Monday, January 22, 2007

Freshmen emerging in early conference play


Bill Self on Saturday agreed with a reporter's assertion that McDonald's All-Americans Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins had been playing well of late.

"Yeah. They need to play more, too. Both of them," Self, Kansas University's basketball coach, said after the Jayhawks' 69-64 loss to Texas Tech in United Spirit Arena.

Collins, a 5-foot-11 guard, and Arthur, a 6-9 forward, combined for 22 points while playing 28 and 27 minutes, respectively, in KU's first league loss.

The freshmen had scored a combined 32 points in 26 and 20 minutes, respectively, in an 80-77 victory over Missouri on Monday night. They scored 17 of KU's final 19 points.

"You score 10 points in a game, it doesn't make you the best in the country. They are two of the better freshmen around," Self said.

Collins, who averages 19.9 minutes a game (24.3 minutes in Big 12 games), scored 10 points off 4-of-6 shooting with a career-high seven assists in 28 minutes against Tech. He hit a three-pointer to open a 13-1 run that erased a 12-point deficit down the stretch and also had a driving layup to cut a 65-62 deficit to one point at :57.

"Sherron to me is really emerging," Self said.

Arthur, who had six straight points at one point in the first half, finished with 12 points off 6-of-13 shooting with six rebounds in 27 minutes.

He averages 21.1 minutes a game overall and 20.3 in league play.

"I felt really good in warmups," Arthur said. "I've been working a lot on my shot and have felt good the last three games."

He's made 12 of his last 23 shots over three games and averages 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in conference play - 11.6 points and 3.8 boards overall.

Collins is averaging 13.3 points and 4.0 assists in the conference and 8.6 points and 2.5 assists overall.

"I'm playing with a lot of confidence, keeping my head up," said Collins, who has scored in double figures in his last four games. "I just try to help the team as much as I can. If it's not shooting the ball, it's penetrating."

¢ Life on the road: Collins is learning about life as a KU basketball player on the road. The Jayhawks hear it from the fans in the stands.

"They can get loud," he said of opposing crowds. "You need to have blinders on going down the floor, only worry about the game."

¢ League race: Texas A&M; is now the league's only undefeated team with 25 percent of the league schedule completed.

The 4-0 Aggies travel to 3-1 Texas Tech on Wednesday. KU, 3-1, heads to 1-4 Baylor for a 7 p.m. tip.

"We definitely have to move on (from loss)," junior guard Russell Robinson said. "You can't let one game become two. We have to take good things from this game. We have a couple days to recover. There's nothing we can do about it now."

Texas also has a 3-1 record. Kansas State and Oklahoma are 3-2, followed by Oklahoma State (2-2), Iowa State (2-3), Nebraska (1-2), Baylor and Colorado (1-4) and Missouri (0-4).

"It's a tough loss. We have to regroup and get ready for Baylor," Arthur said.


landon_2003 14 years, 10 months ago

i seriously dont think half of you know a damn thing about basketball...individual numbers dont mean's a team sport. if you want an individual sport...try golf, track or wrestling.

GIHAWK 14 years, 10 months ago

Self is going to have to come up with a way to speed the game up when playing deliberate teams like T-Tech, or else it might be curtains again in the first round...

chitownjayhawk 14 years, 10 months ago

I am thrilled to see Sherron take on a larger role. I saw him play several times last year when he was a senior at Crane Tech, and he was simply unstoppable. He really gives us a nice option in case Mario or Russell struggle. I see him as a great sparkplug off the bench this year. We definitely need to pick up the pace when he is on the floor though.

calstones 14 years, 10 months ago

self needs to learn how to play other defenses when man to man isnt working. Keegan said it right, they need to press more often will all of that length and athletic ability (this is also a way to speed the game up)

TrueBlue92 14 years, 10 months ago

Here is the problem: Yea, that's right 1 of 6 as far as jumpers; 5 of 6 as far as dunks and layups. Only his teammates are making him look good these past few games -- he certainly is not doing himself any favors.

I'm officially starting the "Julian Wright for 7th Man" campaign -- who is with me? Let him split time with Roderick Stewart until he gets his brains put back in. Let Jackson or Arthur start (if he thinks he's ready, finally).

Julian can start again when he does NOT TAKE ONE SINGLE THREE POINTER for an entire game.

The campaign slogan: "TOO SELFISH TO START"

I'll bring the stats in a later post . . .

97jhawk 14 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone remember when KU was 3-4 last year? Ummm hello, KU is not all that bad this year. Everyone thought last year was rough. Being where we are now is not too shabby. They just need to shed the "inconsistency coat" and things wouldn't be so bad.

