View Full Version : Langford goes retro to fix free-throw woes

12-17-2004, 07:54 PM

Langford goes retro to fix free-throw woes
By Gary Bedore, Assistant Sports Editor

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Off to a shaky start from the free-throw line his senior season, Keith Langford figured it was high time to change his routine.

"Actually, I just went back to what I did as a high school senior and the first few games my freshman year," said Langford, Kansas University's 6-foot-4 guard from North Crowley High in suburban Fort Worth, Texas.

He made 11 of 23 free throws (47.8 percent) in KU's first four games, but has iced 10 of his last 15 since reverting to his old form the past two contests.

"The last week or so I really put in a lot of time improving my free-throw shooting. It's been better, but not where I want it to be. We'll see in the next few games if it's working or not," Langford said.

A career 65.5 percent free thrower, Langford made more than 80 percent as a high schooler.

"When I first got here, coach changed what I was doing," Langford said of Roy Williams and his staff altering his style, which now includes bouncing the ball a few times, dipping, spinning the ball and firing.

"Right now, I'm to the point I have to revert to what felt comfortable. That's the worst thing to do is try to shoot in a position you are not comfortable and it doesn't feel right."

Langford -- he averages 15.0 points a game off 51.7 percent shooting and 55.3 percent free throwing -- is not the only Jayhawk struggling from the stripe. As a team, the Jayhawks -- who take a 6-0 record into Saturday's 7 p.m. home contest against South Carolina -- have hit 63 percent of their charities, a percentage that is "totally unacceptable," according to coach Bill Self.

"I don't think our technique has been terrible. I do think we've got to shoot a much better percentage," Self said, indicating 75 percent would be "great" and 72 percent "acceptable."

"This team can shoot in the 70s if things go right and we get some improvement, though you'd have to shoot 78 (percent) the rest of the year to get there."

Wayne Simien and Aaron Miles have made 88.9 and 75 percent of their free throws. Of the other guys in the regular rotation, C.J. Giles has hit 77.8 percent, Michael Lee 66.7, Russell Robinson 62.5, Christian Moody 60, Langford 55.3, Darnell Jackson 54.5, J.R. Giddens one of two for 50 percent and Sasha Kaun one of nine for 11.1 percent.

"We've been fortunate enough to be in a position where it hasn't cost us any games," Langford said. "I am confident in the fact guys know they have to step it up, stay out there and work on it, including myself."

Self takes some of the blame.

By the numbers
Here's a look at Keith Langford's free-throw shooting percentages through the years:
2001-02 69.9
2002-03 63.5
2003-04 66.9
2004-05 55.3

"I have not been great at free-throw coaching especially early in the season because you have so many things you want to get in," he said. "What we're trying to do is give them a certain time every day at practice to shoot free throws where there are pressure-type situations. Hopefully, guys work on their own as well."

Happy walk-on: Junior Christian Moody, who is ticketed to start his seventh straight game Saturday, says he has developed a habit of pulling his jersey over his mouth in games.

"I have a problem of biting my shirt, not because I'm nervous or anything, but I'm covering up my smile," Moody said. "It's great being out there and being part of this team."

Who's hitting, who's not
Here are the free-throw percentages for the players in Kansas University's regular rotation:
Wayne Simien 88.9
C.J. Giles 77.8
Aaron Miles 75.0
Michael Lee 66.7
Russell Robinson 62.5
Christian Moody 60.0
Keith Langford 55.3
Darnell Jackson 54.5
J.R. Giddens 50.0
Sasha Kaun 11.1

Moody has said it's a "dream come true" just wearing KU's colors and doesn't mind not receiving free tuition, room and board.

"From his perspective I really feel he feels that way. I don't know about his parents," Self quipped. "He's living a dream."

Self said there was a chance Moody could be on scholarship next year.

"I will not make a set-in-stone commitment today," Self said. "I know what I'd like to do, but certainly have got to wait and see how things play out."

If KU as planned brings in USC transfer Rodrick Stewart at the break, no scholarships will be available next year unless somebody leaves the program.

"I'm just happy to be on the team," said Moody, whose dad is a doctor. "If coach can bring in another player with another scholarship, I'm happy about that because the team will be better."

Stewart update: Self can't comment on Stewart, a 6-4 sophomore, who, if he's given the green light academically, likely will start practicing at KU sometime after the New Year. He could practice second semester but not be eligible to play in games until after first semester concludes next season.

"I can't talk about recruiting. There's a chance we'll be adding somebody at the semester," Self said. "We're recruiting an individual who is going to become available at semester."

Stewart has said many times he was making no campus visits besides his visit to KU and was headed here as long as he was eligible.

Majerus to USC: New Southern Cal coach Rick Majerus, who will not start his new job until April 1, told Andy Katz of ESPN his plans were to "hang out with NBA guys, watch some practices, and then go watch some college guys that I respect work."

You can bet Majerus will show up in Lawrence to watch some of KU coach Self's practices. He was here to observe drills last year and is a big fan of the Self system and the high/low offense.

"He's obviously one of the best coaches in the business," Self said of Majerus. "He likes Southern California and he'll definitely ripple some waters in the Pac-10."

Freshmen big men update: Self reiterated no freshman big man has overtaken Moody for the starting slot next to Simien.

"It's still wide open. I've not seen any of the freshmen big guys emerge yet," Self said. "Christian has played better than the other guys. He deserves the majority of the minutes."

This, that: Former KU player Luke Axtell is head boys basketball coach at Hill Country Christian School in his hometown of Austin, Texas. The Class 2A team is off to a 9-3 start under the former Jayhawk and Texas player. ... Saturday's foe, South Carolina, is 5-1 after Tuesday's 72-70 victory over South Florida. ... Former KU center Walt Wesley will have his jersey No. 13 hung in the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse in halftime ceremonies. Bill Bridges had his jersey hung last week. Also to have jerseys retired this season will be Darnell Valentine (Jan. 1), Bud Stallworth (Jan. 31) and Dave Robisch (Feb. 27). ... Former KU assistant Norm Roberts, who is in rebuilding mode in his first year at St. John's, has the Red Storm off to a 3-4 start. The team has beaten Wagner, Stony Brook and Virginia Tech and lost to Niagara, St. Francis, Illinois State and Hofstra.

12-17-2004, 07:59 PM
Maybe they should bring that kid in that shots 3 for 30.

Bob Dole
12-17-2004, 08:09 PM
It's pretty clear that if you're going to foul, you need to foul Chaka Kahn.

12-17-2004, 08:14 PM
It's pretty clear that if you're going to foul, you need to foul Chaka Kahn.

12-17-2004, 08:25 PM
A guy that good at slashing and driving the lane needs to be able to hit from the charity stripe. If he can't, all teams have to do is hack him when he goes for the shot.

Skip Towne
12-17-2004, 08:26 PM
It's pretty clear that if you're going to foul, you need to foul Chaka Kahn.
He only gets to play when we have an 80 point lead.

12-17-2004, 09:23 PM
that was a good read. Damn, its been a week since the last KU game, Im freaking jonzin.

Mr. Laz
12-17-2004, 10:19 PM
[If KU as planned brings in USC transfer Rodrick Stewart at the break, no scholarships will be available next year unless somebody leaves the program.

i was hoping that stewart wasnt gonna take up a scholarship

Fat Elvis
12-17-2004, 10:43 PM
I guess they are too cool for granny shots.

12-18-2004, 09:41 AM
good to hear Luke Axtell landed on his feet