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Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Defense captures Jayhawks’ attention

KU seeks better effort tonight against Emporia State

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Nobody had any complaints about Kansas University's fast-paced offense last week.

The defense, however, apparently wasn't so strong in the Jayhawks' 99-69 exhibition-opening rout against Washburn on Thursday at Allen Fieldhouse.

"We've got to get more comfortable playing with each other, make sure our defense is as strong as last year," sophomore guard Mario Chalmers said Monday, citing a goal for tonight's exhibition game against Emporia State.

Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse, with a live telecast on channels 27 and 38 and replay at 11 p.m. on Sunflower Broadband Channel Six.

"We've got to get back to our basics. It's not lacking in any one spot. We've got to bring full defensive intensity for the whole 40 minutes," added Chalmers, who might have trouble shuffling his feet tonight because of a sprained toe on his left foot incurred in practice this week.

"I got my toe stepped on. I'm fine for that (tonight's game)," Chalmers said.

KU coach Bill Self, who said he plans on starting the same five as the opener (Chalmers, Russell Robinson, Brandon Rush, Julian Wright and Darnell Jackson), has been stressing a better effort on the defensive end.

"Our rebounding needs to be better, transition defense needs to be better," Self said, adding, "maybe we'll get a chance to practice some game situations more than last time, hopefully look at some different combinations."

Freshman forward Darrell Arthur, who led all scorers with 21 points in the opener, also is thinking defense heading into Game Two.

"I want our team to get better defensively, get more vocal, get our plays together," Arthur said. "I messed up a couple plays last game."

Arthur said he welcomes the chance to once again come off the bench.

"I like seeing what other players do and how they defend," Arthur said. "Then I go out and try to defend."

Junior Russell Robinson, who may be the best defensive player on the team, added: "We need to just tighten up our defensive principles. We just had a tremendous offensive game. A lot of our defensive mistakes weren't magnified. We've got to get better at that (defense), then I think we'll be great."

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Not so healthy: Self said the team enters the game hobbled.

"We're nicked up pretty good," he said.

Jeremy Case (groin) and Sasha Kaun (knee) will miss the contest. Meanwhile, Chalmers has a sore toe, Sherron Collins bumps and bruises including his strained calf and Robinson an assortment of aches.

"I'm a little bumped up, not to the point it'll affect my play," Robinson said. "I've got to go out and tough it up and I'll be all right."

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Signing date nears: Cole Aldrich, a 6-foot-10 senior center from Bloomington, Minn.'s Jefferson High, will sign his letter of intent with KU at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday in the school library. Aldrich's dad said he and his wife and Cole's grandparents will be on hand as well as teammates and coaches.

James Anderson, a 6-6 forward from Junction City (Ark.) High, will choose either KU or Oklahoma State at a 1 p.m. news conference Wednesday.

Self talked in generalities about recruiting Monday.

"We said all along we wanted to sign two. We've got one commitment and are trying real hard to get a second. If we get a second I think it'd be every bit the equal to the other classes we've signed to be honest, just the numbers wouldn't be quite as many. It's been more difficult recruiting guys to a team that is on paper still very young. Even though we think we have plenty of options, it's been more difficult than two years ago when they (recruits) knew those seniors would no longer be here."

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Giles' return: Self was asked how C.J. Giles has looked at practice since returning from suspension Friday. "He's out here," Self said.

Chalmers said the Jayhawks are happy the junior center is back.

"We see he'll help our team out, being as athletic and long as he is. He is not rusty at all. He's back like the old C.J."

Giles spoke to the players upon his return. "He told us he was sorry. He said he wanted to be back with us and will do his best to stay with us," Chalmers said.

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Kareem out of job: Kareem Rush, the brother of KU sophomore Brandon Rush, has been waived by the Seattle SuperSonics. Rush had been slow to recover from a groin injury. Brandon said he'd not yet spoken to his brother since Monday's cut.

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TV talk: The Channel 6 replay of Kansas University's exhibition basketball game against Emporia State will air tonight at 11, instead of 10:30, because of extended election coverage. Viewers who would prefer to watch it at the normal 10:30 time can do so by using video on demand.

Comments

megt_33 13 years, 2 months ago

I'm hoping (with my fingers crossed) that these early injuries are just the result of being out of shape. Maybe these young guys will learn and keep conditioning in the off-season next year.

CasperCorps 13 years, 2 months ago

All the injuries are just gonna let the other guys get more playing time... As long as they stay focused on D and keep that pass first mentality they are going to be scary and will set records in defensive catagories...

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