Gosh, it's the law of averages too. I'd rather take a loss on the road than at home and now rather than later. I'd rather peak at the end of Feb than now. Everyone will look back later and say the same thing. There is still over a month of conference play left. We should have faith and be positive. Being negative gets this team nowhere.

And if it was not true that we get everybody's best game and that we've got a bullseye on our back then nobody would storm a court after they beat us. Let's get real people. Everyone wants to beat the KU's, Duke's, UNC's, or whomever when they're the favored powerhouse. I'm just keepin' it real!

goldlighting 14 years, 10 months ago

You want to shut up the opposing teams fans at home? Beat them like they have never been beaten before. Our players needs to understand we have beaten up everybody so bad EVERY team wants payback, KU needs to bring their intensity every game because that is what they will get from every team they are playing. Is it just me or does it look like somebody is dropping some ludes in Wright and Chalmers water bottle? Last but certainly not least, come on Rush step it up a notch, your potential lottery pick is dropping game by game!

Seth Peattie 14 years, 10 months ago

Agree with TrueBlue92 - what's going on with Julian Wright this year?

danimal33 14 years, 10 months ago

True Blue: You stole the words right out of my mouth. I am with you for the "Julian Wright for 7th man" campaign. An ill-advised shot is just as good as a turnover, so his stat line could have easily had read 8 turnovers. Very misleading for the 2 turnovers actually recorded. He needs to pull his head out and start playing to his strengths instead of bringing the whole team down by trying to be the hero.

Chris Kurtz 14 years, 10 months ago

I am all for Rodrick getting more playing time. I would start Kaun, Jackson, Rush, Robinson and Collins. I'd bring Rodrick in for Rush and Julian would split with Arthur to replace the big guys.

Robinson doesn't turn the ball over as much. Yes, Chalmers has better D than Collins, but he is turnining it over and Collins is driving more consistantly which will open Rush on the wing. Robinson is good at D and has a great Assist to TO ration. I think Rodrick will find ways to start scoring with more playing time.

It is time for some tough love treatment for Juilan and Mario in my opinion.

tjsarahriley 14 years, 10 months ago

I'm fed up with Julian Wright too. He has the potential to be one of the 5-10 best players in the country. When he's good, he's scary good. Some one needs to light a fire under his butt and get him to play well. I wouldn't mind seeing Stewart get some more time. Maybe he's that glue guy we need...maybe he'll bring some scrappiness and intensity that about 8 out of 10 games we are sorely missing.

Bud Stagg 14 years, 10 months ago

I have never seen so many missed dunks and shots from under the net. What is up with that? They are not finishing very well.

JayhawkPhil 14 years, 10 months ago

I agree that Julian Wright needs to have his minutes reduced but I don't know that I would give them all to Johson. He can't hit the broad side of a barn either. He can play defense and rebound though. I would at least let Johnson in for a few minutes though, particularly in defensive situations or right before a timeout or the half--maybe 5 or 6 minutes a game. Other than that I would run some three guard sets and give Arther and Jackson more minutes. I think Julian is a good kid, and I would rather have him than not have him but, he appears to be an air head. The number of his great plays is still greater than that of his bone head plays but he has to many of the latter.

CMKUbLu304 14 years, 10 months ago

I think he means Jackson, haha. Both Mario and Julian haven't had their heads in the last few games...dunno whats up, but Julian doesn't have too bad a jumper..when he's on....he has actually hit like 2 threes this year, but I do agree he should stop taking them for a while...maybe the entire year. But in case you missed it, he's averaging about 9 rebounds a game...almost got himself a double-double average...I think him and Mario just need to focus themselves, so we can get the 'old' them back. I miss the 'old' thems. haha. Cuz they are good! I don't know how much good putting Rod in for Julian will do....he's not bad, but he's not Julian...maybe he needs to bench him for a game so he'll bust out like he did the last time...who knows? maybe it'd work w/ chalmers too..

rockchalkjayhawk4ku11 14 years, 10 months ago

Do any of you remeber the flordia game? Julian Wright played pretty good there - 23 points.

He is just kind of on a slump Brandon didnt start off this year very well but we still started him. Julian is a good player and he will turn back to his normal self eventually.

JayCeph 14 years, 10 months ago

I wonder if Brandon Rush were to merge with Julian Wright, would he be that guy @ NC named Brandon Wright? Talented kid with a lot of production in their games.

That whole damn state makes me steam...

