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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Extra Minutes: Kansas 91, Northern Arizona 57

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What this means...from press row

Gary Bedore, Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer

"It was showtime in the opener even though KU didn't hit the century mark against Northern Arizona.

The Jayhawks showed some good signs (how bout Brandon Rush truly resembling the Preseason All-American he is?) not taking the mid-major foe lightly in getting off to a fast start, propelled by deadly outside shooting.

You don't want to struggle at home in an opener, and KU didn't at all. The slam dunk by

Darrell Arthur off a feed from Brady Morningstar was amazing and you have to believe a good time was had by all.

Good opener for the Jayhawks, you can't ask for much more. Any more points would have been a blatant example of running it up."

Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor

"Any basketball coach would love to assemble a team that is super fast with the basketball and at the same time isn't sloppy with it. It would be like having a team that defensively pressures the ball intensely yet doesn't give up easy baskets.

Bill Self, in his fourth year at Kansas University, has put together just such a team and it performed as if it had been practicing for a lot longer than a month. The best news of the night: Self is convinced the team will play much faster. Pay close attention when watching these guys or you'll miss a dozen points or so."

Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor

"There might not be a more fun player to watch on this team than Russell Robinson. OK, OK, he can't get up like Darrell Arthur or maybe shoot as consistently as Brandon Rush, but if you appreciate quality on-the-ball defense, he's your guy.

He showed a few solid examples of it in the first half sparking a trio of huge transition buckets. Tom Keegan called him the glue guy, and Northern Arizona saw just why he has more than earned that nickname. Him defending like that every night will make KU's backcourt far from easy to score on in bunches.

He finished with a humble nine points, four assists and three steals. Bill Self will take that every night."

Inside the numbers

59.4: That was the clip at which KU shot from the field in the first half, including hitting 10 of its first 12 field goal attempts.

2: That's how many free throws the Jayhawks missed - an area of concern in recent years. Granted, the team only had 11 attempts, but it's a solid start.

16: That's how many minutes sophomore Mario Chalmers played in his first action since the exhibition opener, having missed last Thursday's contest with Emporia State with a sprained big toe which also developed some blistering. And it's safe to say they were all quality minutes, as he did a little bit of everything with five points, three steals and four rebounds - plus some nice defensive quickness, to boot.

4: That's how many points Ruben Boykin, NAU's top post threat, had. And they were all in the second half with the game's outcome not even close to being in question.

Just in case you missed it...

Tyrel Reed, a 6-foot-3 guard from Burlington, who is currently ranked by rivals.com as the No. 99 recruit in the class of 2007, was on hand for an unofficial visit Saturday night. He made the trek north with three of his buddies.

Reed did not sign a letter of intent this past week during the fall signing period, and Kansas remains among a host of schools interested in his services. That's just fine with him, as he indicated it could be awhile until he commits.

"I'm just still waiting around," he said after the game. "I'm not really in a hurry."

Hopefully you didn't miss it...

Darrell Arthur's second half slam on a swooping alley-oop lob from Brady Morningstar was without question the night's biggest highlight. Morningstar tossed the rock from about 10 feet behind the three-point arc on the left side, and Shady went up, caught it with one hand (while his armpit was rim-high, mind you) and awoke an Allen Fieldhouse crowd which had been silent for a little while.

It was the first assist in the Free State product's career, and he also finished with two points. Not to be overlooked is the fact that KU's two McDonald's All-American recruits from a year ago, Arthur and Sherron Collins, each opened their careers in crimson and blue by scoring in double figures, combining for 26 points.

Yep, they really said it...

Brandon Rush on the team's knack for highlights late in the first half: "More highlights and more (SportsCenter) Top Tens on ESPN. You might see one. (Or) bloopers, like my lefthanded shot."

Russell Robinson on how well-spread the scoring was (five players in double figures): "We've got the bodies to do it...We've just got so many weapons. Every possession down it could be somebody differnt. With this team, you can't really go wrong."

Brandon Rush on the team being kicked out of Friday's practice 45 minutes before its scheduled conclusion by a frustrated Bill Self demanding more: "It was mostly my fault. I started it off, then it led to the team, and he just booted us out...I think he's gonna try to do it more. He'll try to kick us out and make us comeback on gameday...Then we've got to come back and do the whole practice again...I was pretty mad, because I didn't want to wake up that early. I like sleeping the whole day until the game."

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