In the moments after Kansas’ 74-73 loss to AMW France on Saturday in Paris, the Jayhawks’ first loss during their four-game European tour, Kansas coach Bill Self had a chance to remind his team that it’s still August — and the Jayhawks have a long way to go.
“Oh, we’re not very good at all,” Self said in an interview released by KU. “We could improve on everything.”
Self wasn’t happy with the turnovers, of course. Or that his team didn’t appear ready to play. Just three days earlier in Switzerland, the Jayhawks had finished off the first leg of their trip with a two-game sweep of the Swiss national team. On Saturday, Self delivered a message that sounded like something you might hear after a rugged nonconference performance in November. Except this one came in August.
“We weren’t ready to play,” Self said. “Maybe Paris can do that to you.”
But for all of Self’s dissatisfaction, it still came down to the wire. After trailing by as much as nine in the fourth quarter, the Jayhawks took a 70-69 lead in the final minutes and then a 73-72 lead on a dunk from senior Kevin Young with 22.2 seconds left.
But AMW, a team of French professionals, retook the lead on two free throws by Antoine Diot, and KU sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe clanked a three-pointer in the final seconds.
Senior guard Travis Releford led the Jayhawks will 10 points, but the offense was fighting from behind all day. The Jayhawks trailed 52-42 in the third quarter and 69-64 with just more than four minutes left.
“I would just like to be able to pass and dribble and catch,” Self said. “That would be a good starting point. Forget about shooting or guarding or anything.
“… But I’m probably most disappointed in the play of our returning guys — even though the newcomers had a tough night. But our returning guys didn’t play very well, and certainly didn’t do the things you have to do to have a chance to win on the road.”
Freshman Perry Ellis added eight points off the bench.