WITH TWO Ss
Kansas’ players may not appear to know much about Stanford leading scorer Chasson Randle, but coach Bill Self has learned plenty over the last couple days.
KU freshmen Wayne Selden and Andrew Wiggins were asked three times on the podium Saturday about the impact Randle could have on Sunday’s game, and they struggled to answer each time before settling, on the third try, on an answer about using team defense to attack each Cardinal player.
Self eventually revealed that the coaches hadn’t yet gone over personnel, then rattled off Randle’s stats without a second thought, an indication that Saturday’s personnel meeting would focus heavily on Randle.
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“He is averaging 18.9 (points) a game,” Self said. “If you want to know anything about him, you can certainly ask me. The kid can do a lot of things.”
Randle scored 23 points in Friday’s win over New Mexico, breaking a late 47-47 tie with a three-pointer that stifled a New Mexico comeback. He has scored 20 or more points in five of six games and has reached double figures in all but two games this season with a high of 33.
“I think he is one of the best guards in the nation,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “I think the country is having a chance to see him now. He’s played focused and he has been our leader. He has been the man with the ball in his hands (and) we have been confident in him doing that.”
Eastern Kentucky rattled Kansas early in Friday’s game with a 1-3-1 zone defense that EKU used to trap and overcome severe mismatches in the post. Twelve KU turnovers in the first 12 minutes negated the Jayhawks’ hot shooting and helped keep the game close into the second half.
“I don’t think we attacked it well at all,” Self said. “We knew they would do that, that’s part of their package, we practiced it. They happened to do it right when (Wiggins) came out and you have two little guards up there that were basically playing volleyball back and forth with each other as opposed to attacking it and getting the ball flat.”
Stanford doesn’t have a reliable 1-3-1 in its defensive repertoire, but by the time Sunday’s game starts Dawkins will have had nearly 48 hours to implement one.
“We watch, and our coaches watch, so much film that we take into account what’s frustrated the team we’re about to play that other teams have done,” Stanford forward Josh Huestis said. “So it’s just a matter of us watching more of that and deciding which we can use to our benefit in (Sunday’s) game.
“I’m not really sure what different defenses we may throw at them. We have a variety of different ones, so it’s just going to be kind of a game-time decision.”
Like its overall defensive approach, Stanford will likely use several players to attempt to keep Wiggins in check. One player who may see more time than others is Huestis, a 6-foot-7 forward who can keep up with the 6-8 Wiggins on the perimeter and also play effectively in the paint.
“The way that we play, you have to be prepared to guard just about anybody on the floor at any given time,” Huestis said. “There will definitely be times that I am guarding him. I noticed that he’s a very good player, very athletic, high motor.
“It’s just going to be a matter of always being in a stance and being ready to defend him because he is a scorer and he is going to try to score every time he touches the ball.”
The 11:15 a.m. local tipoff may mess with Stanford’s internal clock, since that’s 9:15 a.m. in California. The Cardinal played the early game Friday and beat New Mexico, so Dawkins doesn’t envision it as an issue.
“I would rather wake up, let’s go warm up and let’s go play,” Dawkins said.
Self internally ran through several scenarios about how it could affect the Jayhawks before deciding that it probably wouldn’t.
“I don’t think it matters either way,” Self said. “I think both teams will be awake, alert and ready to go.”