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royr17
11-23-2004, 10:58 PM
http://www.kusports.com/news/mens_basketball/story/112256

Freshmen still trailing Moody on KU depth chart
By Gary Bedore, Assistant Sports Editor

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

One of Kansas University's three freshmen basketball big men some day might beat out junior Christian Moody for a spot in the starting lineup, but not today.

Moody, for the second straight game, will open next to Wayne Simien in the frontcourt when the No. 2-ranked Jayhawks take on unranked Saint Joseph's.

Tip is 9:10 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse with a live telecast on ESPN2 (Sunflower Broadband Channel 34).

"I've said all along it'd be Christmas. I hope it is," KU coach Bill Self said of when newcomers C.J. Giles, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun will be ready for prime time. "We need them to play at a high level, with great energy. We need them to be great defenders, rebounders and active where they impact each possession. If they do that, it'll take some pressure off Wayne."

The problem is the three freshmen power forwards haven't been playing at a "high level" yet, at least not consistently.

"They've got to bring something to the table. The other team has to respect them and guard them," Self said. "All three will be really good players, (but) the light hasn't quite come on yet as far as using them in critical situations. The Vermont game, the entire game was critical."

KU won its season opener, 68-61, Friday as Moody hit two clutch free throws with just less than four minutes left to give KU the lead for good.

"They've got to get to the point they are comfortable and go out and play and not have to think," Self said. "When you have to think, you get slow feet. It takes time, and unfortunately we are not playing the schedule that will give them the opportunity to get a ton of reps early in the season."

Self said practice is where the freshmen big men will earn their minutes.

"We're trying to win the game. Hopefully by trying to win the game, they will fit in what we're trying to do. We are not going into it thinking they have to play a certain number of minutes," Self said.

The freshmen are in a good position, senior Keith Langford said.

"I think it'll help these guys in the long run. They do not have to carry any kind of a load right now. They can be role players," he explained. "If they come along in a month or two months, we'll be all right."

He said the current freshmen don't need to start, not like David Padgett who was called upon early last year.

"For what they are being asked to do it'd be difficult for any freshman. A lot of these guys -- as good as they are -- probably couldn't handle what David Padgett did last year," Langford said of the former Jayhawk, who has transferred to Louisville. "Look at how much he was criticized. It was really a tough ordeal to be put in a situation where he had to play."

Sophomore J.R. Giddens said it would be natural if the freshmen were concerned.

"It's like working and not getting a paychek," Giddens said, "because you basically practice to play in the games. I can sense a little frustration but they've got to understand coach hasn't seen ‘em playin certain situations in critical moments."

Kaun said the freshmen are keeping a positive attitude.

"It's not frustrating," he said. "We need to work harder at practice so it'll become more natural. I don't think we know it all yet but hopefully we will soon understand everything."

Solid veteran Moody understands what Self wants offensively and defensively.

"Christian works hard. He is smart in terms of knowing where to go and when to go. I think he deserves to play," Kaun said.


This, that: ESPN has asked to start tonight's game at 9:10, not 9 p.m. because the network is airing a football game between Bowling Green and Toledo, which kicks off at 6. ... Self said Monday he had decided to close practices to "everybody" -- media and fans alike -- to avoid distractions. ... C.J. Henry, a 6-3 senior from Putnam City (Okla.) has a final four of KU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas. ... Rodrick Stewart, a former Rainier Beach (Wash.) High player who has decided to transfer from USC reportedly has KU on his list of possible destinations.

Spicy McHaggis
11-24-2004, 03:49 AM
Moody has earned his starting spot. Let the younger guys continue to develop. In Self's system it isn't a big deal who is starting and who isn't.