Some thoughts...from Allen Fieldhouse
Gary Bedore, Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer
"KU was outrebounded by tiny Pittsburg State, but chances are the Jayhawks won't sweat that stat too much. KU pounded the Gorillas. Sherron Collins looked good from the outside as well as distributing the ball and Rodrick Stewart hit his free throws and may have been the most active Jayhawk at all. On to Fort Hays State."
Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor
"The Kansas basketball team could play against 10 guys pulled out of campus bar and still show what is obvious: The football team isn't the only top-10 worthy team on campus. The Jayhawks can run, shoot, jump and intimidate."
Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor
"Mario Chalmers rediscovered his three-point touch late last season, and somehow made it carry over without a hitch into the 2007-08 exhibition debut. Combine his deep ball with the overall showings of Sherron Collins, Rodrick Stewart and Russell Robinson, and it'll show you there's no need to hurry Brandon Rush back...well, considering they play like this every night."
Inside the numbers
9: Rodrick Stewart was 3-for-11 as a junior from the free throw line. In his exhibition debut as a senior, he was 9-of-12. Not only does it show he's comfortable at the stripe, but he's capable of drawing contact while repeatedly slashing to the rack - just like the guy he calls his idol, Keith Langford.
15: Bill Self downplayed the importance of KU's 15 steals on the night in terms of that meaning the Jayhawks played great defense. But the Jayhawk guards were certainly active on that end of the floor. Robinson and Collins each had four swipes, while Stewart had three. Self has hinted at a lineup down the road which would feature Collins, Robinson, Chalmers and Stewart on the floor at the same time. In Big 12 play, when the opposition gets bigger, those quick, pesky hands could do some damage.
12: Darrell Arthur finished the game with 12 points, but more importantly showed that he's now a big more well-rounded in KU's offensive flow. He had three assists on the night (he had 17 his entire freshman year), and didn't try to force the offense to come to him in the first half. He did most of his damage - 10 points worth, to be exact - in the game's second stanza, and also had four rebounds in the effort.
0: Brady Morningstar was the only Jayhawk not to register a minute on the floor. Bill Self pointed out after the game that redshirting the sophomore guard is certainly a possibility right now. Morningstar at the moment is behind Robinson, Chalmers, Collins and Tyrel Reed in the rotation, and will fall further back when Brandon Rush returns. Self said the decision at this point is up to Morningstar and his family (see quote below).
8: Cole Aldrich's eight points, six rebounds and general hustle was a nice sight, given how out of place he looked just three weeks ago in an intrasquad scrimmage on Late Night. Self pointed out that the beating he's taking from the upperclassmen is starting to pay off (again, see quote below).
Just in case you missed it...
Brandon Rush suited up in uniform and ran through warmups with the Jayhawks. He joked on the bench with teammates all night and looked at ease. He was able to do just about everything in warmup sessions, but just did so at a slower pace than normal. The fact that Rush is in uniform though still a month away from returning to action could be a sign that he's probably getting pretty antsy. Though given KU's depth at the guard spots, there should be no need to bring him back too fast.
Hopefully you didn't miss it...
KU's guard-heavy lineup to start the game was something that Pitt State had no clue how to slow down, and you would have to imagine that many teams this year could find themselves in that same boat early on. KU's speed and defensive trapping abilities with Collins, Chalmers and Robinson on the floor at the same time are going to be valuable assets. True, it was just an exhibition against a D-II foe, but the trio combined for 39 points, 15 assists (five each) and nine steals. Not a bad start.
They said it...
Sherron Collins on the three-guard lineup's effectiveness: "That's what we wanted, and that's what coach Self wants. He wants us to just go, run every chance. Now, we've got to be more scrappy with three guards. Sometimes there's going to be matchup problems, but we've just got to be scrappy, go to the boards, all five, and if we make people shoot bad shots, we can run."
Rodrick Stewart on what he sees his role being the rest of the way this season: "(Coach Self) just told me as long as I keep doing what I'm doing, I'm gonna be playing. Just helping the team win. I feel that's my job, just go out there and create shots for other guys. I feel as long as I do that, I don't have no choice but to play."
Bill Self on Tyrel Reed's Allen Fieldhouse debut: "I've got Tyrel screwed up right now because he's thinking instead of reacting, and nobody can play and be as quick and instinctive when they're doing that. But that's just something he's going to have to go through, and he's going through that...He's a good sound player, I think he's going to be able to help us quite a bit, but he's gotta grow into it."
Bill Self on Cole Aldrich's showing compared to his last public appearance on the Fieldhouse floor: "I think Cole has improved. You guys saw him at Late Night, he's improved a ton. I mean, he goes after balls better. He's been getting his brains beat in all day by Sasha, Darnell and Shady, and I think it's starting to pay off, because he looks better."
Bill Self on potentially redshirting Brady Morningstar: "We're considering redshirting Brady. I have visited with Brady and his family. We haven't made a decision yet, and the decision is not mine. I have an opinion, but the decision is certainly Brady and his family's decision. Brady came to me today and said 'Coach, I haven't made up my mind 100 percent, but I'd rather not play and forfeit my redshirt year in case I decide to do it next week.' And the thing that I've told Brady, I think Brady can help us. But when Brandon comes back and if he is 100 percent, there's some talented guys right now that are probably ahead of him, and that's something he needs to think about."
Bill Self on how he wants to use Rodrick Stewart this year: "I think he's figuring out the best way he can help this team. And part of that's maturity. He's an energy guy. You know, he probably deserves to start, our guys would all tell you. He's deserved to start, but I like him being in the role that he is, coming off and giving energy and kind of changing the pace of the game, because I thought our starters were just average starting the game out from an energy standpoint, and I thought he really injected some life into us when he came into the game."