCAA championship hero – stopped by to watch the Jayhawks torch Colorado, 89-63, and had some choice words for the would-be title contenders. In short, play some defense. From the Lawrence Journal-World:

“I asked the guys to tell the team what they thought. The first thing ’Rio said (was), ‘Yeah, you guys are fun to watch, but you don’t guard anybody,’’’ [coach Bill] Self revealed.

“That was his way I think of telling the guys, ‘You’ve got a chance, but have got to improve on that end.’ Maybe we took a small step forward today, but it (defense) is still not where it needs to be.”

That small first step was holding Colorado’s star tandem Alec Burks (15 points, 6-of-12-shooting) and Cory Higgins (14 points, 5-of-11 shooting) in check by guards Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed and Elijah Johnson. The Buffs duo normally combine for 35 points and hit 44 percent of their shots.

Morningstar and Reed are the only players who were on that 2008 championship team, so Chalmers wasn’t telling them anything they didn’t already know. It was for everyone else.

“I think me being on that (2008 NCAA title) team with Mario, I know what he is talking about and where he is coming from about playing defense, getting stops, forcing turnovers,” Morningstar told the paper, “because that team was really good at doing that. We are not nearly as good as that. If he tells us, some people might understand it and believe it more than if a coach is saying it, because it’s somebody in their shoes who played here just a couple years ago.”

It’s not just talk, either. The Jayhawks come up short to that ’08 squad on defense, especially during conference play. (And the offensive numbers are about the same.) From StatSheet:

The 2007-08 squad

And the 2010-11 Jayhawks

That leaves the 2010-11 KU Squad with two options: Either turn up the defense, or ensure the offense is so good that teams can’t hang with ‘em.

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