TrueBlue92 14 years, 10 months ago

I promised I'd bring stats to make my point and here they come.

First, I'd like to say to rockchalkjayhawk4ku11 and everyone else that I'm not saying to bench Julian or that he's not a good player. My opinion is quite the opposite: when Julian plays within the team he could be THE BEST player on the court. It's just that lately he has not been as strong as earlier in the year in that regard while others seem to be more steady. I still want a #1 or #2 seed in March!!!!!!!

Here is what I want from a Jayhawk 4-man this year: REBOUNDS (put backs). We don't need a Nick Collison putting up 30 points. We need a rebounder (defensive particularly) and a good screener/passer.

Covering the conference games only: Darnell Jackson: 43 total minutes, 14 rebounds, 3 turnovers; which is 0.32 Reb/min and 0.06 TO/min

Julian Wright: 99 total minutes, 34 rebounds, 12 turnovers; which is 0.34 Reb/min and 0.12 TO/min

That is, Darnell gives us as much rebound production as Julian but only costs us half the turnovers. I think Coach Self already sees this; Julian's minutes the past three games are 34, 28, and 17; and I'm pretty sure Coach Self has yanked him for long stretches after shooting three's and consecutive turnovers.

If those two numbers were more even then you give Julian more minutes because he is a better finisher (although, there was that ONE MONSTER DUNK by Darnell Jackson . . . .) and can be a better passer for high/low.

HOWEVER, I am no longer willing to give this sophomore class any more "growing time" to get their noses out of the stat sheet and back in the win column. Whoever is telling Julian that he needs to put up more shots for better stats needs to quit (particularly if it's Julian himself!).

Sorry so long winded; early in the year I though Kaun was the deciding factor for our success but I'm not worried about him anymore. Now I worry about Julian. I hope he can get it together!!

JayhawkPhil 14 years, 10 months ago

OK, I somehow wrote Johnson when I meant Stewart as in Roderick Stewart. Sorry about that. What's that line that old comedian just to say?, "You can call me Ray or you can call me Jay but you never ought to call me Johnson"

jaybate 14 years, 10 months ago

TRUEBLUE92, Your analysis of Julian's error proneness and his declinging minutes is interesting. But compare Julian's minutes the rest. Julian: 34, 28, 17 Darnell: 12, 8, 4 Kaun: 26, 25, 25 Darrell: 20, 20, 27 RR: 34, 34, 26 Collins: 21, 26, 28 Mario: 39, 21, 34 Rush: 39, 36, 36

Julian AND Darnell are BOTH trending down in playing time, so error proneness does not seem the only driver at work.

Interestingly, Kaun and is not taking the minutes from Julian. And Arthur only started to the last game.

Collins trends steadily up. RR and Chalmers bounce around with out pronounced trend.

Rush's minutes are pretty steady.

Put another way, Self seems to be going smaller for more minutes, at Julians expense. And the last game, Arthur took seven more of Julian minutes, when KU was going with big lineups.

As I've been saying for awhile now, with weak from RR, less trey shooting efficiency from Rush, Rush's short game deteriorating, and Kaun's offense nonexistent, Self HAS to get more offense. Collins and Arthur appear to be the only one's he thinks have a chance to generate the amount of offense he needs, so they're being given more minutes even though their defense isn't as good as he usually requires.

Going to freshmen to get more offense is a scary proposition: first, because frosh often aren't very consistent; and second because even when they are, they're defense is rarely up to snuff. But Self has no choice this year,unless Rush suddenly discovers a left hand and can become a major threat in his short game; then at least we wouldn't have to rely so heavily on Arthur for inside offense. But even them, we'd still have to use Collins, unless RR finds his trey shot, which doesn't look likely.

rockchalkjayhawk4ku11 14 years, 10 months ago

IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW MANY MINUTES EACH PLAYER PLAYS!!!!! As long as we work as a team, take the open shots, and take it to the rim we will be fine. We also need to pick up on our Defense and start be more aggresive.

Go Hawks

jaybate 14 years, 10 months ago

I used to play a little and it mattered to me alot how many minutes I played. And it mattered to every guy I played with.

Dan Cook 14 years, 10 months ago

Julian appears to be struggling with his confidence. In essence, he's an undersized 4 that is more comfortable in the open court than in traffic. It's sort of amazing how many rebounds he gets considering he rarely puts a body on anyone. Sometimes I get the feeling that trying to play strong in the paint messes with his psyche. I expect him to bounce back and play well before too long though. We can't discount his obvious skills. He just needs to get his groove back and we'll be a better team when he does.

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