Monday, November 27, 2006


Keegan: Arthur’s numbers no fluke


— Being better than the best on one night didn't make Kansas University the top team in college basketball, but it did cement what already was evident: The Jayhawks are better than they were a year ago.

The No. 1 reason for that isn't difficult to pinpoint. It starts with No. 00, Darrell Arthur, 6-foot-9, 230-pound freshman from Dallas.

Far more so than in baseball, offensive statistics can be misleading in basketball. They don't capture what a player is doing when he doesn't have the ball and don't tell how long a player has the ball, which if it's too long generally means he's bringing out the least in teammates. And they don't indicate to what extent teammates put the player in position to compile good numbers.

In the case of Arthur, his terrific numbers, such as a .655 field-goal percentage, aren't cheapened by the fact teammates hit him with passes for easy shots. First of all, he knows how to get open. And then there is the matter of his sure hands. You can't score if you can't catch the ball.

Instead of taking the approach that Arthur's scoring prowess is no big deal because of so-called garbage baskets, consider another angle. How frustrating is it watching so many tall players float on the perimeter, avoiding the mashing that goes on in the paint? Arthur has a soft touch from outside and doesn't often show it because he's smart enough to know it's easier, if more painful at times, to score underneath. That's called smart.

Arthur's talent never was an issue. How quickly he has shown he's ready for big-time competition and the high basketball IQ he has demonstrated are the most pleasing developments.

When not skying for a jam, Arthur scores quietly in such smooth, effortless fashion, he inevitably scores more points than most memories can recall. Even KU coach Bill Self was taken aback when he looked at the postgame boxscore.

"I didn't realize during the game he had 19 points," Self said. "He only played 16 minutes. Pretty good freshman."

Pretty humble freshman, too.

The prolonged recruiting battle for Arthur - he was set to hold a news conference to announce he was going to Baylor, slept on it a night, and said he had a dream in which he pictured himself playing for Kansas - created the perception that maybe he enjoyed the limelight of the recruitment so much he wanted to make it last as long as possible. The fact that he had an AAU coach named "Jazzy" added to the whole glitz factor.

In person, Arthur is soft-spoken and seemingly bashful, which makes the way he wants the ball so badly in pressure situations so early in his career all the more impressive.

"We noticed that their post players were in foul trouble like ours, so we were trying to see who was going to foul out first," Arthur said of his demanding the ball late. "We were just trying to attack the post and just be aggressive with them."

Foul trouble has kept Arthur on the bench too often, something he'll need to improve because his scoring is too important to the Jayhawks. Arthur (16.3 points per game) leads the team in scoring despite averaging just 22 minutes. His 29.6 points per 40 minutes leads the team by a wide margin. Brandon Rush is second with 18 points per 40, followed by Julian Wright (16.9), Darnell Jackson (16.5) and Mario Chalmers (16.1).


FlaHawk 13 years, 2 months ago

Arthur is a great freshamn talent. He is the receipant of being open and thei KU team might be the best passing unit since the 50s. Arthur's biggest challenge is play D. His lack of minutes isdirectly related to his lack of defensive position. Think about how many times Sasha (can he hold onto a pass) or CJ (did not knowwhat to do with the ball once it appears inhis hands) had opportunties last year. They did not have Arhur's gift of body control and offensive mindset and skills. This kid is just what KU needs. Now we need to Collins to mature so he is not a liability in big games.

ColfromColorado 13 years, 2 months ago

Yes, KU beat Florida for numerous reason/s. Without DA, KU would not have won. He has incredibly good footwork. He makes everything he does look easy. He gets under the basket and makes his presence felt there. He is the player, the last piece of the puzzle, who puts KU at the top of the heap.

I'm one fan who thinks KU is #1 in the country. They'll prove it in March. Just think how much better DA will be in March than he is now!! :-) And the AP ranks Florida over KU? The loser team is better than the winner? Excuse me?

Craig Lang 13 years, 2 months ago

I agree that Florida before KU does not make much sense. I think it is only because of their "defending national championship" status that the Gators remain in the top five. Don't get me wrong, Florida will be tough this year, but the team has already proven that it has weaknesses. Kansas won't be the only team to exploit them.

jaybate 13 years, 2 months ago

Arthur and Wright put an incredible amount of pressure on the opposing teams big men, IF KU's guards dribble penetrate. Arthur and Wright are just flat out quicker than most opponents big men and they can jump better than most of the opponents' big men. Quickness and springs, when the guards are penetrating and dishing will cause foul trouble for a lot of opposing teams big men. But if our guards fail to penetrate, then Arthur and Wright's slim statures will get them into trouble as the game wears on. The good news is that our guards and wingmen are excellent at penetrating. This season could be alot more exciting than I thought it would be, given we lack an effective pure post man.

jayloco 13 years, 1 month ago

Darrell Arthur is an absolute man-child. Dude is so smooth in the blocks. I still can't get over how many times he faked Norford for Florida right out of his shoes. Only downside is that we probably are going to only see him for 1 year and he is gone. If he makes it to year 2, I would be ecstatic. I think he and Julian could form something pretty special with their passing abilities. I can't imagine this dude come March.

The ranking situation was pretty lame. I know a lot of people who are saying who cares, but I guess my deal is much like everyone else's, why put Florida at 4 and us at 5? We beat them head to head, so why not us 4? I could understand a little more if we were like 8, but for them to rank Florida right before us is a little like a slap in the face. Florida will be a great team this year no doubt. I wish their front court would not have been in foul trouble. I have seen some Gator fans saying that they did not have their guys for most of the game. Then again, the way Noah and Norford were getting used by Arthur and Wright, it might have been worse for the Gators..

hawkfan4life 13 years, 1 month ago

Darrell, you are a beast!!! I enjoy watching you play bro and I think that you are making big strides on improving your defense. Your banging inside with Horford proves that you are getting better on defense and playing under coach Self, you don't have any other choice. Keep grinding and you'll pick up some of the tricks of the trade to limit those quick fouls (see if you can catch up with Wayne over the Christmas break, he'd be happy to pass on his knowledge and play some pick up if he's in town). I can't even imagine the amount of pressure that you were feeling at the free throw line on Saturday night but you came through like a champ! Julian, you are a BEAST too! Take it to Dartmouth tonight, Rock Chalk!!!

JayCeph 13 years, 1 month ago

Get over the whole 'Florida is ahead of KU in the standings' issue. The fact is, Florida took care of who they were supposed to and did so by an average margin of 40 points. Then, they lost to KU in OT by 2 points. One bucket.

KU, on the other hand, has played too inconsistently and lost at home to an undersized and un-ranked foe... by 7 points. KU's other games have been too close for too long and then they pull off a terrific win... but in OT and by only 2 points. One bucket.

Really, the ranking reflects the overall season-long (6 games?) consistency of the two clubs. KU will continue to climb (and fall at times) in the polls but so will Florida.

When the season is over and the confetti has fallen, that is when we need to see KU at the top of the heap... holding a trophy and wearing the net.

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