Diallo and Bragg continue to ride bench as KU Jayhawks seek 12th straight title

Bill Self’s Jayhawks off to great start

Bill Self sticking with his veterans.

Mass Appeal Wire Reports

LAWRENCE — It was an instant classic that shouldn’t have been an instant classic. No. 1 Kansas edged No. 2 Oklahoma by the score of 109-106 in triple overtime inside deafening Allen Fieldhouse on ESPN’s Big Monday in front of Dick Vitale, Brent Musburger and 16,300 blue-clad lunatics. “Craziest game I’ve ever been a part of,” said KU guard Frank Mason. “Just proud of my teammates, never giving up.” Even though the Sooners have Buddy Hield (who lit up the Jayhawks with 46 points), KU has the better team and it has everything to do with the upside of freshmen big men Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg.

In other words, the game was only close because Kansas coach Bill Self stuck with a veteran low post rotation consisting of Landen Lucas, Hunter Mickelson and Jamari Traylor at the No. 5 spot and neither player impacted the game. Once Self realizes that Diallo and Bragg are considerably better than the aforementioned trio, the Jayhawks will probably reach their ceiling.

That said, if you’re a KU fan, you better pray Self comes to his senses quickly. Because a front-line featuring Lucas and Mickelson at center won’t get it done in the NCAA tournament. “We beat a team tonight that could win the national championship,” Self said.

Not sure what’s going on with Diallo and Bragg in practice. Both came to KU as heralded McDonald’s All-Americans with ample NBA potential. Yet, they’re having a difficult time getting on the basketball court. In Monday’s triple overtime thriller, Diallo went scoreless in 5 measly minutes.

Bragg wasn’t much better in scoring 2 points in 3 minutes.

Coach Self is a legend. No doubt about it. He also hates playing freshmen. Everybody knows that. But it doesn’t make sense to recruit one-and-done caliber athletes if you’re not gonna develop them right away. If you recall… last season, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski showed remarkable patience with freshmen Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor and he was rewarded with a national title.

Time is running out.

Whether they’re ready or not, Diallo and Bragg are both expected to enter the upcoming NBA Draft. To advance to the Final Four, KU will need at least 12 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks a night from Diallo. Don’t mean to nitpick in the aftermath of KU’s impressive victory.

But it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Self’s rotation going forward.


  1. Matthew McDaniel

    It would be a shame if OU dropped for this. I have to believe that they are still the #2 team in the nation.

  2. Will McCulloch

    Well, the refs did their best to give the game to OU on that foul call at the end of regulation, there clearly a foul on the shooter but no call.

  3. Adamf McGillicuddy

    If the refs were looking for excuses to help OU, they would have done the right thing and disallowed the turnover on the inbounds.

    And no, I’m not saying they gave it away to Kansas either. Rather they made some mistakes on both sides. That’s life.

  4. Hard to watch these games! The rule changes are killing NCAA basketball! Hard to gaurd someone in any game and not get called for breathing air….. Way too may foul calls! They are controlling the games. I feel bad for these young kids on the court who make a great play and pay the price for poor rule changes! The NCAA needs to stop making rule changes and worrying about money! Not a fan of OU or KU but I feel for both teams because they both got screwed several times!! Totally takes away from the game……………

  5. Fairly blatant no-call at the end. How can the official miss the defender actually hitting the guy inbounding the ball? I knew that was a foul when I was 10 playing basketball in 5th grade.

    B12 officiating usually goes Kansas’ way if there is any doubt….and here’s another example. There is a reason they rarely do good in the tournament…once they get fair officiating they can’t win.

  6. If your team would’ve hit a free throw to win the game, we wouldnt be having this conversation, would we? Bad officiating on both sides, quit your whining ya little baby. Just enjoy the fact that was a game for the record books. RCJH

  7. Diallo and Bragg have to earn their minutes just like everyone else. Bill Self doesnt back down to nobody.

  8. Big OU fan here. OU may have gotten hosed on a call or two but so did KU. The Jayhawks simply outplayed the Sooners at the end; it’s why they’ve been the conference champs for over a decade and counting. Much respect to their program and their fans for the class they showed to the opposing squad. Hopefully when rematch time comes around OU will have learned from this game and get the job done on their home court and be the team to unseat KU from the Big12 throne.

  9. Bragg looks like he’s ready to contribute. His game is more polished than Diallo.

  10. Agree with some parts of the article. Diallo is gonna be a stud but he is not ready. Bragg is ready and should be playing more. Bill Self knows what he is doing. Guys have to learn to trust the process.

  11. Cheick Diallo sucks……. plain and simple

  12. Free Diallo!!!!!!!!!!

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