Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Forgotten Jayhawks......a retrospective look

I was watching the game last night against Texas Tech and it is always fun on senior night. This group is a pretty cool group and I read in the paper this morning it is the first time for Bill Self that he has seen the kids he recruited have their senior night. Glad he has roots with us.

But the story got me thinking about the Jayhawks who have quit or been kicked off the team since Bill Self got here and what the team might look like if all or any of them were still around. I tried to figure out them all out and while I'm a fan I'm certainly not an expert. I'd like to see a column by Joe or Whitlock on this and see them really do it justice. I'm sure I probably missed someone important......please let me know. Hindsight being 20/20, I'll take a stab at if we'd be better off with or without them.

  1. CJ Giles After being charged with hitting a woman he was trying to get out of his apartment and numerous other problems, Bill Self dismissed him from the team and he arrived at Oregon State. A senior and a starter this year, he still had scouts fawning over his skills and potential but his attitude and lack of self discipline hurt him again and in January of this year after a change of head coach at Oregon State the new coach made it practically his first order of business to boot Giles. Hindsight: Easy one. Great move by Coach Self. He would have been perfect for Missouri's program.

  2. Alex Galindo I don't think I ever understood the reasons why Galindo left the program except he simply he wasn't happy, playing time, etc. He didn't like to play defense. Look, these are kids and it is a tough decision to pick a school under regular circumstances. He transfered after his freshman year to Florida International where I believe he has been a starter. He is another senior this year and a sharp shooting forward. Hindsight: Probably would have been a role player like a Billy Thomas. Would have been nice to have him stay in the program but you have to think about who wouldn't be here if he was here. I'll say good for both sides. Galindo definitely got himself in a place where he was assured of major minutes.

  3. Omar Wilkes This kid had the pedigree you dream of in your program. His dad was a standout college and NBA player. The official story is that he felt like he wanted to be closer to home but I think all these kids expect to play from the moment they arrive and when it doesn't they get upset. He went on to play and start for the California Golden Bears and was a respected teammate and player starting 58 of his 63 games there. Interestingly, I don't think basketball is at his core like you would think with his upbringing because he graduated early and decided not to play his senior year this year. Instead he opted to focus on graduate work. Hindsight: He was a really nice player who would have been a credit to the program but to not want to play your senior year makes you question the desire it takes at Kansas to be a champion. Good decision for both.

  4. J.R. Giddens As a freshman was lights out and had talk of going in the first round of the NBA draft but he decided to stay and was a huge disappointment on the court his sophomore year where he couldn't find the stroke from three. Off court issues and maturity problems got him in trouble with Coach Self and the downward spiral was almost complete. A fight at the Moon Bar in Lawrence resulting in a fight with a towny and Giddens getting stabbed. Self suggested he transfer and he arrived at New Mexico State where he has been a starter. Reading their chat rooms and blogs, the fans over there have noted his selfish play, poor shot selection and inconsistent play. He has never regained the form of his freshman year. He is a senior this year. Hindsight: No brainer. The only result that would have been better is if he would have left for the NBA after that freshman year, collected tons of money, busted out as a player but wasted all that money. Good move by Bill Self.

  5. David Padgett As a freshman at KU he was a skinny but very talented player. He made a memorable last second shot to beat Missouri that I thought for sure wetted his appetite for the rivarly for the years to come. He seemed to not be happy with Bill Self's system and decided to transfer. I suspect he would have gone to North Carolina to be with Roy Williams but my guess is a back room negotiation for his release included not going to be with Roy. He arrived at Louisville and has been a solid player although he has been plagued by injury. He has been a starter and a leader and the program has been very respectable. He is a fifth year senior. He is the former Jayhawk that has been the most successful since leaving. Hindsight: He definitely could have helped us and is clearly the biggest loss of the six I'm discussing. I don't miss him though. That was a different Kansas era and not at all the same kind of player Bill Self recruits now. This too I think was a good move for both.

  6. Micah Downs As a freshman this kid was a crying, spoiled little brat from the moment he arrived on campus. I think Bill Self regretted bringing him to KU almost immediately. He didn't earn the playing time he felt he deserved and he sulked and complained. He was very underdeveloped physically and you thought he would get broken in two in a tough game. This McDonald's All American decided after FIRST SEMESTER of his freshman year to not return. He allegedly attended as many as four high schools. He didn't play defense well. Rumors swirled about the timing because Self didn't play him in a blow out game against Nebraska right after Christmas break. I think change was already in the wind even before that night. In retrospect, it appears that Self doesn't leave it to chance to clear space on his roster like we might think. I think he secured Darrell Arthur with Down's spot and my guess was he didn't want to wait until the end of the year to get that spot. At the time, people were really beginning to question Self's program and ability to keep players. Micah transfered to Gonzaga where this year he is averaging 8 points a game. He is a junior. Hindsight: Great move for Self, especially in that he used the spot for such an awesome player. Down's didn't have much choice because Self wanted him out so landing with the Bulldogs was a good choice for him. No loss for Kansas as even for the Zags he isn't very productive against lesser competition. He just wasn't mentally or physically a Big 12 caliber player. A mental midget and no NBA future.

So, those are the guys we thought we'd love when they signed. The guys we thought would be giving their senior night speech at Allen Field House but instead ran off or were run off to other places. Funny how soon we forget them. It is such a special thing to be a Kansas basketball player and to be a small part of such a big history and clearly it isn't for everyone.

I'm not sure I got it right but I'd love to hear what someone who really knows thinks so I welcome your comments.

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