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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Woodling: Redick rancid vs. KU

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Statistics can be like icebergs. They can tell you only the tip of the story.

We've been reading reams of copy lately about J.J. Redick, the Duke University senior guard who seems to shatter a basketball scoring record every time he suits and starts shooting.

Redick can fill a net. He nails three-pointers like they're layups, and he unloads them from all over the floor. At 6-foot-4, Redick poses a perplexing matchup for opposing coaches. Taller players can't stay with him, and he can outjump players his size.

Can anybody stop him?

Maybe not these days, but I'm sure Kansas University fans haven't forgotten that late March day in 2003 when Redick couldn't hit Disneyland from Cinderella's Castle.

Officially, the worst game of Redick's career occurred when he was a sophomore. Redick scored only two points in a 2004 loss at Wake Forest. Battling what coach Mike Krzyzewski called "a slight hip flexor," Redick played only 21 minutes that night in Winston-Salem, N.C., taking five shots and missing them all. His two points came at the free-throw line.

But was that really his worst game? I don't think so. He was worse, in my opinion, against KU in that NCAA Sweet 16 game at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif.

Redick scored five points that night, but in contrast to the Wake outing, he played 37 minutes and missed 14 of 16 shots, including 10 of 11 from three-point range.

Isn't 2-for-16 shooting a heckuva lot worse than 0-for-5?

Redick went in with a scoring average of 15.3, second best on a Blue Devils' team that had won 26 games without a prominent inside player.

"J.J. is maybe as good a shooter as there is in the country," KU coach Roy Williams said the day before the game. "Even though he is a freshman, this time of year the inexperience factor is no longer there."

Yet Redick looked every bit a freshman as he fired brick after brick in the Arrowhead Pond's funky rose-and-teal environs while Kirk Hinrich, the KU player who primarily guarded him, looked very much like the experienced senior he was.

Hinrich gave away an inch to Redick, but he possessed the savvy and athleticism to negate the Duke freshman's strengths. Curiously, while concentrating on stifling Redick, Hinrich scored only two points himself - his lowest scoring output since his freshman year. Hinrich was 1-for-9 from the field.

Then again, if Duke had won, the media no doubt would have switched the story thread and noted how Redick's offense had suffered while he concentrated on shadowing Hinrich.

Yet while Duke needed Redick's points, Kansas didn't require much production from Hinrich because the Blue Devils couldn't throw a net over teammate Nick Collison, who erupted for 33 points and 19 rebounds.

Then, in a fact-is-stranger-than-fiction turnaround, Hinrich scored 28 and Collison only eight two days later as the Jayhawks squeezed No. 2-ranked Arizona, 78-75, to advance to the Final Four at the Louisiana Superdome.

Redick still has several college games remaining, but I'll be surprised if he ever reaches the depths he did against Kansas that night down the road from the Magic Kingdom.

Comments

gontek 14 years ago

What a great game, you had to love Heinrich after that, what a giver. I was just thinking about how KU might match up with Duke this year, we have a pretty good point defense right now, may be able to give him some trouble, albeit freshman vs senior in this case. I have a feeling it will happen in March.

dyoung0615 14 years ago

This is the craziest, most un-neccessary waste of finger pecking I have ever read. Why are you even bringing that game up. At that point in college basketball, Kansas was suppose to win. Two seniors vs. two freshmen. How can you even compare the two? However, today Redick would absolutely destroy Kansas if they played this year. He gave 40 to Texas! Let's be real. It would be a waste for them to even face off. I respect Kansas too much to even see that game happen. Geez

kpihl_03 14 years ago

That had to be the best game I've seen in quite a while. Everyone was hypin up J.J. and Duke and we came out and shut him down. That was unforgetable.

frompekka2sasha 14 years ago

I remember that game like it was yesterday. It was also my 1st Final Four trip so "thanks" to J.J. for having an off night so that I could have an unbelievable vacation.

Honestly-- I would love to play them in the tournament this year because Shelden Williams would struggle against our 15-20 fouls that we have at the post position. Reddick would be tough to guard but can you imagine if he did have an off night again?

Kuhawkdave 14 years ago

I agree that this was an absolutely useless column. This is 2006 and KU is one of the most exciting teams in all of college basketball lately. Surely, you can find another topic to write about, rather than a game that happened nearly 3 years ago.

gontek 14 years ago

I agree the topic of this article is a little ludicrous, but given the timing, I think it subliminally stimulates the imagination to what would happen in the current matchup. I hope we will be ready for htem by march. Duke really is in a league of their own right now, I believe, but stranger things have happened in March. I love it I love it I love it.

EricBishop 14 years ago

Wow, I'd forgotten about that game! Can somebody extend a belated congratulations from me to Kirk on shutting down the JJ in the kid's first ever Sweet 16 game! That must have been one of the highlights of Kirk's college basketball career, shutting down a freshman while going 1-9 from the field. When is ESPN classic going to rerun that milestone? That's the stuff of which NCAA legend is made. What's the follow up to this story? "Kansas avoids season of futility and Sweet 16 blowout when Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy declare for the NBA after their junior seasons". That would be one hell of an article. I'm starting to see why Roy Williams left. Oh, and I agree with you. I'd also be surprised if Kansas made it through to meet Duke, unless they somehow end up as a 16 seed.

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